Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Adventures with Perler and Pyssla Beads

Did you do perler beads when you were a kid?  I did, but I wasn't that creative. I guess at 8-10 years old I wasn't used to thinking of objects as pixellated, and so while I made a lot of designs I didn't make many recognizable pictures.

Enter the modern era.  If I had access to Pinterest when I was growing up I have a feeling that I would have made many more melted bead projects.

While I was on an Ikea trip, I asked Lucky (3.75 yo) if he would like to try the bead projects with me.  When we started out, he was initially a little frustrated but soon got really into filling in his heart board.  It was so much fun!  I was able to make two slightly more complicated designs in the time it took Lucky to fill in his heart, but it was such a calm and focused project for us to do together.  I can't wait to do more!

Thankfully, Lucky only dumped the beads off of my board once.  I was near the beginning of my watermelon, not near the end.  If I had been near the end I might have given up and just made string bracelets out of these beads.

I put my iron on the wool setting to melt the beads.  It took a little longer than I expected, but before I knew it I had some fun coasters.  Lucky was so proud of his heart!  This excitement tempted me to buy more beads with more colors, but I thought it would be worth waiting to see if we keep doing these projects together.

Very quickly I became frustrated by the limitations of my Pyssla beads.  So many things I wanted to make needed gray, and there were no gray beads in this primary color set.  I went to the store and picked up a Perler Woodland Creatures Bucket to add some more colors.  I strongly considered the Perler Neutral Color Bead Tray, but the woodland bucket had many of the neutrals I needed and I wanted to see how much we are doing this craft before investing in something like that.  

While I waited for Lucky to go to bed so I could play with my new perler beads, we made some more Pyssla projects.  Lucky did a turtle all by himself!  He hasn't done any full projects since then (he gets distracted after half a board and then dumps it), but he really enjoys watching me do it.  

In this Littler Mermaid coaster, I used Perler beads for the mermaid and the Pyssla beads for the background and border. I think since the Perler beads are a fraction taller they melted first.  This means that mixing the beads within a design might not work well, but mixing them in greater areas can give cool results.  I think that this makes the mermaid "pop" more.  

I found that the Perler beads are much thicker and slightly taller than the Pyssla beads.  When I'm using perler beads, I like the melted side better.  When I'm using Pyssla beads I like the unmelted side.  I think the melting might be more uniform with the Perler.  Certainly the beads are much more regular when you compare them to each other.  

Keith has had a lot of fun with Perler projects, too.  He has created a Moogle and then designed a 3D pumpkin.  I wish I took pictures of the pumpkin before he assembled it!  This 3D pumpkin doesn't have any glue to hold it together.  He was able to design the sides so they interlocked.  I think it helped that the plastic was still a little warm when he assembled it but it is a super sturdy cube now.  

Here are all of the projects we (Lucky and myself) did in our first week of melty bead crafting.  We had so much fun!  

Which side of the projects do you like better?  The unmelted side (above) or the melted side (below)?

I now want to make myself a huge series of pixellated character coasters.  I have been inspired by a lot of different artists, but Madam Fandom has some of the most amazing characters.  I am so impressed by the designs people have come up with!