My childhood came full circle again last week when we were at a friend’s house and her little girls were making perler bead crafts. Remember those tiny plastic beads that you arrange on a tiny plastic peg board and then iron so they fuse together?? It was my favorite craft in the 90’s and I remember making so many of those things and giving them to my friends at school. I’m smiling as I write this just taking a trip down memory lane 🙂 Anyways, Ava thought they were the neatest thing and wanted to make some little trinkets herself, so we went to IKEA and bought a starter bucket of beads and a few templates. She also wanted a container to sort all the colors, which sounded like a good idea until I actually opened the bucket of beads and the enormity of the task hit me ~ we’re talking about sorting 10,000 beads that are best handled with tweezers! Needless to say, the only beads that get sorted are the ones that end up on the table and floor, and we haphazardly toss them in the sorting container as we clean up.
Perler beads are super easy and fun to do on a rainy day or on the many cold days that I’m sure are right around the corner. As long as your kids are not in the “eat everything in sight” age category, the beads are excellent for fine motor development. Ava’s little 4 year old fingers have no problem handling the beads….my 35 year old fingers prefer tweezers 🙂 Basically you arrange the beads on the peg board templates in whatever creative pattern your heart desires, then place a piece of parchment paper over the design, and iron it on high for just about 10 seconds. **Make sure you continually move the iron around the design and don’t just press down!!** When you see bead colors adhering to the parchment paper and melting together, you’ll know to stop ironing. Once it cools, the beads will pull away from the paper and voila! You have a cute little something to turn into a magnet, ornament, flying Ninja star….whatever!
If you really enjoy perler beads, look on Pinterest for some adorable patterns! I put up a Christmas tree in my craft room last year with only ornaments that I had made or that represented crafting. Well, this year, I predict there will be a lot of perler ornaments 🙂