Four school days in January were sacrificed to a dreaded "Polar Vortex". Ever since my daughter came home with a Perler Bead project from Sunday School, she has been asking me to buy some. I thought freezing cold, icy weather was the perfect time, so I rushed out in the snow Jan. 5 to pick some up.
I don't remember ever doing Perler Beads as a kid, so I went a little overboard at the store. However with my 40- and 50% off coupons I invested around $20 for hours and hours of projects.
One thing to note: Perler Beads are sold in two ways--a big bucket of colors mixed together, or sorted by color (in single packs or really appealing trays). I opted for the trays. So pretty, right? And I thought it would make doing patterns/pictures a lot more fun if we didn't have to dig through a bucket.
Well, let me tell you we have had a blast! This is a great project for the early-elementary set. Preschoolers might have some trouble with the fine motor coordination needed, although they do make some larger beads and peg trays which would work great, I'm sure. My kindergartener likes following patterns in the book I got, but also enjoys her own creations, such as this firework. It is about 1" square, and we added a magnet to the back:
My second-grader also enjoyed following patterns in the book, and making his own creations. This is his circle, which we made into a coaster by hot-gluing a circle of thin cork to the back.
I have seen Perler Beads used to recreate characters such as Nintendo's Mario and Luigi, so I decided to give it a stab and recreate some characters from Despicable Me 2! I worked freehand while looking at some images I googled online, but you are welcome to create your own from my designs (personal use only). Once you have created the characters, it is really easy to turn them into magnets. Here's how:
1. Take an old magnet that you no longer need. I love the ones sent by Realtors that have calendars on them. Once the year is up, it becomes a free crafting supply!
2. Either peel off the front (if you can), or cover with white label.
3. Cut the magnet down to fit on the back of your shape. It doesn't have to be perfect, just make sure it won't stick out from behind.
4. Hot glue magnet (paper side is where the glue goes) to the shape. As you can see, mine is NOT perfect--had to trim a corner!
5. Now I can make these Minions (and Gru and Fluffy the Unicorn) do my bidding! Which here means: hold papers on my fridge.
Note that this also works great with cork or felt if you want to make a coaster, or a pin back if you make a small, wearable shape.
Unfortunately, I hear we will be having six more weeks of winter (was there ever any doubt?). You may just want to get some beads too!