Iron Beads - What are they and what do you do with them?
Ironing beads are beads that you place in a pattern on specially designed bottom plates. With an iron you can ensure that the beads melt together. Where in the beginning the beads are randomly placed on the bottom plate, nowadays there are quite a few sites with patterns for the most diverse items that you can make with iron beads.
What are iron beads?
Ironing beads are plastic beads that melt together when heated. They are available in various colors and sizes. The most used format is midi. The beads are available in various ways. You have them per color in bags of 1000, but also an assortment of colors in bags of 1000 or 3000. In addition, you also have the large pots of 12000 pieces with a true range of colors. You have the usual colors, but also glitter beads, translucent beads, fluorescent beads and glow-in-the-dark beads. Enough to make beautiful artworks and to vary.
The bottom plates
There are also a wide variety of bottom plates. The basic figures (circle, square, hexagon, star and heart) are available in both large and small sizes. But there are also all kinds of bottom plates that already show a complete figure (such as butterfly, girl, dog, Santa Claus, Alien, monkey etc). Certainly when you start making patterns from the internet you will notice how many bottom plates there are (and how hard they are to get in the Netherlands). Many designs are made on a specific base plate and then you will see that you do not have it. Fortunately there are enough patterns and once you have a number of bottom plates there are enough things that you can make.
Most just start filling a bottom plate. This also has many challenges. Take "the star" for example. You can lay down all the beads at random, but you can also choose to give each beam a different color. Or the outer points are all the same and the rest different. Or each time the outer lines and then work inside. As can be seen on the photo, the entire board does not have to be filled either. Some edges can already give a very nice effect. Once you get started, you automatically get more ideas to get started and try out more things. Searching on the internet is certainly worth it!
Search the internet
Where do you start searching? That is of course the big question. There is an abundance of sites. Most Dutch sites have some patterns or just examples of what people have made themselves. The English sites are much more extensive. A base plate is called a "pegboard" in English and ironing beads are called "perlerbeads". Perlerbeads is a very nice site. Also on Pinterest and Wie.nl are all sorts of examples that are definitely worth it.
Ultimately, of course, you want the ironing beads to be stuck together so that you can put your artwork down or hang it. In the store they sell very expensive, specially iron-on bead paper. However, it also works great to put a piece of baking paper on your workpiece and then lightly iron over it with the iron. Make sure that you go well over the entire workpiece and that everything melts together well. Let it cool for a few minutes. Then you can remove the baking paper and remove the workpiece from the bottom plate (carefully).
For children or adults? For boys or for girls?
Is this something for children or adults? Both can enjoy it a lot. Where the little ones will find it hard enough to get all the beads on the shelf, you can make the most beautiful works of art as an adult. Sitting together at the table is certainly enjoyable on a drizzly day. Children can develop their fine motor skills and when you copy a pattern it is also quite a challenge to let them read the pattern themselves! For boys it is certainly a tough thing. There are plenty of fun patterns that boys like.
Video: Perler Beads: How to Iron them Perfectly (April 2020).
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