A couple of years ago, I bought 2 bottles of IKEA Pyssla – more commonly known as Perler or Hama beads, or the generic name, fuse beads. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re little plastic beads that you arrange into a pattern or picture on a special pegboard, then heat using your iron to melt and fuse the beads together. You end up with a plastic sheet you can use for keychains, coasters, or as decoration.
On a regular pegboard, each bead melts into a square shape, so you can use any pixelated sprite (a character from an 8-bit video game, for example) as an instant pattern. One square per pixel – it’s like an instant gratification version of cross-stitching, as you can complete a coaster-sized picture in just a few minutes.
So I borrowed some ideas from sprites other people have made, and searched for game sprite images to make some of my own. Here are my first few:
New coasters! Don’t worry, I’ve tested them and the heat of the hottest mug of tea isn’t enough to melt them And, because they’re made of plastic, they’ll be easy to wash clean if they get dirty. You can add a background colour to make your coasters into squares, but I purposely chose round-ish sprites that are large enough to function as a coaster without a background – saves time and beads!
My tips if you’d like to try fuse bead crafting:
- If you have access to IKEA, PYSSLA beads and shape boards are much cheaper than the Perler/Hama equivalents (and the bottle of beads is huge and will probably last forever!)
- Pre-sort your beads by colour – it makes it much easier to create your designs.
- Use tweezers to position the beads onto the pegboard more easily.
- I ironed my coasters for longer than the instructions suggest, so they’d melt together more and bond together more strongly.
- Have fun!
Now, I wonder which designs I should make next…