PlanetJune Craft Blog

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fuse bead coasters

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.

fuse bead coasters - in progress

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:

fuse bead coasters

New coasters! Don’t worry, I’ve tested them and the heat of the hottest mug of tea isn’t enough to melt them πŸ™‚ 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!

fuse bead coasters

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…

9 Comments »

  1. Jessi said

    Oh man!!! Those are so freakin cute! I bet the Hello Kitty ones will be especially popular right now.

    Michaels also sells perler beads in a variety of colors.

    • June said

      Thanks! Yes, Michaels and all the major craft stores should stock Perler beads – both in little 1-project kits and in bags of beads for creating your own designs. The reason I recommend IKEA (if you have one close to you) is that they are – or at least were, a couple of years ago – waaaay cheaper than Michaels (even with a coupon!) The IKEA bottle has literally thousands of beads for just a few dollars.

    • Silverleaf said

      Just wanted to say that if you’re planning to make these to sell, you might want to avoid Hello Kitty. The company that owns it is rather strict about copyright and you might find yourself sued – it’s happened before. I’m sure you’d be fine making them for non-commercial use though.

  2. Oh, I used to LOVE these when I was little… so much fun! Thanks for bringing them back in style πŸ™‚

  3. Monica Ballinger said

    WOW! I haven’t done these crafts in a *LONG* time! I’m glad to see you are “having fun” with crafts πŸ˜€ hehe They look amazing! I wonder if I still have some… somehwere…? πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!!! You sure are a “Jack of the Crafts” πŸ˜‰

  4. Silverleaf said

    I love these June, I had some Hama beads as a kid and they’re great fun. I thought about making sprites a few years ago but decided the beads and boards are a bit expensive – thanks for the heads up about Ikea because theirs are somewhat more affordable!

    • June said

      The colours are a bit limited in the IKEA bottle (black, white, red, yellow, blue, green, pink, purple, brown, orange) but it’s a great inexpensive starting point. If you got hooked you could always supplement them by buying just the additional colours you need in Perler beads… (I’m such an enabler!)

      • Silverleaf said

        Sounds like a decent selection of colours to me! Now I just need an excuse to go to the Ikea that’s 45 mins away – can’t see Him Indoors agreeing to go just for more craft supplies… πŸ˜‰

  5. Gem said

    Almost every single time I go to IKEA I pick these little babies up but never buy them, after seeing your post I think I might get them next time.

    Love your little creations!

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    June Gilbank

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