On a not-so-recent trip to Ikea I stumbled across a perler bead set and just had to buy it – even though I had no idea what I’d make. After a bit of Googling I decided on coasters, and after a bit of thought about what I’d want on my coasters, I decided on cats. Because… cats. Need I say more?
- Perler beads
- Perler bead board
- Perler bead ironing sheet
Firstly, you’ll need to figure out your pattern. I found this free cat cross stitch pattern online and modified it a touch – see my pattern below. (Made this using the grid tool on Craft Design Online.) As you can see, the coasters are 18×18 beads.
Next, you’ll need to sort through all your beads and find the colours you need. This was time consuming and pretty boring. I’d recommend doing this while watching a movie or something. Once you have your beads all sorted, you can start putting them onto your board. At this point, I began to realise that there’s a reason why most adults don’t play with perler beads – adult-sized fingers make it very difficult to pick up beads and place them on their teeny little pegs. This is where the tweezers come in. They made it much easier, but it’s still a time consuming activity.
Now for the ironing! Cover your design with your ironing sheet, and with your iron on a medium setting iron over the beads until they are all fused together. DO NOT – I cannot stress this enough – lift the ironing sheet or bump your board before you’re sure all the beads are fused together. Your beads, or at least some of them, will come off your board and it will be a nightmare to get them all back on in the right place. Trust me.
To make sure your coasters lie perfectly flat, at this point you’ll want to set a heavy book or something similar on top of your coaster – with the ironing sheet still on top – until it cools. When your coaster has cooled, you can remove the book and peel off the ironing sheet.
Repeat the process until you have your desired number of coasters.
If you have more than one perler bead board, while your first coaster is cooling you can be working on your second. Or, if you have a big enough board, you can do several at the same time. Unfortunately I have just one small board, so I had to do one at a time, and as a result it took a while. So if you’re in the same boat, be warned! That said, I’m super happy with how they turned out, so it was worth it. I think.