August 4, 2014

Melt-Beads Backpack Charms!

 This months creativity is all about "Back-2-School".
So I decided to show off some backpack charms I made with melt-beads, also know as Perler beads.
To begin, you will need the following:
  • Melt beads
  • Clear peg boards in a various shapes and sizes.
  • Parchment paper
  • Standard iron for ironing clothes - craft irons take 'forever'. Set iron to polyester, never steam.
  • Heat proof surface- I used 2 layers of cork boards.
  • Volume 3 All Seasons, pattern pad. Great patterns plus blank templates in the back to photocopy and color in!
  • Assorted crayons, colored markers, a pencil and a white out pen.
  • Paper piercer
  • Elastic twine, 5" long and clips.
 When working on the rose from the pattern book, have most of your bead colors out and ready to apply. Then place your clear peg board on the design, aligning the best you can. Start at the top and work horizontally, one bead at a time. If you need to check your progress, never pick up the peg board. Always slide it or you may risk bumping the beads apart!
On a heat proof surface, gently place your filled in peg board and cover with parchment paper. Iron in circles 10 times. You should be able to see which beads have begun to melt and which ones still need some heat. If you are still not sure, carefully peel away the parchment paper, -Warning- the beads will be *hot*! If you see any loose beads, lay the paper down and add more heat. The more heat you apply, the more melted the beads will be. Set aside to cool for a minute then peel off paper and remove design from peg board. Flip design over onto heat proof surface (melted side down) and repeat parchment paper and ironing steps.

Cool completely.
To attach the twine, simply put one end through a open bead and tie to make a loop. If the bead you want to use is partially closed up, a paper piercer will help open that up for you!
For this flower, I started the beads in the center and worked my way out.


If you Google melt beads/perler beads will find tons and tons of images.
When you see something you like, you can make your pattern from the blank templates.  Simply count the finished ideas 'beads' and color code them on your template. Working horizontally will ensure you don't make a mistake. but if you do...the white out pen is a true lifesaver!
Anything that is supposed to be "white", write a "W" with your pencil so not to be confused with no-color. You could also write a "C" for" clear beads"
For the Storm-trooper, I aligned his pattern in the top corner of the peg board so I could fill in the empty space with other designs later. For large designs like this, always work color by color, bead by bead - horizontally. Don't be tempted to fill in one color because you may bump the beads with your fingers when filling in the rest and have to start all over.

Here are some other designs I found online, colored in and created!
I Love the Ewok! He's so cute!

While I was making the purple light-saber, my 10 year old son made up the double edged light-saber!

Are you excited to make some backpack charms for you and your kids?
 If you don't know where to start, visit your local craft store and buy a bucket of assorted colors.
Its a better value. I only buy the packages of one color if its a color I used more often than others.
Then dump some of the beads onto a velour bead mat and begin sorting.
Do this at a table while you watch a movie or listen to a audio book.

I first sort by general shades. Then I individually sort each pile.
The reason I sort the beads is that some colors have shade variations that are hard to see when all in the tub. So I sort then use a spoon to scoop beads into my storage box.

I try to keep the beads with like minded colors.
Makes it easier to create with.
I don't recommend to use the bead cases that have removable sections because they tend to come undone, messing up your (color-coded) system.

Anytime I finish a project, I try to sort some more colors so I'm ready for the next inspiration.

Here are some more ideas.
(Above) - I used no pattern. Just played away. :).
 The Mine Craft charms were made from images found on the web and colored onto the blank template. I have also used design ideas from cross stitch patterns.
Here are some fun  "Mario" themed charms.
Thanks for coming by, I hope I have inspired you to create some fun Back-2-School charms!


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