You may remember Perler beads from when you were a kid. They were the plastic beads that went on little pegboards and your parents ironed them to make fun shapes and designs. There was probably about 8-10 colors and three board shapes (heart, circle, and square). Perler now has far more board shapes (and sizes) as well as many more colors. There are even a number of licensed products you can get. We’re already fans of Perler beads in our house, but when I was poking around on Amazon for a gift for another Harry Potter loving kid we know, I discovered Perler had released several Harry Potter licensed items. We quickly ordered the larger Harry Potter Fuse Bead Kit and the Harry Potter Pattern Pad for ourselves. It also appears as though Joann offers these sets, although the official Perler store does not have them up yet.
The Fuse Bead Kit comes with 1 larger pegboard, a bunch of beads, and a selection of 19 patterns. This is a decent set for someone who may not already have a bunch of Perler beads, as it includes all the relevant bead colors you need.
Many of kit patterns are actually sized in a way where if you have clear boards you can set the board on the pattern for easier replication (this is especially easier for younger kids).
The pattern book contains 53 Harry Potter related patterns (they do overlap with the kit patterns). These vary from smaller designs to multi-board undertakings. Anything that takes one large board or less is sized so that you can pop a clear board over the pattern to copy it far more easily.
A and W got to work. A (age eight) decided that he wanted to use the pattern book and go for the four board Hogwarts Crest pattern. He was aware that this could take a few days to complete, but I wanted him to stick with it. A board full of beads left out for weeks on end would likely end with the board being accidentally spilled. He agreed to take on the project with the determination of a Gryffindor.
W went for a smaller project with the patterns from the kit. Sometimes he can knock out several in a short period, other days he partly gets through one—it sort of depends on his attention span.
A did finish the crest over four days, though, and the end result is awesome:
Overall, I think Harry Potter and Perler fans will like these offerings. I would recommend the Kit for new Perler fans, as the pattern book does require bead colors not often found in craft stores but through Perler.com or other sources, including colors that came out just a few months ago. The thing I have discovered about buying the colors not in craft stores is most bead sources have expensive shipping even if the beads themselves are not as expensive. Perler.com does do free shipping, but you have to be willing to commit to an order of $60 or more to get it. Not as big a deal if it’s a hobby you’re more into, but if you’re testing it out the kit is the best way to go. I would suggest adding two items to your purchase if you are just going with the kit: some extra clear peg boards as well as the Perler tweezers (which make the process much easier).
Having some experience with Perler beads, I do have some advice for people new at it:
- The ironing paper can be reused quite a bit, so don’t pitch it after a single use.
- For anything that takes a large board (even a small design on a large board), use the tape method for ironing or you’ll likely end up warping the board. Designs should be at least two rows apart if you are trying to use the tape method on multiple designs on the same board or you may not have enough room to trim the tape.
- Practice ironing on a smaller pattern first to get the hang of things before taking on a larger one.
- The side of the design facing up gets ironed the most and usually becomes the back of the finished product. If you want the finished product to look exactly like the pattern, either do it backward or use two pegboards to sandwich and flip it when it’s done. This is not a concern if you use the tape method for ironing, though.
- There are several brands of fusible beads out there. Not all of them work together well (different thicknesses or melting points can come into play), so be cautious about mixing different brands of beads.
Are Perler beads an activity your family does? Are you excited to see a Harry Potter line?