1. Use the “Tape Method”
You may have heard about this method before or seen other fuse bead artists oddly using masking tape on their projects. The taping method involves using masking tape to cover the beads while they are on the pegboard. Holes are then punched in the tape to seal the tape and ensure an even fuse and the tape is then lifted off of the pegboard and ironed as normal. This is an important, often overlooked step, but it can cause an uneven fuse or pitting in your beads when using this method if holes are not punched.
The main benefit of this particular method is that it prevents your pegboards from warping and allows you to have a more aggressive ironing style without having to worry about the beads shifting as you are ironing. It also allows you to free up your pegboards and iron in bulk. It’s not required to use this method to achieve a nice fuse. Famously, Pappa’s Parlor doesn’t use this technique and instead uses very high-heat and quick ironing directly on the pegboard.
2. Use a spare pegboard to poke holes
Okay, seriously, if I see one more person painstakingly and tediously poking individual holes in a taped piece, I might just lose my mind. There are vastly superior ways to poke holes in masking tape instead of doing it bead by bead. I’ve seen artists use forks or other pronged devices, but the easiest by far is to use an additional pegboard to poke holes in the tape (while it’s still taped to the pegboard).
This method is highly recommended as it is the quickest way to puncture holes in your Perler piece. It does require some force and finesse to get it just right. Always try out a new method on a smaller piece to perfect your results. Even if you’re not a fan of this technique, find a more efficient way of poking holes instead of doing it bead by bead. Be creative!
3. Get some ironing film for shiny beads
You’ve probably seen Artkal Film or even used our own Deluxe Ironing Film to iron your projects. The results are phenomenal! The beads are fused more evenly and a glossy shine is left over your fused project. Parchment paper or the standard ironing paper that comes with Perler Beads leaves a matte-like finish on your finished fuse bead project. Wax paper can leave a waxy residue. The perfect solution is ironing film. Not only will it leave your beads glossy and shiny, but you can see your beads as they fuse through the clear film ensuring the perfect fuse every time.
Ironing film is a little tricky to use and we recommend starting off on the lowest heat possible on your iron and working your way up. Remember, all plastic melts, but ironing film has a higher heat-resistance over fuse beads. Our Deluxe Ironing Film that we sell exclusively is one of the highest rated heat-resistant plastics available. It’s tested for multiple uses and is big enough to cover 4 standard midi pegboards. You can buy your own here.
4. Think about your presentation
Here it is!! My little Stardew Valley Halloween flower pot!! I lied in my last post…..Fall is DEFINITELY my favorite season in the game!!! I forgot how awesome the music is and so many crops!!! #stardewvalley #8bit #halloween #concernedape #nintendo #nintendoswitch #videogame #pixelart #artkalbeads #minibeads #fusebeads #artsandcrafts #beadsprite #crafty #artist #gamer #geek #nerd #eekcreations
A post shared by EEK!creations (@eek_creations) on Oct 19, 2017 at 6:58am PDT
This seems like a no-brainer but consider the final presentation of your project. You can easily make an ornament, magnet, or coaster. These are fun ways to give functionality to an otherwise pointless finished fuse bead piece. Maybe you could mount your project on a painted or found canvas art, or perhaps, even frame your artwork. We enjoy making small standees with wire bases and wooden bases alike. They make a great desk or shelf toy. The point is, anyone can recreate pixel patterns via fuse beads, but taking the extra step to think about your presentation will really set yourself apart from the hundreds of other Perler artists.
5. Perfect your ironing skill
I can’t stress this enough, but an uneven or sloppy ironing job can make even the coolest design or pixel character an absolute mess. It’s the most offputting thing about beginner fuse bead artists. It’s also the most difficult skill to perfect. There are tons of different fusing styles, whether you’re a fan of a partial melt or full fuse or if you prefer to show off the unfused side, nail down a style that works for you.
A post shared by Johan Karlgren (@pappasparlor) on Oct 17, 2017 at 6:06am PDT
Also, you don’t necessarily need an expensive iron to achieve your desired results. What matters most is knowing your iron and the heat settings you prefer along with how much pressure to add. It’s a balancing act so practice on smaller pieces to get the melt you prefer before moving on to bigger pieces.
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