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Perler Beads are a Great Diversion from too Much TV

An inexpensive store-bought perler bead activity kit can provide hours of indoor fun.

I cannot tell a lie. Screens have become a bit of a crutch in my home over the past few weeks.

As a result, this week’s kids’ craft activity evolved from this mom’s desire to wean the kids from their summer-time screen overload and ready them for the rapidly approaching school year.

I am quite happy to report that it worked.

And – get this – it’s a craft activity that required little involvement from me besides getting it out and setting it on the kitchen table and then operating my iron at the end.

Ever heard of perler beads? They are tiny tube-shaped beads in a variety of colors that the kids place in various patterns on a plastic base covered in tiny teeth. After the pattern is completed you cover the base with wax paper and iron the resulting bead creation for about 20 seconds. You flip the whole thing over and iron it again for another 15 seconds or so.

The ironing process melts the tubes together so that the beadwork sticks together and the pattern becomes permanent, unless very roughly handled.

Perler beads are sold in kits and are starter packs are relatively inexpensive. The plastic bases and instructions for ironing are included and I highly recommend that you follow those steps rather than my crude recap.

Once you have the basic materials for perler beading, you can buy tubs of the beads to add additional colors to the mix (beads with sparkles in them are a current favorite in our home) or replace beads as they are used up.

Sometimes the best craft activities are hiding in a closet or shoved on a high shelf in our playroom. Such was the case with the perler bead kits. And, I am pretty sure that we have others lurking about.

Do you have any craft activity suggestions based on what might be hiding in your craft supply bin? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Perler beads first came into our home as a birthday gift and I highly recommend putting them on your kid's wish list too. They are a great rainy day activity and it’s a project that can be run by any grown-up. Martha Stewart-level crafting aptitude is not necessary, merely the ability to operate an iron.

My husband is quite quick to point out that he is far better at ironing than I, whether it’s a dress shirt or perler beads.

And, truth-be-told, he is.

Jennifer Rodgers August 13, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Good idea...easy for me AND the kids. We're going to try this one! I'll bet you could get those sticky magnets to adhere to back and make locker or fridge designs :)
Jennifer Marangos August 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM
You absolutely can add the magnets to the back. We are working on adding ribbon and making the latest batch into bookmarks and Christmas tree ornaments.
Matt Ellis August 13, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Thanks doc.

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