Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bead It

Sydney has been taking these awesomely deep, long afternoon naps lately, giving me and Willow time to work with materials that Sydney finds more pleasure in, um, tossing about while squealing with joy. Yesterday we strung beads on necklaces, but today we worked with Perler beads.

Perler beads are these crazy plastic beads that you arrange on a pegboard and then iron to fuse together, making flat and colorful shapes. When I first saw them I was pretty resistant to the idea of buying these new plastic materials in all the different colors you'd need, just to melt them, but Willow worked with them on a visit to Grandma Beck's house and we acquired a large bucket of them there, and I bought the girls a small set on sale at Joann's for a treat one day, so somehow we're pretty well set anyway.

Obviously, what I want to make most from Perler beads is old-school Nintendo stuff, like these coasters on Crafster or magnets or just the little figures that you could probably do a lot of stuff with. Old-school Nintendo and Atari images are extremely well-suited for crafts like beading or cross-stitching, because you can transfer the image pixel-by-pixel. Ah, 8-bit video! I haven't yet used my Michael's gift card plus 40% coupon to purchase one of these versatile large pegboards, however, so this is what Willow and I actually made:
I thought the shapes, with coordinating colors, might make interesting decorations in the house--stars in the girls' bedroom, for instance, with the ceiling painted like a sky, or pink/purple shapes in the playroom, with its pink/lavender walls. These here are my first attempt, though, and I realize now after actually, you know, reading the instructions that I didn't iron well at all--you're supposed to only iron for 10 seconds and in a circular motion, whereas I ironed for more like 30 seconds, just bearing down hard, and I didn't flip the shapes over and iron the other side, which you're also supposed to do--and I'm not terribly pleased with the color choice in my creation, the heart, but Willow's creation is awesome. Can you tell what it is? A turtle, of course! Willow doesn't have near the manual dexterity to actually manipulate these teeny little beads (they do sell Big Beads for preschoolers, which would be cool if we ever found them at a garage sale or thrift store), so she mostly handed me beads and told me what to do with them and lost herself in bead reveries while pouring them through her hands like water, but you can clearly see the turtle's eyes, the color and placement of which she directed, and the legs and tail and shell and all. Such the artist.

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