Latest obsesssion: Perler beading

I have a new obsession. It just kind of came on. I have admired the 8-bit treatment of everything from animated characters to subway maps for a while and then I started seeing Perler bead creations. It isn’t anything I’m familiar with from my childhood and it did exist way back then as it is a mid-20th century invention.

While NPY obliviously dozed away on Saturday morning, I ripped open my “starter set” while listening to Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch read by David Pittu and you can see what I got up to …

I picked up my “starter kit” from a Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store in Bellingham which is very similar to Michael’s but better priced. In store, I couldn’t remember which colours I wanted to get started on the patterns I liked best but that was resolved when I spotted the tray with 250 beads each of 12 colours and I picked up separate packs of dark gray and two “skin tones”, peg boards and ironing sheets for US$20 – thank you 40% off Perler bead products that day!

I have a Pinterest board, “Perler inspo” (of course she does) where I can keep track of the patterns that tickle my fancy the most. And when I’ve completed a pattern, I move the pin to my “Crafted it” Pinterest board because I’m organized like that.

These are my first two creations. I am vaguely familar with the Pokemon ball (never watched the show) and liked the design. NPY recognized it right away. And the panda only used black and white beads, of which I should generally have in abundance. I felt a general fear of commitment and admired the beads on the pegboard and procrastinated from fusing them together with an iron… what if they all melted together into a puddle??

It’s a Perler bead emergency when I ran out of white beads!

So I went to Michael’s on Sunday and the colour selection was a third that of Jo-Ann (just the 12-colour tray, a bucket of unsorted beads, black, white, brown green and red.) Swell. And $5.00 for 1,000 beads. You can get 1,000 beads from China on eBay in any colour you desire but have to wait a month.

These six pieces are the fruits of my labour (pun intended), dabbling here and there over the weekend. NPY is pretty impressed and says I should run a stall at the night market next year. How many pieces will I have to produce for that to be viable? What is my labour worth? What can I charge? All fascinating questions I mean to address. For now, I’m just having fun making gifts, finding patterns that are super-cute and match the preferences of my friends.

On this day..