Friday, February 10, 2012

Super Easy DIY Perler Bead Dishes

Becca here with a quick & easy craft that I am beyond loving the results of!  I first saw this idea on Pinterest a couple of days ago, and knew that we had to try it!  Big thanks to E is for Explore! for posting the awesome idea that got our creative juices flowing.  In case you aren't familiar with them, Perler is actually the name brand of a small plastic bead that has a hole in the center.  They're traditionally placed onto pegs of various shapes & designs, covered with wax paper, and pressed with an iron to make little flat ornamental pieces (that you aren't quite sure what to do with then, especially if you have a child making multiples of them a day!)  My oldest, Kyla, became obsessed with them a couple of years ago.  Since, the request of my husband, they have been closeted for a while; little brothers and little beads don't always mix.  However, here they can!  Obviously you want to make sure really little ones aren't eating them like candy or something, but thanks to the Internet, I figured out that Perler beads (I would recommend using the name brand ones, we had some off brand ones and they didn't melt as easily, evenly, or consistently) are actually made in the USA, and are not chemically coated, and made of food-safe plastic.  See the footnote if you want even more information on the exact kind of plastic.  On to the easy steps so you can make your own...........

Lightly oil the oven safe container you want your beads to form the shape of.  We started with our everyday dishes, enamelware bowls.  I just poured a bit of the cheapest cooking oil I had onto the bottom, and used a little piece of paper towel to spread it all around the inside of the bowl really quickly.  For having children do this step, I would recommend having them use a basting brush or paintbrush to spread the oil.  Then, simply coat the bowl with perler beads.  They will lightly adhere to the oil.  We started by either pouring or adding handfuls of perler beads into the bottom, and then gently rotating & tapping the bowl until it was all coated, adding more beads as necessary.  When we were finished, I also gently pushed down on the sides to make sure there weren't any gaping holes.  Place into a 400 F oven, and bake 8-10 minutes.  For enamelware, 8 minutes was more than plenty.  For pyrex, closer to 10 minutes was what we needed.

 Let the bowl cool, and then run it under cool water with a dash of dish soap to remove the oil.  Give your children their bowl, and let them ooh & ahh over it!!  Nathan is holding his upside down (they do make boyish colored perler beads also :) so you can see how cool the underside looks also.  They are very sturdy, not flimsy.

So next we oiled up a 9x13 and made a letter box. I think it's super cute too; we saw waaaay uglier & less artistic things at the Museum of Modern Art  last month, ha!

We made two large bowls so that I could show the underside here also.  The possibilities are endless.  Obviously you do have little holes in here, you don't want to put a liquid in here, but what a cute chip bowl for a party, or cut-up fresh veggie bowl? Or how about making individual pieces in a muffin tin for each child to have their own little cup for carrot sticks? I can seriously think of a million ideas, and Perler beads come in about that many colors :)  I'd love to see your creations, or hear your ideas!  Leave a comment with your best suggestion, or a link to your project photos; we have a few more perler beads we can use up!

*Perler Brand beads are made of LDPE, so although I'm not a fan of plastics & foods mixing when it's possible to avoid it, it's likely that many foods you eat come stored in this type of plastic already, and I wouldn't be concerned about my food, even something I wasn't going to peel, coming in contact with it.  Please note that other brands may be made with, or coated with, some other type of plastic, I just researched Perler Brand.  My local Walmart, Michaels, & Hobby Lobby all carry Perler brand anyway.

14 comments:

  1. Oh, I love the mail sorter-I saw another blog featuring the bowl but I'm definitely going to try different shapes! I work primarily with glass seed beads, luckily those perler beads are so easy to find!!

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  2. I made a small bowl that is so cute and kinda looks like a birds nest. Also I want to add that all I had was baby oil and it worked great too. I don't know if you have seen the ornaments on pinterest but it looks like such a cool thing to do with the perler beads. The site is in German I think but my best guess from the pics is that you take a cookie sheet and lay parchment on it and then a cookie cutter and you fill the cookie cutter with perler beads and then bake, here is the link: http://www.wooz.dk/?p=4522

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    1. Thanks for the link - that is a great idea, my kids will love it; we'll have to try that next.

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  3. I made these the other day with my kids. We used regular cooking oil to coat the pyrex bowls---I've washed the perler bead bowls several times--even used a degreaser and the oily feeling keeps coming back. Any tips?

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    1. I just used regular blue dawn dish soap and warm water to wash ours, and haven't had trouble with them feeling greasy.

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  4. WOW I literally JUST made this and i wasnt sure how it would turn out......
    i pulled it out of the oven and it was AMAZING!
    {instead of the oil i just used Becel butter}

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    1. Glad it turned out so well, this is one of my favorites too!

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  5. I think it would be fun to take all those flowers, hearts, butterflies and stars laying around that my daughter has made with her perler beads and use those as the first layer. Then ad more to fill in all the spaces before melting in the oven.
    Teresa S.
    McCordsville, IN

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    1. That's a great idea! I never know what to do with all of those random shapes either :)

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  6. Not sure why but our beads fused to the pyrex. We used oil. Anyone know how to get the plastic out of my glass pyrex bowl?

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    1. hmmm...we've had lots of feedback on this project, but no one had had trouble with it sticking; I would try adding more oil (a lot more, pouring it down the sides) and reheating it in the oven, and scraping them off while warm.

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  7. We've always stuck magnets on the back of our shapes, so they are useful and not random. My kids also make things like swords, so they get played with too.

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  8. could I put wax paper in the bowl? Instead of oil?

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