Tutorial: How to make geeky perler bead earrings

Since I just launched a whole new Jewelry section on my Etsy Shop,
I’ve decided to do this Geeky Perler Bead Earring tutorial. Obviously, these basic steps can apply to any kind of perler bead earring, geekiness not required!

Below I will explain how I make my own assortment of perler earrings to sell online and at conventions, and how you can make your own custom earrings at home. So, let’s get started!

​Part 1: Your supplies

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Your supplies

Materials List:

– A variety of Perler Beads 
You may pre-purchase the beads in the exact colors that you will need, or buy a mixed bucket. For beginners I recommend this small mixed bucket. 
– Perler tweezers
These will help you pick up your perler beads, they make things a lot easier, especially if you have big hands. You can get them here
– A Household Iron
Any kind will do.
– Perler Ironing Paper
This is basically just wax paper, but be warned, some cheap wax paper will have a slight paper coating that will bond with the plastic of the perler beads and become impossible to remove. You can get the official perler paper here. It is pretty much infinitely reusable so I’d say it’s worth grabbing a sheet or two online or at your local craft store.
– A Perler Peg-Board
I usually use a small one if I’m just making earrings. There are a variety of styles of pegboards that allow you to create different sorts of patterns, so I’d recommend picking up a small multi-pack such as this.
– One or two sets of small pliers
I personally don’t use jewelry-specific pliers, but you will be best off with two sets of pliers. Really, any pliers that have good hold and feel good in your hands will work, there is no need to get anything fancy. 
– 2 Earwires
One for each ear. Try to purchase Nickel-free earwires. There are many places to get them, but if you just need a few you will be fine purchasing them from your local craft store. 
– 2 6mm Jump Rings
These will be used to bridge the gap between the perler creation and your ear wire. You can buy them at most local craft shops. 

Part 2: Choosing your design

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Decide on your subject

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Plan your design


This portion of the project is fairly self-explanitory,
you should research images of a character or object that you’d like to make,
and then plan your design however you see fit. If you’ll be improvising a design from a photo, you may want to do a basic sketch before you begin. If you are simply working from a sprite or a low-pixel image, you will simply copy this design using perler beads.

Once your design is ready, you can set up your workspace. 

Part 3: Selecting beads and preparing your workspace

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Prepare your supplies

Before you begin placing your design on your pegboard, you may pre-sort your perler beads so that you have the colors that you will need in front of you. Get your tweezers ready, and start warming up your iron to medium heat, if you’d like.

Next comes making the design!

Part 4: laying out your design

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Begin laying out your design using your tweezers and pegboard

Next, use your tweezers (or bare hands if you are precise enough) to place your design on your pegboard. Feel free to experiment by moving beads around if you are creating your own design, or to change colors if you are working from an existing design.

​Tips:

  • Ensure that your design makes sense when viewed from afar
  • Avoid long lines of single beads, they may be very delicate when ironed
  • use contrasting colors and or black outlines to make your design pop
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Once you are happy with your design, duplicate it for the second earring

Once you are happy with your earring design, you may either immediately duplicate it (if you have two peg boards) or iron this one before making the second one. 

Part 5: Ironing

oI find that the ironing is the trickiest part, so I apologize if this section is a little long!

Once you have warmed your iron to medium heat, place the ironing paper over your design and pegboard. Begin ironing your design by placing the iron firmly on the wax paper and making small, quick circles across the surface. Avoid pushing too hard or lingering for too long on one area of the design; the goal is to evenly fuse the beads. Be careful about being to vigorous when ironing ; the beads can be easily knocked off of the peg board, and this is super annoying.

Continue ironing for about 10 seconds or until you feel the beads underneath become ‘tacky’. Lift the iron, you should be able to see each bead through the translucent paper. You want to make sure that all of the beads are fused before flipping the design. You will want to leave the holes in the center of the beads visible; don’t iron it too flat! Once you’re happy with side one, flip the design over, leaving it attached to the wax paper.

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Flip the design over to evenly iron both sides

Now, flip over your design, removing it from the pegboard but leaving it attached to the wax paper. Place a second sheet of wax paper on top of the design and repeat the ironing process until both sides appear the same.

Remove the finished perler figure from the wax paper and repeat all steps until you have 2 identical earrings.

Part 6: Applying the earring hardware

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Open the jump ring using 2 pairs of pliers

Next you will be making your finished perler figures into earrings. Wait for them to cool, and then prepare your jump rings, ear wires and pliers.

First, take both jump rings by holding them in one set of pliers and bending them open with the second set of pliers. This is somewhat tricky as first, but gets easier.

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Thread the opened jump ring through one of the beads, and then place the ear wire onto the open ring

After the jump ring is open, insert it into a center top bead on your design, so that the open part is facing up. Now, place the ear wire onto the open jump ring. Keep in mind which direction you want the finished earring to face when inserted into the ear. Now, use one pair of pliers to re-close the jump ring. I find that it is easiest to line it up horizontally, and then seal it.

Make sure that the jump ring is closed tight enough to keep the ear wire in place, and your earring is complete! Repeat with the second earring. 

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Re-seal the jump ring using 1 pair of pliers, and your earring is complete!

Part 7: Done!

Excellent work! Your earrings are now complete and can be worn. 
Here are some fun techniques to try in your future earrings:
  • Try making mismatched earring sets, with two different designs
  • Use translucent or glow in the dark beads for interesting effects
  • Once you attach the jump ring, attach a charm strap or keychain end instead to create something different.
  • Try using mini perler beads to create smaller, more detailed designs
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Your earrings are finished!

If you make any earrings using this tutorial, please comment with links to what you’ve made- I’d love to see! Thanks again for reading <3

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