Monthly Archives: September 2015

My biggest Perler bead piece yet!

It’s been over a month since I have updated the blog here, and for good reason. This monstrosity is the result of taking a full bucket of 22k beads, separating them, and then making one single piece. There were 22,172 beads in total.

Here is the completed art. I wanted to make something with a simple repeating pattern that would be easy to put together, and Houndstooth is one of my favorite tessellating patterns. (shout out to whomever added Ricky from Trailer Park Boys to the Wikipedia entry).

perler_houndstooth (1)

I started by ordering the colors in ROYGBIV, and then alternating dark and light colors. I think I could have come up with a better color arrangement, but I didn’t want to pain over what the final finished product would be, but simply wanted to get it done.

Here are a few of the single boards I used to test and start it off.
perler_houndstooth (2)

I ran out of peg boards pretty quick, but fortunately, the local Joann’s had a sale going, so I was able to get everything I needed. The pattern quickly started to expand, and I was only able to estimate how big it would get.perler_houndstooth (3)

There were way more of some colors than others. Almost twice as many greys as there were yellows.

perler_houndstooth (4)

I toyed with the idea of having the borders being rough, but shifted to having a solid grey border to frame it.perler_houndstooth (5)

All the beads that remained were dumped back in the sorting dish, mixed back up, and placed around the border so that I could use all 22k beads.perler_houndstooth (6)

It’s ready to get taped up at this point. (I later added my signature “D” in the corner.perler_houndstooth (7)

It is all taped up and holes poked.perler_houndstooth (8)

Just starting the ironing at this point. I knew it was going to take several hours to complete. I started ironing it like a normal “smaller” piece, but quickly determined that I needed to turn up the heat and get it done quickly.perler_houndstooth (9)

Here is the first sign that things are going wrong. perler_houndstooth (10)

As the tape and the beads started heating up, there was expansion and warping. I tried to keep heavy books on these parts as I was ironing, but they kept popping up.perler_houndstooth (11)

The parchment paper usually stays flat on the beads when ironing, but this clearly wasn’t going to be the case for this one.perler_houndstooth (12)

After the principle ironing, you can see how the masking tape wrinkles and pulls on the beads.  With small scale stuff, this isn’t an issue. perler_houndstooth (13)

The tape came off easily enough. Most of it was in one big ball.perler_houndstooth (14)

Here are a few spots that came out ugly as it warped. From a distance, it’s not bad, but as an artist, I am hypercritical of my own work.perler_houndstooth (15) perler_houndstooth (16)

This whole project was quite the undertaking, but I knew the first time would be a challenge, and I would learn a lot from it. I plan on making at least 3 more big Perler bead pieces like this in the future, with different designs, and I am confident they will turn out much better.

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