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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9 thoughts on “My biggest Perler bead piece yet!

  1. Graeme

    Wow, good work. I’ve always wanted to do a big 20 board Paper Mario Thousand Year Door world map but I’m worried about things like warping and uneven ironing happening. Any other advice not mentioned previously above for me before I order the neccesary beads? Thanks

    Reply
  2. Danthol Post author

    I haven’t figured out how to avoid the warping issues, yet. With the smaller pieces, I have a number of tutorials, but these beads just aren’t made to work well with large solid single product.

    Reply
    1. Graeme

      Do you have any experience with ironing 1 board at a time or 4 boards at a time and piecing them together? I’ve seen a couple of big projects done like that, but I assume its painfully visable up close so I’m now quite sure which path to take.

      Reply
      1. Danthol Post author

        I haven’t seen a good example of that method without it being obvious. I think the only way to go is to iron the whole thing at once no matter how big it is.

        Reply
    2. Justin

      http://imgur.com/lVaS2n0
      Here is an example of some of my large Perler pieces which were ironed with minimal warpage issues. Each piece was ironed as a whole once all beading was completed. I would be happy to share some of the techniques that I’ve learned for larger pieces, if there is interest.

      Reply
  3. Destiny

    I have read several pages of your blog and was referred to your blog by another perler streamer. First I’d like to thank you for all the advice and information you have on this site. Secondly I would like to ask a question. I have just finished sorting a 22k bucket of perlers but since it is my first 22k bucket of perlers and my first time working with perlers I’m having a hard time figuring out which colors are which. Do you maybe have a list up of sorts or any tips on how to help with this without going out and buying individual bags of each color to verify? My friend bought me the beads and I don’t have the money right now to buy individual colors.

    Thank you,

    Destiny aka Gamer Riku

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Sellars

      Use my pixel pal heres a link its a lot of help http://mypixelpal.com/index.php
      i have a 55000 bead project coming up i only have 8 peg boards so im going to do squares and and iron each square individually and them iron the seems when i finish all individual squares

      Reply
  4. Daniel Fisk

    Personally, I would like to hear some workable tips for ironing large pieces. My experience has been beads’ refusal to melt and then warpage. I would also like to hear tips for hanging the finished art on wall.

    Thank you,
    Daniel

    Reply

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