Positively Pixelated Perler Bead Pickle Weasels

Sometimes, you just feel blue.  You feel like you have been faking it your whole life and someone will figure it out any day now.

This is called Impostor Syndrome and many people get it.  Sometimes, you just need some extra mojo to ward it off.

JC Little, aka The Animated Woman, has a creation that helps to add mojo whenever you need it: Pickle Weasel.  Our Twitter exchange reminded me of an idea I had once: Make a Pickle Weasel out of Perler Beads.

First, you begin with the body and legs.


Next, you add some ears, arms, and a tail.


At this point, it is time to add some eyes and a nose.


Next. some whiskers and a mouth.


After adding some "pickle spots" and coloring in the ears and tail, Pickle Weasel is really starting to take shape.


Finally, you color in Pickle Weasel.


Um… Did I say "finally?" Pickle Weasel is done, but if we iron him like this, those spindly arms and legs will fall apart.  So we should add a clear background to keep Pickle Weasel in one piece. (He’s not a Pickle Weasel Puzzle, after all!)


A trip to the iron and Pickle Weasel is done and ready to spread mojo wherever he goes.


By the way, if you enjoy Pickle Weasel’s antics, JC has a new Pickle Weasel book out.  Check it out and see if you can guess what Pickle Weasel is up to now.

NOTE: I’ve added my © TechyDad watermark to the images above.  These are images taken by me of creations I made, but only the photos are under my copyright.  The "Pickle Weasel" character was created by JC and is thus owned by her.  I made this creation and am sharing photos of it with her permission.

My First Perler Bead Earrings

Soon after I started making Perler Bead creations, I wanted to do more than make simple geeky figures.  I wanted to make something that could be worn around.  I started off by making an Autism awareness puzzle piece tie clip.


With this done, I noticed that they could make good earrings as well.  All I needed to do was get some earring hooks from the craft store and hang one of the puzzle piece edges off of it.  I asked B if she wanted me to make her a pair of puzzle piece earrings.  While she liked the puzzle pieces, she was concerned that they would be too big.

After experimenting with some parrots (not-autism related – just a pair of small parrots that still might be turned into earrings), I decided to try making some Autism awareness puzzle piece hearts.  First, I "sketched" out a heart shape using black pieces.  Next, I slowly replaced the blacks with blue, red, yellow, and purple.  Then, I filled in the shape until I had a complete heart.  Finally, I moved pieces around until it looked more like puzzle pieces interlocking.

After ironing, it was ready to be made into earrings.  I was prepared to do this part myself, but a friend offered to help as she had all of the supplies, has made earrings before, and enjoyed doing this.  I believe she wound up doing a better job than I could have done.

And so, B now has a very nice pair of Autism awareness earrings to wear. 


Now comes the question: What should I make next for B?  Any suggestions?

The Perler Bead Addiction Continues

Three weeks ago, I wrote about our Perler Bead addiction.  Since that time (except for a quick Perler Bead-related Rosh Hashana greeting), I haven’t posted about Perler Beads at all.  So clearly my addiction is over, right?


I’ll admit it.  I’ve been holding back.  We’ve been busy working on so many Perler Bead projects and while I’ve posted photos of most of them on Instagram, I didn’t want TechyDad.com to become TechyDadsPerlerBeadProjects.com.  I wanted to space out these posts a bit.  Now that I’ve waited a bit, here’s what we’ve been doing (in no particular order).

You remember Robin from the first post?

Well, JSL and I worked on the rest of the Teen Titans: Raven, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Cyborg.


Titans, GO!

I’ve also been working on some tiny Harry Potter figures.  See if you can guess who each one is.


Accio Perler Bead Tray!

I made a few Star Wars figures as well.


When 900 years old you reach, be made of plastic beads you will not. (Next up: Chewbacca and Boba Fett.)

I also made myself a baby Groot.


Groot, did you eat my brownie?  I AM GROOT!

B made Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. and both Perry the Platypus and Agent P.


Oh there you are, Perry!

I made these parrots to turn into earrings for B.


Just don’t ask them if Polly wants a cracker.

NHL made a pair of fishes.


I think the smaller one’s about to be eaten by the larger fish.

Speaking of larger, I’ve also just got this for large projects:


I’ve seen some "turn a photo into a Perler Bead pattern" programs and I might just try a couple.  Those don’t work well with tiny projects.  Also, while you can connect the smaller boards together, our ironing area is upstairs from where we make the Perler Beads.  As it is, walking up the stairs carrying a tray of beads is tricky.  (One bump and not only is your design broken, but tiny, plastic beads could be scattered everywhere.)  The way the boards connect, though, wouldn’t let me keep them connected as I move them.  Now, though, I can make one big design or a bunch of smaller ones, and just carry one board up to my iron to melt the beads together.

It looks like my Perler Bead addiction might be turning into a full on obsession and that’s just fine by me.

(Lest anyone think that all of these projects are a waste of money – that I iron them, toss them aside, and then work on a new project, JSL now has a pile of Perler Bead figures that he loves playing with.  The other day, he had the Teen Titans being visited by the Doctor and Harry Potter.  He’s only seven and is already a master of the crossover.  *sniff* They grow up so fast. *sniff*)

Addicted To Perler Beads

We seem to have a new addiction in our household: Perler beads.

Have you ever used these?  If not, let me explain what they are.  Perler beads are tiny plastic beads.


You place them on a plastic pin board to make designs.


When your design is done, you use an iron to slightly melt the beads, keeping perler bead ironing paper – or just parchment paper – between the beads and the iron.  (If you don’t, the beads might melt ONTO the iron and this would obviously not be good.)


When the ironing is done, and your creation cools, you have something very cool to play with.

My first creation, of course, was David Tennant’s Doctor.


While I was making this, NHL made an ice cream sundae.


Later, JSL joined in the fun.  He wanted to make Robin from the Teen Titans TV show.  We looked up an image online and worked on it together.  I told him what colors to use and he placed them in.  Then, I ironed it for him.


After this, I decided to look up Autism awareness patterns.  I found a nice small one of the Autism "puzzle pieces."  It turned out so nice that I glued it onto one of the blank tie clips I have.  Yes, I plan on wearing this into the office.


I’ve also considered making more of these and attaching them to pins to wear when I don’t have a tie on.

I also made a larger one that we’ll turn into a magnet.


JSL worked on some fireman pieces (which aren’t completed enough to make for a good photo) and NHL worked on a gaming system.


Finally, B got into the act also.  Previously, she been the "designated sorter" – sorting beads from the huge bucket into individual color bins.


She decided to make a butterfly for JSL to go with his Robin figure.  (Long story.  Basically, there’s a Teen Titans Go episode that JSL loves where Robin tries to survive in the wilderness by constantly eating butterflies and shouting "PURE PROTEIN!")


Here’s a perler bead shopping tip:  You can get big buckets of beads from Amazon but we’ve found that going to local craft stores such as Jo-Ann with 40% or 50% off coupons (look in the paper or online) can help you beat that price.

As far as inspiration goes, there is a vast store of perler bead creations online that people have posted.  Some are in the form of patterns for you to follow.  Others are just photos that you can use to recreate the creation for yourself.  These can go from the very small to the very big.  The sheer variety of perler bead possibilities means that we’ll be making perler bead crafts for a long time to come.

Have you ever worked with perler beads?  If so, what have you made with them?

Making Foam Lightsabers

Star Wars day is coming up on Sunday, May 4th.  (May 4 = May the 4th = May The Force.)  Given that the boys and I are such big Star Wars fans, we figured that we just had to do something special for it.  (Plus, B had to do a freelance article about the day.)  We decided to tackle something we’ve seen and had been meaning to do for awhile now:  Foam Lightsabers.

The supplies are easy:

  1. Foam pool noodles – You should be able to find these for $1 each.  We found ours in Christmas Tree Shops.  Make sure they’re just think enough to wrap your hands around (as if they were lightsabers).
  2. Shiny silver duct tape – You can get this in Target, Jo-Ann, or another craft shop.  This should only cost about $3.50 depending on the store, sales, coupons, etc.
  3. Black electrical tape – You can get this in Target or a hardware store.  This should only cost around $2.30.

The rolls of duct and electrical tape should provide enough materials for quite a few lightsabers.  We wound up making 6 and had plenty left to spare.  I’d wager we could easily make another 6.  If so, this means that each lightsaber costs about $1 in materials.  That makes this a very inexpensive craft.  (Always a very good feature in a craft.)


Once you have your supplies, measure your pool noodles and cut them in half.

measure cut

Now, you have two…


No, not two lightsabers.  Not yet.


No, not two rabbit ears either.  You have two foam tubes to make into lightsabers.  (Yes, each foam pool noodle makes two lightsabers.)

Next, use two strips of duct tape to cover the end.  Careful of photobombing Yoda, you should be.


After this, wrap the bottom of the lightsaber with four lines of duct tape.  Make sure to always start at the same section to keep a consistent seam.  Also, wrap the tape while facing the end of the lightsaber head-on.  Doing it from the side may cause the handle to wrap unevenly.  You now have a bare-bones lightsaber.


Of course, we want more than just a barebones lightsaber.  We want a full fledged Jedi weapon.  It’s time for the electrical tape.  You can vary this portion to customize your lightsabers however you like.  You can even give your kids some lengths of tape so that they can customize their own lightsabers.   One tip is to use a strip of tape to hide the duct tape seam on the back of the lightsaber.  You can also use electrical tape squares as buttons.


Now, your lightsaber is complete.  As I got more practice in making them, I found I could turn out a new lightsaber in a matter of minutes.


It’s time to go outside and battle some Sith.


I have a bad feeling about this.

1 2