As you can probably imagine, I spend a fair amount of time ironing Hama beads (also known as Perler or melty beads). During that time I've picked up a few tips and tricks so I thought I would share them!
I'm afraid I have no advice when it comes to actual irons, as the only thing that gets ironed in this house is the Hama beads. We do have a half decent iron as it came free when we bought our washing machine, but I wouldn't have thought it makes much difference.
- I use the medium setting on the iron (two blobs) for the more common midi beads. For the mini beads I use the lightest setting (one blob) as they are tiny and melt very easily.
- It's best to iron the beads on a firm, flat surface - I use a cork heatproof mat placed on my kitchen work surface.
- Hama bead kits come with ironing paper, and you can also buy it separately. You don't need the special paper though as you can just use normal baking paper, and you can reuse the sheets quite a number of times. It's best to discard the paper once the surface has started to go white in places, as then it can start to stick to the beads. You do need to use paper when ironing, I can imagine it would be quite messy if you didn't!
- I wait until the iron has heated up, then iron the design through the paper, moving the iron around as I go. As they melt, the colour of the beads starts to appear through the paper, and then you know that they are ready. If you iron too much it becomes very difficult to remove the beads from the pegboard. So if you want the design to be firmly fused together it's a good idea to remove it from the pegboard as soon as the beads have stuck together, and then iron again without the pegboard underneath.
- Whether to iron the beads on both sides is a matter of personal preference. I tend to, as the children like to play with their finished creations and it makes them sturdier. When I am making a piece for display, like this Hama bead quilt inspired design, I iron quite a bit on one side and then just lightly on the side that will be shown, so that you can still clearly see the beads. This is the front side:
- Larger designs in particular can warp as they cool. To prevent this, as soon as I've finished ironing a design I place it between two cork mats with a weight on top for several minutes. I find that this works very well to keep it flat.
The children and I love making things out of Hama beads, and we now have several shoeboxes filled with our creations. If you are looking for things to do with the Hama bead designs that you have made, I've written about some ways to display finished Hama bead projects. You can find all my Hama bead posts, including plenty of design inspiration, on my Hama beads page.