Saturday, 17 January 2015

Ironing tips for Hama beads


Tips for ironing Hama and Perler beads


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!

How to iron Hama beads

  • 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:

Hama bead quilt inspired design

  • 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.

6 comments:

  1. Very useful tips! Thank you so much. Do you think there is a way for reinforcing bead projects. I've noticed for example that charms for necklaces break rather easily.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I have found that more fiddly designs don't stand up that well to being played with by the children, but white PVA glue can be used to glue them back together and is easier than trying to melt the pieces together again with the iron. I wonder whether covering them with a layer of the glue might work to hold them together, although I've not tried it.

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    2. I have trouble with my peg boards warping. I'm on my second large peg board and it is warping. I put it under a marble hot pad while it is still warm. That helps a little. I have been making the Peanuts characters. Their big heads takequite a lot of ironing.

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    3. I've lent boards to a couple of friends and they've both had trouble with the boards warping, although it's not something that I've had a problem with. I do iron on a flat surface as we don't have a proper ironing board, I wonder if that helps. The larger pieces are definitely prone to warping as they cool and it can be difficult to keep the melting even across them. I'd love to see your Peanuts characters!

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  2. I have just tried ironing my daughters and all the paper has stuck to them :( Now they are just a mess, how do I rescue her lovely designs, and what did I do wrong? I just ironed for a few seconds, on both sides and that was it. Paper was sent from hamma themselves.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear that, a few seconds should be fine. Had the beads melted and stuck together at all or were they still loose? If they had over melted the temperature of the iron may have been too hot, I use a medium heat setting. If they hadn't melted properly then you may have needed to use the iron for a little longer. I hope that you were able to rescue them.

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