Perler Beads for Kids Art Class Tips and Tricks

Perler beads have been around for a long time and are a classic children’s craft. They are fun for us adults too, and you may find yourself getting involved and creating along with the kids.

Using them to teach kids about art is a great way to change up their paper working routine, and you can use them as a color theory lesson if you want the lesson to be more educational.

Easy Perler Bead Art Class for Kids

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Teach your child a little about using primary, contrasting, and complementary colors before starting so they can think about their color choices.


It’s also a fun, easy lesson for kids to learn that aside from sorting, ironing and cleaning, it’s easy to teach and they’ll come up with some great designs.

Perfect Perler Bead Art

Perler Bead Art Class for Kids

Of course, what you need will depend on how many kids are making the toy, so choose plenty of beads and bases to use if you have a lot.

You will need:

  • Multi-colored Perler Beads Container
  • small bucket or bowl to hold a little for each child
  • Tweezers for some kids – not all want to use them
  • Organizer bins to sort colors into
  • iron
  • wax paper

DIY Perler Bead Art Lesson for Kids

Step by step instructions and tips

To start, go over any instructions you have for them before giving them the beads. I find that they don’t pay attention if their hands are already holding the beads and they miss most of the instructions.

I always give them a few instructions, keep it short and easy to understand so they have more time to work.

Most kids will decide pretty quickly what they want to do and for those who do need a visual example, you can get lots of patterns on the Perler website.

I will plug in the iron when it starts. Make sure they know the iron is there and that it is hot. I ask that no children go near the iron base.

Some people do this and I get very nervous when they do, but they are curious! Turn the iron on medium heat, not high.

Get samples

Suggest characters, logos or emojis and you can find anything you can think of online.

See also Pattern Recognition Cardboard Activity

Many even provide a template so you can easily do it.

Depending on their age, they may need your help. My preschoolers through first graders had the most difficulty, mainly with tapping the beads back after they placed them on the base.

Have them work from the middle out, this will help keep you from spilling too many seeds out of the base.

Perler Beads in Box

I will say, I taught this to 30 kids and 90% of them did it on their own. However, the few who actually listened to my instructions were more creative than the others because it was more effective.

Ask the children to choose the color they need in their mind before starting, then start picking those colored beads from the given bin.

If they have trouble working from the heart, then the next best thing is to sketch out the product and then go into the heart and work.

I have a few bases and most are a mixed set of larger square bases which are great for kids to create their own shapes.

The important thing with this strange shape, however, is that the particles cannot lie alone without touching any other particles.

If the image has points it must be triangular, otherwise the particles will have nothing to cling to and melt into each other.

Smaller shapes work better because they help children know what they are doing and they are not too big so they won’t take too long to create.

Most of my classes can be completed and then moved on to another class.

There are round, square, heart and star shapes.

Perler Bead Art Supplies

If someone doesn’t have any specific ideas, lining up bright colors on one of those shapes will make a very interesting design, and even just mixing random colors will make a great design.

Place seeds

Tweezers are useful for placing the bead on the base, but you first need to turn the bead at the tip to be able to pick it up, so your fingers are still needed.

Step 1

Once they get used to it, they will be able to work faster, so encourage them that it only takes a few minutes to get used to it, then they will get used to it and it will no longer be boring.

See also Movable Cow Paper Doll

The end result was well worth the effort!

Making Perler Beads with Kids

Now, once they have finished their design, have them call you back. Avoid letting them walk across the room with their creations. Many kids will knock over their designs and end up with a bad result.

Young children are the ones I encounter this situation with and they seem to completely break down. This not only makes one child unhappy but disrupts the entire classroom.

Then you will have to do the whole thing again, so make sure they understand this and why you are asking them to call you and you will come pick it up.

Ironing artwork

Now comes the ironing part – place a piece of wax paper over the beads and make sure it fits snugly over the entire bead.

Step 2

If the iron touches any of the beads that do not have paper in between, the plastic will melt and they will stick to the iron.

My base and beads came with wax paper cut to the correct size for the base. So far they have held up well and I have not had to replace any.

Easy Perler Bead Art Lesson


The way I find most effective is to rotate the beads a few times. I have ruined a few of these beads in the past by leaving the iron in one place for too long. Overheating them will also ruin them. It is best to get to know your iron and beads beforehand.

What you want is for the particles to keep their shape on the front side. They should look like they are not touching when viewed from that side.

The backs will appear to melt when they are all touching and flatten slightly. If you do it too long or too hot, they will start to change shape.

Step 3

Take the iron and move it in small circles on the wax paper, making sure the iron doesn’t stand still. Let the iron get hot all over and then take it off for about 30 seconds and repeat.

See also Build a Santa Puppet Template

After doing this a few times, I’ll lift the paper up to see if it’s melted evenly. If any of the beads still aren’t stuck together, keep going. Sometimes all but a few will melt, and you’ll just have to do that one area again.

Let it cool

Let cool with the paper for about a minute or two, then gently pull the paper off. The paper will easily peel off, leaving the design.

You can then carefully pull the bead design off the base and set it aside to cool completely. This is a good time to do a final check to make sure all the beads are securely attached.

Completed Perler Star Bead

When the weather is cool and pleasant, you can give them a drink.

Be sure to emphasize to children that these are for looking at, not playing with. They are quite fragile.

One final word of advice

The last tip that really worked for me was when the kids were sorting the beads and looking for specific colors, I encouraged them to communicate with each other and help each other.

Give your friend the color you find and vice versa.

Then, even at the end or in the middle of class, start putting the sorted colors into the color bin so you can start giving that color to the next person who needs it.

You don’t want to sort them all by color first because it will be too much work for all the kids to have to sort them on one bucket of beads. They need their own beads. However, this will help the next class or next time you do it again.

Star shaped Perler beads

So be creative and have fun!

Parler Beads Art Class for Kids

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