SDBS’ Kandi Program is an all-ages effort to bring beading and creating to communities that are typically underserved or inaccessible by traditional beading techniques and methods (Czech glass beads and PMC aren’t as cheap as they used to be!). New for 2021, we hope the Kandi Program will get new people excited and interested in beading by using affordable mediums such as melty beads (via Perler beads) and pony beads to teach new techniques and skills.
Keep your eyes peeled for new classes, FB live demos, and tutorials using perler beads and pony beads for 2021!
We will be using Perler beads to make visual and 3D creations that can be used as jewelry focals, standalone sculptures, decor, simple tools, or toys. Due to the size and melted nature of these beads, they often resemble computer and gaming sprites or pixel art and are versatile enough to be used for 3D sculptures or jewelry with thoughtful design and planning.
All images are from Perler.com
To make a Perler sculpture, you typically need all of the supplies below:
- Melty (or Perler) beads: the beads you’ll need to make your pattern
- Pegboard: holds your pattern into various shapes and come in several arrangements, from circles to hexagons to squares
- Ironing or parchment paper: to protect your creations from direct heat and to protect your iron from the beads melting onto it
- Iron: to provide heat to your beads and help them maintain their shape once they’re removed from the pegboard
You can explore Perler brand beads here, their current range of colors and kits, as well as some of their examples of what you can make with their products.
Most people have been exposed to pony beads at some point in their life, whether it be through hair beads, cheap jewelry, or kid-friendly jewelry kits. Pony beads are plastic beads with larger hole openings than most beads we’ve used in SDBS before. They are affordable and versatile, and with enough knowledge can create large jewelry pieces or sculptures in the same way size 11 or size 15 seed beads can. For aging and inexperienced beaders, they are also much easier to see and can be used to help teach difficult beading concepts (such as PRAW and CRAW) to all beaders.
These days, pony beads are available in all kinds of colors and finishes to create beautiful wearable art. We will mostly be using pony beads to make jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, or focal pieces, but they are versatile enough to be used in any way that allows beads to be used.
We’ll be using Beadtin for most of our pony beads in demos and classes because of their consistent quality and longevity of their finishes, however everyone is welcome to buy pony beads of their choosing from big-box retail and craft stores if they prefer.
For these classes, it is highly recommended that all children under the age of 15 have an adult take the class with them to help with tasks such as ironing.