Urban Artwork Using Bead Plates





Introduction: Urban Artwork Using Bead Plates

Here's an, hopefully inspiring, Instructable on how to beautify your neighborhood. Admittedly this Instructable doesn't really pass the threshold of originality but if I at the end of the day inspired a few people to make their own urban artworks, I'm happy!

Step 1: Tools

Not much needed to do this project:

  • Glue
  • Beads
  • Bead plates
  • Iron
  • Tweezers, preferably needle nosed
  • Waxed paper

Step 2: Get Images

There are lots of sites providing inspiration for this sort of thing. Some of the better ones are Spritestitch: http://www.spritestitch.com/ The Shyguy's Kingdom: http://tsgk.captainn.net/ and The Spriters Resource: http://spriters-resource.com/

You can also fire up an emulator and just take screenshots of your favorite game.

Step 3: Make a Grid

It's not really necessary to make a grid but it helps you to keep track of how many pixels you've done. You can do it the hard way by blowing up the image in Photoshop and manually adding the grid (like we did), or you can just use this nifty program that we found afterwards: http://people.dsv.su.se/~henrikbe/stitch/screenshots.shtml

Step 4: Make the Bead Plates

Not really rocket science, just put the beads on the plates. Just keep in mind which way you want them to be facing and which side you're putting the glue. The exact color you need probably won't be available so you'll have to experiment to see what looks good.

Step 5: Ironing

Use the wax paper as insulation and heat the beads until they melt together. Make sure that any thin protruding parts gets properly fused or they'll break off.

There is a high likelyhood of the bead plate warping if it gets too hot. I don't have a good way of avoiding this, just try to heat just as long as necessary and not more to avoid that too much heat transfers to the plate.

Step 6: Deploy

Find some unsavory individuals who don't mind a little law bending and go to work. We as upstanding citizens obviously didn't take part in this activity ;-)

Location is everything. Pick a spot where people have a chance to see your art, but don't make it too obvious. It will be more fun for people if they feel like they've found something (maybe we failed a bit in that aspect). Traffic lights are really good since it's kind of rare for people to actually look up when they're waiting to cross. I'm also still on the fence on whether we put too many of them in the same spot, it would've probably been better if we'd spread them out a bit over town.

The glue suggested that it needed at least 15 degrees Celsius to harden properly so being in Sweden meant that we had to wait until there was a reasonably warm summer night. The pictures really tell the story here, enjoy!



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    34 Discussions

    I played with these when I was little and made some stuff.
    I have these things still so I can still make some sprites or pictures with them.

    It's a plate with little knobs sticking up for you to place beads on. You can usually buy them at toy- or hobby stores.

    I just ordered a tub of beads and some magnetic tape. I'm living on a military base, so I don't want to do permenant damage or anything. This will be a fun project for after work.

    I work with plenty of gamers, so I'm sure we can get some pretty obscure characters made.

    1 reply

    Ohh smart! Magnetic tape is great, then you can make them into throwies and put them in "impossible" places and adjust them with a pole or something if they end up crooked!

    We had it on the lowest setting, but that might not be the best alternative since the bead plate became warped pretty quickly. So you might want to experiment using a higher setting.

    another good tip is to keep the iron in constant motion to keep the heat more even. also maby more layers of waxed paper could help?

    The main brand is called Perler. There is a Perler bead website where you can order specific colors.

    I've always found these beads in the kids craft area at WalMart or at craft stores. I have a big bucket left over from when my son was little. Now I can put them to some use! I also wanted to mention that they also have glow in the dark beads.

    Could you use magnets on the back? They could be like Throwies, except they couldn't easily be thrown on the side of a building...

    4 replies

    Yeah sure, but then you probably should choose a motive that you won't mind ending up upside down when you throw it.

    Actually, if you only put the magnets at the very top, it'll self right itself, as it should be heavy enough.

    You could use them for shapes instead of characters.

    might want to seal the front to keep it together one good rain storm and its gone