2 large pieces of heavy cardboard a little larger than the size of your design
Weights (e.g. heavy books)
Another person to assist when flipping an extra large design
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Download the PDF for the Tape Method to keep on hand for future projects. First, a bit of explanation: the Tape Method is an alternative to our standard fusing method, which works well for virtually all projects. Some Perler artists prefer the Tape Method to avoid seams that can sometimes appear between connected pegboards, or the chance of beads springing off the pegboards during fusing of a large project. It may take a bit more time and effort, but you may find that the results are more pleasing.
There are a number of variables in the fusing process that make it more of an art than a science: 1) temperature can be different from iron to iron, 2) some pigments used to color the beads can react to heat a little faster or slower than others, and 3) time, motion, and pressure used. Whichever method you use, take your time, be patient, and work methodically. We like the beads to be well connected but still to have open centers, so we often fuse more thoroughly on the back side, and a little less on the front.
SET-UP: For large projects, we recommend that the fusing be done at the same work area as the creation of the design—it's risky to try to move a large unfused piece. Therefore, be sure your work area is heat-safe. Lay one of the two large pieces of cardboard on the work surface, then assemble the pegboards and bead the design.
APPLYING TAPE: Apply 2" wide standard masking tape CAREFULLY over the beads of your design, overlapping strips by about 1/4" until the design is completely covered. Press the tape well onto the beads to make sure all are adhered. (Tip: use the tape roll itself to help press the tape into place.)
TRIM TAPE: Trim excess tape to about 1/2" or so outside the design.
PIERCING HOLES: Some artists advocate piercing the tape at the center of each bead. In our testing, we did not pierce the holes and experienced no adverse effects.
THE FLIP: Place the second large piece of cardboard over the design so the design and pegboards are sandwiched between the two pieces of cardboard. You’re going to flip the design over so the tape side is down—a second set of hands will be helpful if your design is made on more than 4-6 pegboards. Pick up the "sandwiched" design and turn it over.
GET READY TO FUSE: Carefully lift off the pegboards; the tape will hold the beads in place. Set a household iron to the medium setting and have your ironing paper at hand. An adult should always do the fusing. Keep young children at a distance.
FUSING SIDE #1: When working with a large design on multiple pegboards, you’ll want to fuse an area at a time. Place ironing paper over the section of the design you will fuse. In a circular motion, begin to iron the project. Beads need heat for about 10-20 seconds per side to fuse evenly, but it’s possible additional heating time may be required. With more time, heat and/or pressure, the beads can close up and flatten which would make any assembly of your project more challenging.
As you finish an area, remove the paper and check your fusing—you can do additional spot-fusing as needed. Then, move the ironing paper to the next area you will fuse. When completed, remove the ironing paper, weight the design and let it cool.
FLIP AGAIN: Flip the design the same way you did earlier (minus the pegboards) so that the tape side is now up.
REMOVE THE TAPE: After you have flipped the design, gently remove the tape.
FUSING SIDE #2: Repeat the fusing as above. When finished, weight the design and let it cool. Check again to make sure your project is securely fused.