Does anyone else remember playing with perler beads as children? I certainly do! My sisters and I had this large container full of them, and we would bring them out and make stars, flowers, and create our own designs. I had completely forgotten about them until my husband brought this idea to my attention a few years ago.
When we first moved back to Japan, I was thinking about all of these DIY home decorating projects I wanted to work on. Jhonny, who can also be quite crafty, excitedly showed me pictures of 8 bit coasters made out of perler beads. “WE HAVE TO DO THIS,” he exclaimed proudly. At first, I laughed because I recognized them as my childhood craft! But he was so excited, that I thought, “Sure, why not?”
This was one of the first things we did when we got our own place in D.C. Our first set of coasters were characters from old video games: we had Mega Man, Mario, Link, and the “?” Cube from Mario, as well as a couple Pokeballs. Typically, I work on crafts while he plays video games or grades papers. It was so nice to have a night where we sat down and worked together on a project. We had so much fun planning everything out, creating it, then getting to see right away the fruits of our efforts.
Fast forward three years, and we still have the coasters! However, a few of the beads have fallen off, and because of the holes in the beads, any condensation on glasses seeps right through to the table (which kinda negates the purpose of having a coaster). So, we decided to make some new coasters, but this time reinforce the bottom to make them sturdier and hopefully prevent any leaks.
This time, we gave ourselves more of a challenge by not working on characters that were designed to be 8-bit. We also decided to make these coasters a bit more personal to us.
The day after we first started dating, I sat Jhonny down for a serious talk – ya know, like a normal person does AFTER ONE DATE. I took a deep breath… then said, “If this is going to work, there is something you need to do.” He sat there, probably totally freaked out about what the hell I was going to say as I paused for dramatic effect. “If we are going to continue whatever this is at this point, you are going to need to watch Doctor Who,” then I sat down with a somber silence knowing what a dramatic setback this could be.
SUCCESS! I ran over to grab my laptop, so that we could start watching IMMEDIATELY.
I stopped. Frozen. There’s always a but.
“You need to watch anime.”
Cue the sound of glass crashing. Internal Monologue: Only weirdos watch anime. He must be a weirdo. But, he’s super nice and doesn’t seem that strange. Also, he kinda looks like David Tennant. I could have my very own 10th Doctor. We could go for runs, and I could pretend that we are running from Daleks or something. I’m definitely into that. *Gulp*
“Okay, fine. I’ll watch anime if you watch Doctor Who.”
That night we watched a few episodes of Doctor Who, and he was totally hooked. A few nights later, Jhonny introduced me to my first anime series: Naruto. One episode in, and my mind about anime completely changed. I LOVED IT. Since then, we’ve watched countless other anime series together. While we love them all, nothing will be as special to me (or us) as Naruto.
So – back to the topic at hand. What was I talking about again?
We decided to make 8-bit Naruto and Doctor Who coasters, as they have been something that always brings us together. We continue to watch every Doctor Who episode together, as well as different anime series. Sure there are other series we watch together, but nothing else brings me as much comfort as when we watch these. It continues to take us back to those first few weeks of getting to know each other, and it’s nice to have a tradition that has been there since the very beginning.
We cannot take credit for the Doctor Who designs. Those designs were the results of an epic Google/Pinterest search. And when I say “epic” I mean we typed “8 bit Doctor Who coasters” into the search bars. However, we did create the designs for the Naruto coasters by ourselves by looking at different artwork for Chibi Naruto/Sakura/Sasuke/Kakashi. (Sasuke is not shown here because we are still waiting for our pack of dark grey perler beads – to fill in his hair – to arrive.)
This time, the coasters were reinforced on the bottom with a square piece of cork we found on Amazon. After ironing the beads together to solidify the design, we attached each one to a cork square by using a super adhesive glue (which you can find at any craft store). They bend slighty, but I don’t really mind it as long as they are sturdy and I’m not cleaning up broke bits in a few months.
So far, they are perfect! I cannot wait to whip these out at our next board game night and show them off to our friends. I am curious to see how these hold up over the next few months. I’m a bit concerned that any condensation that seeps through to the bottom might loosen up the glue over time. If that happens, I will be sure to post an update at the bottom.
Kids keep leaving water rings on that nice wooden table? They will never again forget to use a coaster if they get to pick out their own design and make it themselves! This is a fun project to work on with your significant other or with kids. It allows everyone to add their own personal touch to your home that they can show off with pride.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane! Tag me on Instagram if you decide to make your own coasters.
Until next time,