I used to love designing with my set of perler beads as a kid. Only thing was: afterwards it got broken up, and put away, after all that hard work! I never knew one can melt it together to keep your design! This time I knew better, and we made monogram key rings, one can keep!
I made the above one for my son. At 2.5 years, he will not be able to do this himself. My daughter (5yrs) started her own one, but it is quite hard, so I finished it off. It is great for fine motor skills though! (She is the type of child that cannot sit still for long, so she got bored rather quickly.)
One uses wax paper, place it over the design and then iron carefully(adult only) over it. I ironed it twice, because the beads did not melt properly the first time and broke easily. (After the second time it was stronger.) You can see right side melted better:
With my daughters one, we made the mistake of not working in reverse, but it does not matter to her, because she liked the melted look better and chose it to be the front. It went on her school bag together with a Hello Kitty one.
It was quite fun, but hard for little fingers. I enjoyed it more than the kids, I think, lol! Perhaps we will try again when they are both a bit older. This makes a great back-to-school craft for elementary kids though!
Another great back-to-school craft to try: Flower Pencil Topper! Check it out!