If you are trying to melt perler beads but can’t use an iron, there are a few different methods that you can try. Using an iron is probably the easiest method but if you do not have an iron, or if you are trying to create a design that wouldn’t work with an iron, try these other methods.

When you are testing out different ways to melt perler beads, it’s a good idea to make a small sample design to use when you try a different method for the first time.

That way, you can figure out how to use that method before using it on your actual design and you won’t risk accidentally ruining it.

1 – Use a Hot Pan

Using a hot pan to melt perler beads is the most similar method to using an iron. While a pan might not be the first thing that you think of when you are trying to substitute for an iron, the actual method isn’t that different from early models of irons.

Before electricity, people would use metal irons (shaped much the same as the electric-powered irons that we have today) heated up over a hot stove. While technology has advanced the iron, you can still use this basic idea to substitute for an electric iron.

To use this method, you will have to keep your stove heated on about a medium heat. This is because as you are using your hot pan as an iron, it will eventually lose heat and you will have to periodically set it back on the stovetop to heat up again.

Let your pan sit on the stove for a few minutes, until it gets hot. Leave the stove on medium heat. Cover your perler bead design in parchment paper and place the hot pan over it, making sure not to press down and flatten the beads.

Depending on the heat of your pan and the size of your perler bead design, you might have to take the pan back to the stove to heat it up again before you are done with melting one side of the design together.

This should take about the same time to work as an iron would, assuming that you have it set to the right heat. Once you are done with the first side, flip the design to the other side and repeat the process.

2 – Use a Lighter

This method will work best if you have an extra-long lighter. This way, you are not risking getting your fingers or clothing burned, as it would be harder to control the flame of a smaller lighter.

To get started, make sure you cover your design with parchment paper, just as you would if you were going to be using a regular electric iron.

Then, all you have to do is turn on the lighter and put the flame close to the perler bead design. Keep the flame a little bit above the design, not letting the actual flame touch the parchment paper.

This will help the design melt more evenly and will keep the flame from burning the paper or the beads.

Make sure that you are slowly moving the lighter around the entire design so that it heats the surface of the perler bead design evenly.

This can be difficult to do and you might want to check the design’s progress by lifting the paper halfway through to see where you need to focus more heat on. Once the first side is evenly melted, flip the perler bead design to the other side and repeat this same process.

3 – Use a Candle

This method is fairly easy in theory but will take some fiddling to actually get right. It’s similar to using a lighter, except this time the flame will be stationary and you will instead be moving the perler bead design over the flame.

There are two good ways to do this. In both ways, it’s best to use small unscented tealight candles. If you can’t use tealight candles, other candles should work fine but might be more difficult to use.

In the first method, place the tea light candle on a plate or a dish. Set your perler bead design on a metal heat-proof surface, such as a baking sheet. Place the parchment paper under the design instead of over it, as the candle will be heating it from below.

Hold the tray over the candle and move it around so that all of the perler beads get heated evenly. It’s a good idea to wear gloves or oven mitts so your hands don’t get burnt.

You could also use several candles and place a tray with the perler beads above them. Put the tealight candles in holders that have other air pockets so the flame does not go out, similar to these.

This way, you do not have to be constantly moving the tray and it’s a great way to use a candle to melt a larger amount of perler beads.

4 – Use the Oven

Preheat the oven to a low temperature, or around 300 degrees. This might take longer to sufficiently melt the perler beads but if you set the oven to a higher temperature, you risk the beads running together.

Place your design on a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper underneath it. Make sure that you stay by the oven and watch its progress. You want the beads to stick together but not to melt completely.

It can be easy to lose track of how long they have been in the oven so if you want to make sure that your design doesn’t get burned or ruined, you should sit by the oven so you can keep an eye on it.

In this method, you do not necessarily need to flip the design over to do the other side but you can if both sides do not look evenly flat. Just make sure that you take your beads out halfway through to flip them so they don’t overheat.


I have a bachelor's degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I'm home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.

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