Well I may be on a DIY wall decor kick, but I’ve just been having so many ideas! At one of my recent IKEA visits, I bought this container of Hama beads (or Perler beads, as some people call them), with no plan whatsoever as to what I was going to do with them. I saw a ton of super cute stuff on Pinterest (as I’m sure you saw me pin if you follow me… which you should ;)) but nothing that really spoke to me.
Then it popped into my head one day that I’ve seen incredible string art using beads and why couldn’t I do the same thing with the Hama beads?! So I worked it out in my head how I thought I could do it, and got my supplies together. Here’s what I got.
- Solid wood frame (Amazon)
- Hemp Cord (cut into strands)
- IKEA Hama Beads
- Template (more on that below)
I started by creating a template. I used Adobe Illustrator to lay it out, knowing that I wanted to fill an 8×10 frame. I created a grid knowing that each bead is about a 5mm square, and then filled in the colors. I think I probably could of done this analog-style using graph paper, which may be easier if you want to do this with your own design and you aren’t comfortable using the same software. OR! You can download the template I made right here! I printed it out and checked it against my frame and realized I had to cut a couple rows on each side since it would really need to go edge to edge the way a photo would.
Next, I separated out the colors I needed from the mix. This part was tedious for sure, but you could certainly skip this step by purchasing pre-separated colors that you want! Then I had to figure out how I wanted to attach the pieces of cord. I thought about nailing each piece down or tying them to nails, or even using hot glue, but ended up deciding to drill holes on each side of the frame to thread them through.
I divided the space of the opening by how many columns were in my template (after trimming it down). Then I marked then with a fine tip Sharpie and used a 5/16 drill bit to drill the holes. I used a scrap piece of wood behind the frame while I was drilling to minimize splitting.
After the holes were drilled, I threaded each piece of hemp cord through a hole on one side and relied knots. Side note, I cut my pieces at 14 inches, but I would DEFINITELY advise going longer than that. 16 or 18 inches would have been better because it was difficult to get some of them tied off when I was finished. I also would have liked the look of the cord ends showing on BOTH side vs just one. But alas! You can luckily avoid that!
Then began the (again a little tedious but super simple) task of stringing the beads. I went one column at a time and counted the colors from the bottom up and when I finished a column, I would mark it off on my template so I never lost my place. Another thing I learned during this step was to use the old tape on the end of a shoe lace trick. By tightly wrapping a small piece of tape around the end of the cord pieces, it made it much easier to sting the beads, prevented fraying as I went, and helped get them through the drilled hole on the other side when I finished each one.
I realized after finishing two pieces that I couldn’t get them tied very tight at the end and didn’t want the strands to look all loosely goosey. So I ended up just putting a tiny bead of hot glue on the inside of the frame at the hole after threading it through, and pulling the string tight until it dried (about 10ish seconds if I ask blew on it). After they were all beaded, threaded through the second holes, and glued, I finished by tying each strand in a knot (much easier to get right once glued) and trimmed the little bit of excess cord.
So, yes. I did end up needing a few more supplies than expected during the process. Those were…
- Hot glue gun & stick
- Drill & 5/16 Drill Bit
- Scotch Tape
And that’s it! It’s a pretty simple process, but does take some patience. I personally think it was so worth it though! I love the boho yet bright, colorful vibe it has. Do you agree?!