Like video game bead (pixel) art? Want to see even more AND find out how to do it?

A while back, put up a story featuring "Awesome Pixel Art." While I’m not questioning the awesomeness of what was featured, it was only a very small portion of the video game bead art community, and didn’t really give any further info.

Bead art isn’t an unknown craft at all; you can get the materials at any major craft store, and even places like Toys R Us. Using Perler and Hama beads (and obviously a board), artists painstakingly paint pictures one bead at a time. In the case of game bead art, each bead represents a pixel (or sometimes four beads per pixel to blow up sprites).

The main hub of the dedicated bead-sprite crowd congregates at The Bead Sprite Forums, where users can ask for advice, give tips on materials to use, and share their best and not-so-good work with one another. If you’re like me, you’ll take one look at any piece of video game bead art and go, "Man, I want to do that!" but then never have the patience or time to pull it off. Fortunately for us, TBSF has no shortage of work-related threads showcasing some amazing video game-based bead art which can keep you occupied for hours. (Or less if you don’t actually like looking closely at pictures.) Below are some of my choices for the best works featured on the site, but there are plenty more which deserve just as much recognition.

(If you want some tips on how to make your own and hate looking at cool things, skip to the end.)


Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Darlaa. Hardcover book left in image for scale.
Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles
Another TMNT work by Darlaa
Tiamat (FF1) by Silver
Raving Rabbids
Raving Rabbids by Darlaa
Cammy by Oobgarm
Little Mac
Little Mac by zaghrenaut
Phantom Ganon
Phantom Ganon by Darlaa
Master D
Exploding Master D (aka Hitler) (Bionic Commando) by zaghrenaut
Arcanine by Darlaa
Duck Hunt
Duck Hunt
Work-in-progress Garurumon by Silver
Fox McCloud
Fox by Tony Boi
Laharl (Disgaea) by zaghrenaut
Pat Morita
Pat Morita (RIP) by nosmas (I know it’s not a game one, but come on, that’s awesome and Pat Morita rocks)

Finally, for those who ARE interested in the process, Tony Boi gives a nice image detailing several phases of his construction of Venusaur and some smaller sprites.


How To make video game bead art

If you liked any of these, please check out the rest of the Bead-Sprite Forums. It’s an amazing craft, and unfortunately it’s not very well known. If you like any of these images, feel free to hotlink or repost. Just don’t put any watermarks on them; it’s their work, not yours.

Want to try your own hand at it? Here’s some simple steps. Obviously experts know more than I do, and you can get way more help at the BS Forums.

1) Buy beads. Perler or Hama beads are the common ones, and can be gotten very cheap on eBay. For starters, try buying the 11,000 bead bucket with a bunch of random colors.

2) Buy a bead board (or two…or three…). You need these to put the beads on them. A large board with the other essential tools (tweezers, paper) and the 11,000 bead bucket runs less than $20 at any craft store in the US, and is even cheaper online.

3) Blow up a video game image until you see the pixels. Recreate those pixels using beads. This is the hard part, since you need to get the colors looking good and will likely have less to work with on complicated pieces. Here’s a couple of examples of images I blew up to see the pixels. (1, 2, 3) You may want to start off easy with NES Mario or a 1-up mushroom, though.

4) Iron it solid. Just like in day camp, except if you mess up you’ve just wasted countless hours. Don’t forget the wax paper, or your beads will stick to the iron and blacken.

5) Pray and hope you ironed it well and the beads all stick.

6) Take a picture and show off for the Internet, and post it below in the comments.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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