Pixel art – Making a sprite into a lump of plastic

pixel_artWith a little one of the way and being a massive geek, the wife and I decided that the little one’s room should have a bit of geeky decoration.

What could be more geeky than 2D 16-Bit (and some 8-bit) sprites made from beads? I still love my 16-bit and 8-bit consoles, and the characters from the games I loved so dearly obviously have a special place in my heart. So, given that I’d seen pictures of these creations all over the web recently and being the kind of person that likes to have a go and making anything I can, we gave it a shot.

Firstly, let me say – this is easy. In terms of arts and crafts, this is one of the most simple things you can do.  Secondly, it’s cheap. For example:

Equipment needed

  • Pot of Hama (or equivelent) beads. 10,000 for £5 here. However the colours are very basic. I’d recommend getting some other shades too direct from the supplier, if you plan to do anything with the correct colour palette.
  • 4 peg boards. £5.50 for 4.
  • Ironing paper. £2 for 15 sheets.
  • An iron. You should own one of these unless you like creased clothing. If you don’t own one, grab one for £5 from Amazon you lazy wretch.

That’s enough beads, boards and paper for you to make 30+ of the white and green mushrooms above. That’s all for less than £15.

Then it’s just a matter of finding a sprite you wish to recreate, mapping it to a grid to save you going insane, and pegging it out line by line. Once you’re done, cover the beads with the ironing paper and smoosh with a hot iron until the paper is trasnparent. Then your beads are melted and can be safely pulled from the peg board and paper.

The Link sprite above (which is woefully colour matched due to a bead crisis) took around 10 minutes from start to finish. I could have even melted the beads more to remove the ‘holes’, however that was a first attempt. We’ll see what we can do with some practice.

So, give it a shot, it’s a particulary relaxing pass time and allows you to harness that inner geek!



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