Making color matched Perler bead art

You may remember Perler beads from first or second grade; these small plastic beads are placed into a peg board and then ironed to produce a solid multicolored piece of plastic. Recently, Perler beads have seen somewhat of a revival due to a few people creating 8 and 16-bit video game sprites in plastic, but there’s still the enormous effort of color matching beads to make a passable Sonic or Mega Man.

[Jon Wilson] sent in an awesome bead pattern generator that takes those color images of video game sprites – and just about any other picture –  and translates them into Perler bead patterns. One awesome feature is color matching; [Jon] found the RGB values of every color of Perler beads and his program chooses the closest match from the original image.

[Jon] started on a GUI app for his bead pattern generator, but because his kids aren’t into beads anymore the GUI is still unfinished. There is a command line Python script that takes an image and shoots out a PDF of the bead pattern, which should be more than enough for all but the most complicated design.

Comments

  1. ematson5897 says:

    I had an idea this morning. Could these be melted down to use for 3d printing? They’re dirt cheap and would provide a limitless supply of colors

  2. Jason says:

    This is a nice program, but there is a nice option already available http://dolkow.se/perler/

    It has palettes from the other major manufacturers of fuse-beads. Additionally, you can limit your palette to the colors you have on hand, not just to a single palette.

    Kudos to Jon Wilson, his program looks nice and I will try it out tonight.

  3. Simon says:

    In an earlier life as an assistant at university I had the pleasure to supervise two students working on their diploma thesis.

    They developed a program for generating mosaic patterns with lego bricks as well as the “ministeck” system which apparently is popular in germany.

    It has some advanced options, e.g. for dithering and it shouldn’t be too hard to use it for these pearls as well (you might need to add the custom color palettes).

    If you’re curious have a look at http://www.pictobrick.de/en/

    Bye,
    Simon

  4. charliex says:

    psst, trans am and cookie…

    also rare

  5. Hirudinea says:

    Pick and place robot, just saying.

  6. Coda says:

    I only clicked because of the Ultimate logo. Now I need to go and find my ZX Spectrum.

  7. Bree says:

    but what program is it? the one that was mentioned in the comments doesn’t work for me. (I just don’t like it). Whats the program that you use?

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