If you’ve ever looked at Etsy, browsed /r/gaming, or been to any video game or comic book convention, you’ve seen Perler beads turned into sprite art. After all, Perler beads are an ideal canvas for pixel-based crafts. Each bead is a pixel you arrange on a pinboard, then a quick press with an iron fuses them together into a single plastic sprite of Mario, Mega Man, Sonic, or any other character you like from the 8- or 16-bit era.
Until now, they’ve all been unofficial craft projects made out of stock Perler or Perler-like beads in whatever colors come closest to the palette of the video game you want to turn into a piece of plastic art. Nintendo and Perler have come together to make some of those sprite projects official. Perler showed off its upcoming lines of Nintendo-branded bead kits at Toy Fair this weekend.
Currently, Perler’s Nintendo sets span across three classic games: The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES and Super Mario World on the SNES. I would have loved a Link to the Past line as well, but it’s still a pretty excellent trio to start with.
The Super Mario Bros. 3 line is by far Perler’s biggest. Perler will offer the Mario Deluxe Kit with 4,000 beads, a pegboard, and 13 different projects. There’s a Super Mario Bros. 3 pattern pad with 60 different sprite projects, a tub of 5,000 Perler beads in the Mario palette, and ten different individual starter kits of 275 beads, a pegboard, and a sprite design like Mario, Super Star, Boo, Bullet Bill, and Cheep Cheep.