Craft these adorable napkin rings using these free Thanksgiving fuse bead templates. If you prefer something more neutral, try these leather napkin rings instaed. This post contains affiliate links.
Get ready because we’re about to combine two of my favorite things – Thanksgiving and fuse beads! These Thanksgiving fuse bead templates take things to the next level.
If you’re not already familiar with fuse beads – otherwise known as Perler beads or Hama beads, you’re in for a real treat. And if you are already into fuse beads, you probably never thought of using them with this twist – read on!
I love Thanksgiving because really, everyone can find something to be thankful for, and what could be more positive and enriching than recognizing this and expressing it? Gratitude is an extremely healthy thing, and we’d do well to spend more than one season focusing on it.
In this craft, you’ll be creating fall-themed napkin rings that will make a great accent on your Thanksgiving table – or someone else’s. These would make a great host/hostess gift if you’re joining someone else’s feast, or a perfect table decor if you’re the one serving.
And if you’re not having a feast this year, you can use them any time to take your table setting to the next level. The designs inspired by fall leaves, pumpkins, and corn can easily complement any other seasonal decor. You can make some of each design, or if you have a favorite you can just copy that one multiple times to make a full set.
Now, on to fuse beads. Whether following a pattern or making up their own, fuse beads can keep kids busy for hours. They love the way the little pieces come together to make intricate designs. \
The supplies aren’t very expensive, especially compared to the amount of time and activity you get out of them, so this is a really easy hobby to try out. While there are very economical huge assortments of beads available, for this craft you might want to look for packages of specific colors since you’ll be using a lot of the same few colors. Of course, you can also decide to vary your colors beyond what’s used here.
Fuse beads are amazing for fine-motor exercise. The beads are very small so this is a good pick for older kids or those with more refined skills. You can either use fingers or a tweezer to position the beads – both will engage different types of grasping and pincer grip skills. My kids actually prefer to use some of each; this helps them not to get tired too quickly.
Copying a pattern with the beads, like you’ll do for this craft, adds another level of hand-eye coordination and working memory practice. For those who have difficulty copying from one place to another, you can use transparent bead trays and lay it directly on top of the pattern so copying is not needed. Just make sure to print the Thanksgiving fuse bead templates at 100% scale.
The final steps of this project require you to apply heat and then reshape the beads while still very hot, so if you have kids making the pattern you’ll want to engage a grownup to finish it off – I recommend using heat-resistent gloves for this!
I have written the directions according to what usually works for fuse beads, but depending on the brand of beads you’re using, it might come with different recommendations for ironing. Check the package your beads came in to see if their instructions are different. They’ll all be fairly similar but may require slightly different times or levels of heat for the best results.
And here we go – let’s make napkin rings from this Thanksgiving fuse bead template!
How to Assemble the Thanksgiving Fuse Bead Templates
- Fuse bead peg board (at least 29×29 pegs; about 5.7” square)
- Fuse beads (5mm – standard size) in fall colors
- Fuse bead paper or parchment paper
- Iron (I keep a mini one dedicated for crafting)
- Small drinking glass or other heat-safe cylinder
- Template – download and print at the end of this post.
- Optional: needle and thread
Making the napkin rings
1. Print the template. If you’re planning to place your bead tray directly onto the pattern, make sure to print it at 100% scale and print a copy for each person doing the craft.
Optional but recommended: If you’re using an assorted collection of beads, sort out a bunch of yellow, orange, red, brown, and green beads.
2. Using the dots on the template as a guide, copy the design by placing beads onto the little pegs. You can copy by matching the pattern, or you can lay your tray on top of the pattern sheet and place the beads directly on top of each colored dot as shown.
3. When all the beads are laid out, carefully cover them with a piece of fuse bead or parchment paper. It is helpful to cut the paper down to a size just a little larger than the peg board.
Preheat the iron to a medium setting, or the level indicated by the instructions on your bead package.
4. Place the iron carefully on top of the paper. Apply very gentle pressure while moving it in small circles to heat the entire project evenly. Do this for 30 seconds OR as indicated by the instructions on your bead package.
5. Gently lift a corner of the paper. Observe if the tops of the beads have become stuck together. If they seem loose, put down the paper and repeat the ironing for another 10 seconds, and check again.
When the tops of the beads seem to be stuck together, turn the project upside down and carefully lift off the peg board.
6. Cover the exposed side of the pattern with another sheet of the paper. Iron it the same way you did the first side. When done, the beads should be firmly fused together.
7. Immediately, while the beads are still hot and soft, keep them between the sheets of paper and wrap it around a glass so that the designs form three bands around the glass. Hold it in place until the shape is set.
8. Gently peel off the paper.
At this point, you can leave the napkin rings as they are, or sew the ends together. If you wish to sew them together, use a needle to widen the holes in the last row at each end of the design (this will be easier while it is still warm). When it finishes cooling, use a strong thread to sew the ends together.
Download the Thanksgiving Fuse Bead Template
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