Use a pot of hot water
The water doesn’t have to be boiling, but a hot pot does wonders. The pot and water do a good job of holding heat. You can place a wax sheet over your design and place the pot of water on top. Give it 30 seconds or so, and voila, your beads are fused. Here’s a video demonstrating the technique.
Use a heat gun
You should definitely use a wax sheet over your design if you try to use a heat gun. I’m going to drop a huge disclaimer on this one. Heat guns get hot really quickly and burn things. If you’re careful, this is a good solution for melting your Perler beads.
This heat gun from Chandler on Amazon is designed specifically for crafts. It’s small but effective and affordable. If you had to pick up one tool to melt beads without an iron, I would go with this one.
Use an oven
Technically this does work. You should be able to put your pattern in the oven at 375F for ten minutes. Then you can flip it and repeat the process for the other side.
I will warn you. I’ve heard of people burning their work because they left it unattended. This method works, but do you really want to heat up plastic Perler beads in the same tool you cook stuff in?
Fact check: What about using a dryer?
No. Everything you come across on the internet is not true. Yes, your dryer gets hot. You’re dryer also spins. The spinning will destroy your design. I would say away from this method.
Fact check: What about using melted candle wax?
I came across this one and it’s just messy. Candle wax contains a lot of oil. Yes, you can attempt this one, but be ready to clean up. I would say it’s not as effective as using the pot of water or the heat gun.
Selling your crafts
Have you thought about selling your work? I created a page of tips for getting started on Etsy. Etsy is a great place to start for beginners. Let me know if I need if there are any additional tips that I should add.