A quick and easy activity for St. Patrick's Day is to make some fused bead designs. Perler beads (Hama is the European version) are great for children and adults so this is something that is ideal as a family craft session.
Younger children from age 4 and up can make use of the larger beads and pegboards which are easier for them to work with: these are Biggie Beads in the Perler range and Maxi Beads in the Hama range. My daughter used these larger versions since she was 3 with my supervision and went on to the standard range when she was 7.
These patterns include many Irish themed motifs including a leprechaun's hat, a rainbow, pot of gold, shamrock, cross and Ireland's flag. You can make up these patterns in school, at home as well as scouting and club activities.
1) Leprechaun Hat Bead Pattern
Leprechauns are mythical creatures that are completely enmeshed in Irish folklore and make a great theme for St. Patrick's Day. Irish children and adults dream about catching one and claiming a legendary pot of gold. Be lucky and catch your own little leprechaun by making his hat with your fused beads.
All you need is a small, square pegboard which has at least 10 x 8 pegs on it for this easy pattern. You only need 3 different colors to make this hat: 36 green fused beads, 12 yellow beads and 8 black beads. I find it easier to work from making the outline of the pattern first and then fill it all in. Or start from the bottom and work your way up.
When complete and you've fused the beads together, these cute leprechaun hats can look good as mini decorations or ornaments for St. Patrick's Day. Glue a popsicle stick to the back to turn these into cake or cupcake toppers for the big day. Or thread some string through and hang them up. Leprechauns make a really fun theme for this occasion and kids can make them from paper too.
Multi-color Bead Buckets
If you're just getting started with using these fun fused beads, one of these buckets is an ideal starting point because they contain the beads, the boards, special ironing paper and instructions. This one shown below contains the small pegboards that I've used for the projects on this page.
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2) Irish Flag in Green, White and Orange
This Design is Great to Use for Cupcake Toppers
This is a fairly easy small Irish flag design worked on to a square pegboard which needs to have a minimum of 12 x 11 pegs for this design. The Irish flag has colors of green, white and orange. For the flag pole you could choose gray, black or brown fused beads.
You need: 24 flagpole beads (black, brown, or gray) then 21 green beads, 21 white beads and 20 orange beads.
If you make the flagpole a bit longer, then this Irish flag design would make some ideal and inexpensive cupcake toppers for a St. Paddy's Day party. Just stick them in the top of the cake when an adult has ironed and fused the bead pattern together.
3) Irish Shamrock Perler Bead Design
Three Leaves which Symbolize the Holy Trinity
Common belief holds that Saint Patrick taught about the Holy Trinity with the 3 leaves of the Shamrock plant. He used this plant to illustrate the concept of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit which are all unique but connected at the same time. The Shamrock is always a symbol that has connections with Ireland and the Irish people. It is a beautiful design too. 
You will need a small hexagon pegboard with a minimum of 8 pegs per side to make this Shamrock design from fused beads and two contrasting shades of green. Start with a point on the hexagon board facing dead center. I suggest starting bottom middle with the stem and then branching out to make the outline before filling in the rest. This design is going to suit older kids and adults best.
4) Rainbow Fused Bead Pattern
Somewhere at the end of a rainbow is where leprechauns apparently hide their pots of gold. So rainbows are not only pretty and make nice and colorful motifs for children to create, but they have a meaning for St. Patrick's Day too.
This rainbow is cute and colorful and easy to make using a circle pegboard. You can make bigger or smaller rainbows and include the specific colors that you want. Have children add all the 7 colors from the rainbow rhyme or let them choose their own. Work one color into a semi-circle and then it is easy to start on the next line of color. These rainbow creations would look cute to top off a cake or cupcake.
Get Different Shades of Green for St. Patrick's Day Crafting
For your St. Paddy's Day crafting, I really recommend getting in at least two different shades of green with a lighter and a darker shade. Green is the most likely color that you will run out of with these patterns. As well as the ordinary colors of beads, you can also get a pearl variety with a pretty satin sheen and how about some glow in the dark ones to try.
5) Leprechaun's Pot of Gold Pattern
I'm sure most people would love to get their hands on a leprechaun's pot of gold hidden away at the end of a rainbow. I know I would. You can make your own little pot of gold on a small circle pegboard.
This design is not a simple one for young children so I would recommend that it is a better motif for older kids and adults to complete. You need to start 4 pegs up from the bottom to get the same shaped design pot which has some gold coming out at the top and a little rainbow too.
This would make a real nice kitchen magnet or pinback badge when complete by sticking the necessary fixtures on the back or it could be made as a party favor.
6) A Traditional Shamrock Cross Design
Sometimes the religious aspect of occasions like this get lost in all the fun festivities going on. This is a lovely and traditional Shamrock Irish cross design worked in two shades of green and white fused beads.
You need a small pegboard with a minimum of 14 x 14 pegs on it to make this beautiful and small cross. It is a fairly easy design to make and one where I would start 6 pegs in from the bottom left. Carry on to make the central stem of the cross up to the top and then branch out and add in the horizontal arms.
This is a Fun Craft Activity for All Ages
My daughter got the Melty Beads book for Christmas when she was 3 and it is responsible for getting her (and me) hooked on the craft of fused beads. It comes with a tub of large beads suitable from 3 years and up with supervision and great for tiny fingers to grab hold of. It also has a clear, square pegboard that you place over patterns on each page that young children can follow.
So this craft is something that both young and old people can enjoy. You can use the completed designs to make your own ornaments, jewelry, decorations, embellishments for greeting cards and tags and gifts for party favors. There are lots of ways to enjoy your creations. 
Image Credits: The introductory image belongs to the author, Marie Williams Johnstone. All other images (unless watermarked with the author’s name) are product photos from Amazon.