Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY

I came across this idea a few years ago on a crafting website and I have always wanted to try it. It looked super easy and the possibilities are truly only limited to your imagination! And how many beads you have. But MOSTLY your imagination! Check out this bowl, this LAMPSHADE, and this AMAZING bead version of Van Gogh's Starry Night!

Its SO easy! 


- Clear or translucent plastic pony beads. You can find these at Joann's, Walmart, or basically any craft store. 
- Oven-safe ceramic, glass, or metal baking pans. I wouldn't use your good, normally-bake-food-on- these-pans pans. Check out your local thrift store for some old Pyrex! Dollar Tree also has several baking sheets and cake pans to choose from!
- An oven
- A drill or Dremel tool (optional, but SUPER HELPFUL)
- Thread (only if you want to hang them)
- Suction cups (for hanging)


I picked up these beads at JoAnn's...they were pretty cheap PLUS I used a! I got a bag of rainbow colored clear ones and the little bag is an assortment of random shaped beads that I *thought* would look cool mixed in with the clear ones. MORE ON THAT LATER.

These old Pyrex lids worked awesomely! I found them at the thrift store for $.50 a piece!


1) Arrange your beads in your pans. They don't all have to be facing the same direction, just make sure that there are no big want lots of nice bead-y coverage! Also. Make sure you go alllll the way to the edge of the pan with the beads...its okay if they go up the sides some; you'd rather have too much than not enough.

Here is the pan I did with the fun-shaped, assorted beads I picked up. 'IT WILL LOOK SO MOD' I said. 'THIS IS GOING TO BE MY FAVORITE ONE' I said. 

2) Bake your beads on the center rack in your oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Alrighty then. You may have noticed this isn't my oven. You are right...this is my toaster oven and it is OUTSIDE. Why is it outside? Because of BEAD FUMES. When in doubt of it outside. Not a 'well ventilated kitchen', or a 'kitchen with the window open and a box fan while you and your husband wear shirts around your faces', outside. The several of these I have made so far have all been stanky. Major stanky. Especially if you are doing this project with your children or if you are pregnant or apt to fainting, I would highly, HIGHLY recommend, if you can, doing this outside. I'm just going to say outside once more. Outside.

OKAY. Onward!

3) You will want to peek in on your sun catchers every now and then to see how they are progressing. Some of mine have take longer than 20 minutes, some have taken more. Just make sure you don't forget about them! After they are sufficiently melty, carefully pop them out and let them cool for a few minutes in a safe place.

Remember that 'going to be awesome' one I did with the random other beads? Yeah. LOOKS LIKE POOP. Its basically like a rainbow had a case of food poisoning and just tossed its cookies all up in my pan. Several of the beads didn't melt well and the silver ball I thew in there didn't melt at all. Oops. I wasn't too pleased with this one, so I re-did it :)

4) After your pan is no longer super steaming hot, pop it into the freezer for about 10 minutes. This speeds up the cooling process and helps it release from the pan. I don't like putting scalding hot pans straight into the freezer, which is why I let it sit out for a little bit first. 

 5) After it gets all nice and chilly, take it out, and turn your pan over onto the counter. If the sun catcher doesn't come out right away, you might have to pick at the edge a little, but is shouldn't stick the the pan for more than a second or two.

6) Drill a little hole in the top and loop some thread or string through it. A Dremel tool works fantastic here. Especially if you know where your Dremel tool is. If for some STRANGE REASON you have MISPLACED YOURS RECENTLY WHILST MOVING, you could do what some of us might have had to do and dig these super ridiculous looking holes out with an X-acto knife.

7) These suction cups were $1 at Dollar Tree and so far they are doing a magnificent job! Suction cups are usually with the clotheslines and ironing board covers and things of that nature. 

8) Hang them up and BASK IN THE SPARKLY! The big one on the left I did with a pizza pan. Inside. MISTAKE. MISSTAKKEE.

An upclose of the big one...this was the first one I did (inside. MISTAKE) and for some reason these beads got a ton of tiny bubbles in them. I'm not sure why, but I actually kinda like it! You can see the difference in the next picture...

See how glassy and clear the little one looks for the most part? Hmm. I'm not sure why, but such is the experimental nature of crafting!

Trying to find some sunshine!

Like I mentioned before, the flexibility with this is ENDLESS. You can make bowls, spoon rests, night light covers, anything!

If you are super patient (read: if you are not me) you can make a picture or a pattern by sorting out the colors. Play with it! Use shaped cake pans! OR if you have metal cookie cutters, lay a few down on a cookie sheet and fill only the insides of the cookie cutters with beads and melt them that way!

Thanks for stopping by!

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