A Mobile from Melted Plastic Bead Suncatchers

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Make a Melted Bead Suncatcher Mobile We have made several rounds of the melted plastic bead suncatchers since first posting about them and Maia wants to do even more!

This has been such a fun and popular crafty activity in our house.

A good friend is about to have a baby so we decided to take advantage of our current melted bead suncatcher craze to make a baby mobile out of them —one that is colorful and catches the light beautifully.

Here’s how we did it…

A Mobile from Melted Plastic Bead Suncatchers


Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY Baby Mobile

To begin, we arranged our pony beads into the suncatcher shapes.

This time, in addition to the cake pan and muffin tin suncatchers that we’ve done before, we tried some metal cookie cutters for fun shapes. As before we used translucent pony beads (the opaque ones don’t work for suncatchers).

I wasn’t sure the cookie cutter idea would work —I half thought that all the plastic would melt out of the bottom —but really wanted to give it a try. They worked, though! There was a tiny bit of leakage, but not too much. Maia picked out the cookie cutters she wanted to use and I set them on a baking dish to provide a bottom for the cookie cutters.

Maia was in charge of the cookie cutters and the cake pan suncatcher (above). She mixed all the beads together this time rather than trying for specific colors or patterns.

Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY Baby Mobile

Daphne proudly made the little, round muffin tin suncatchers.

(She piled the beads in generously; I took a few out when she wasn’t looking to keep it to a single layer. I was worried that they wouldn’t melt readily with too many.)

Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY Baby Mobile

Then, we melted the beads outside on the gas grill.

Once we had our pony beads arranged in a single layer in baking dishes and metal cookie cutters, Harry melted them for us on the grill. It took us about 10 minutes last time we did this (with just one pan), but this time we put all three dishes on the grill at once and it not only took longer, but we had to keep rotating them since the outer edges didn’t melt nearly as quickly.

So, if you melt your suncatchers on the grill, learn from our mistake and just do one or two pans at a time and get them as close to the center of the grill as possible.

Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY Baby Mobile

Next, we removed the new suncatchers from their molds and drilled holes.

After the melted beads cooled, they popped out of the muffin tin and cake pan as easily as before. The cookie cutter shapes did not pop out as easily (and two of them never came out).

Harry drilled holes in them as he did with the first round of melted bead suncatchers. Each small shape got one hole and the cake pan suncatcher got five holes around the perimeter and one in the center.

Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY Baby Mobile

Finally, we assembled the baby mobile.

The idea for the baby mobile was to use the big cake pan suncatcher as the top and hang all the little shapes from it. After I struggled with knots coming undone, Harry called me knot-challenged (hmmph!) and took over the assembly himself. He hung the top part from the bedroom ceiling and worked from there. It came together beautifully!

Maia is looking at it from a baby’s perspective (above).

(Sorry the lighting’s wonky in this photo, by the way; I forgot to change the while balance setting when moving away from natural light. I’m still learning how to use my camera!)

Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY Baby Mobile

The mobile is really lovely hanging in the light, though! I hope that this new baby will be able to look up at it in a sunny window spot and enjoy the sunlight shining through the colorful melted beads.

Melted Bead Suncatcher DIY Baby Mobile

We presented the suncatcher mobile to our friend over the weekend and are waiting to hear about new baby news any day now.

If you’re looking for more melted bead suncatcher ideas, here are my melted bead suncatcher posts so far:

This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Ann says

    Super! I wanted to try after your first post but was leary of the smell in the kitchen but on the grill is such a great idea. Will try this weekend.

  2. Dena says

    These come out so attractive, lots of natural light able to come through! I really need to try this one, just have to find a way to do this outside! Maybe I can borrow my mom’s toaster oven? That should work, right?
    BTW, bought a set of sharpies and doing the contact paper stickers today!

  3. says

    Wonderful!! Love your blog and am always coming and seeing what lovely projects you are doing so I can do them with my daughter while my son naps. I just rarely get the chance to leave a comment. But you are much appreciated :-) Thank you.

  4. says

    We made a whole bunch of there sun catchers, but we placed a metal rivet in each muffin tin before baking. That way we didn’t have to drill holes. See how they looked at whatdidudo2day.blogspot.com

  5. says

    Awesome! So glad you’re trying the contact paper stickers! Yes, I think a toaster oven should work. If you try it, will you let me know how it went?

  6. Liisa says

    Love this! Can’t wait to try it…we only have a charcoal grill, will let you know if there are any quirks with that. Thank you!

  7. Jane says

    This craft looks SOOO cool!
    I just wanted to make sure that someone mentioned that melting plastic can be dangerous (as certainly bad stuff will off-gas especially at high temperatures). The grill idea sounds like a good choice as it will be outside! I would not do this inside especially around kids. I would also mention that small birds are particularly susceptible to plastic fumes and it will kill them. Sorry to be safety lady… but just wanted to remind folks.

  8. Laura says

    I literally, just made this exact thing for my sister’s birthday on June 30! HA! I like that you used a large melted bead shape to hang everything from! Very cool!

  9. Shelly says

    I want to do this! Just one question (maybe two) 1. What setting was the gas grill set at? 2. Did you close the lid of the grill?
    This is my first time to your blog and I LOVE it! Thanks so much!

  10. Vanessa Willis says

    We made these in our kitchen this afternoon. The smell wasn’t terrible until I opened the oven to check on them. Thanks for a fun idea.

  11. Jennifer says

    I did this with my daughter and to avoid the smell we used roaster ovens and plugged them in outside on the porch!

  12. says

    We made these in our toaster oven on our front porch this afternoon–worked great! 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. We used metal tart pans to hold the beads. Thanks so much for the idea–the kids (and I) loved it!

  13. Dana says

    I am in the process of melting the sun catchers my kids put together in the muffin pans as I type this. I hope they come out as beautifully as yours did! We will be presenting them to the Grandmas for Christmas this year…and if they go over well, this might just become an annual gift, perhaps add more sun catchers to the first every year!

  14. Beth says

    I posted on the other blog entry, but I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to learn from my experience:
    I did these with the kids and we put them out on the grill. The grill was not very hot (less than 300 degrees). Honestly, I got started doing something else….but it was not that long. WATCH YOUR GRILL! The next thing I knew there was black smoke billowing and all of the plastic had “vaporized” and the pan was on fire. There is plastic all over the inside of the grill.
    I’m sure it would be fine if you just paid attention (which I did not – DUH!). But I just wanted to offer up my story as what *not* to do!

  15. Amber says

    I bet putting a smallish metal grommet at the place where you which to hang it before melting would make a nice easy spot to hang it with

  16. Lori says

    I made a few of these over the last couple of weeks and used my grill and they turned out perfect. Thank you for this wonderful idea! They look like glass suncatchers and look great in my windows.

  17. Risley5 says

    Erin, did you try it with the Pam Spray or Crisco? If so… Did it help the cookie cutters?

  18. Tammy says

    Can you use aluminum foil? I was thinking this would make great bracelets and earring designs!

  19. Lynley says

    My daughter wanted to buy a sun catcher at school that looked like these. I am so doing this with her!!!

  20. Tia Jackson says

    These are going to make wonderful Mother’s Day gifts for my class, I so glad I found your blog :)

  21. Linette says

    Pam worked great! Just coat the inside of the cookie cutter and the top of a cookie sheet. Suncatchers popped right out. We did it on a charcoal grill, and it took forever, but it worked perfectly. I threw in some of the glow in the dark pony beads and love the way they glow at night. You could make a star mobile for a toddler, or even the planets, and I bet they would love to look at it during bedtime.

  22. lindsay says

    i have these smaller plastic beads i was wonderin if i could use those…i kno id need a ton to fill but thats what i got a ton been sittin in my closet for yrs…i wish i could show a pic so ud kno which ones i was refering

  23. Colleen Arnold says

    My grandkids are making sun catchers right now. We’ve already baked 2 big ones in the oven & they are awesome. We turned the vent fan on high & opened all the windows & turned on all the ceiling fans. We have NO smell in the house!!!!!! YEA!!! I have Grandma Camp every year. The kids are 14, 12, 9 & 7. It’s so much fun to have them without their parents!! We stay up till 11pm or so & hit the ground running at 7:30. It’s the best week of the year!!

  24. Gina says

    Awesome idea! I was actually going to try metal buttons. Have a counter top oven so plan on using that outside

  25. Gina says

    I was wondering the same thing but kinda like the metal on them make christmas ornaments

  26. says

  27. Brenda says

    These have been fun to make and get lots of positive responses to them. I use a counter top convection oven set up out doors. If it does not turn out like I want then I melt them again using a few more beads.
    Two questions:
    1) Is there a way to not get small bubbles in the sun catchers?
    2) Have made several bowls by spraying pam into the bowl I am using so it will hold in place while melting. Can be used as colorful nut and candy bowls. My question is has anyone tried putting these in the dishwasher to clean?
    Thanks for sharing the fun!!

  28. Melanie says

    I am so excited to do this. I’m having a sleep over party for my granddaughters birthday, and this is a project we are going to try. I really like the shape idea any thoughts on how it might work better?

  29. Robyn says

    Love this! I teach high school teen parents and I’m going to let them make this for their baby!

  30. Roxie says

    so, a few things (I apologize if they have already been mentioned here) this is what I quickly learned after reading every blog and trying this once thus far:
    They DO NOT ‘stick’ to your pan, cookie cutters, foil etc…
    yes, it takes a lil prying to get it out of the cookie cutter, so use sturdy ones if u hav em. So don’t use cooking spray! Theres no need, and wouldn’t it discolor the plastic? ehf.
    note:OVER cooking the plastic (hard2do if ur watching them) will start2leave a burnt color on ur shape. This happened to 1, i think it was right over the heating element.
    I have read some pages that state that a residue or some sort of discolor was left on their pan…
    Mine didn’t do that…perhaps their oven was too hot?
    So IMO- go to the dollar store and spend $5 on a huge TOTALLY FLAT from end2end&NOT ROUND CORNERS cookie sheet that is just for this, because lets face it your gonna make a ton of this stuff. Also I think the LIGHTER color pans r better. It maybe in my head. either way they r cheaper.
    I personally prefer my GLASS pans! IF there is any plastic left behind, I can flick it off w/my nail and NOTHING is left for my nxt meal chemical or otherwise. Plus I can observe the whole process better in glass.
    I HATE using the foil! it leaves one side BUMPY and I thought perhaps it would b cool for my xmas tree ornaments to have texture, no it still didnt look good. PUT THE SHAPE BACK IN A FLAT PAN (again glass is great4 this) and RE-melt it. the other side will smooth out, it wont loose shape, at most it will just ‘soften’ your edges as long as u dont 4get& over. cook it. I found that I can do multiples just spaced a lil bit apart and smooth them all at once in the same pan…really simple. *Melt shapes together? hmmm…I feel a sun catcher collage coming on!
    Only use the foil if your scared u MAY get a residue in your nice NON stick pan…another theory I have is maybe the non stick (and high temps?) r more likely to have the residue issue that few had…anyway, no foil it sux. :)
    MAKE A BOWL/sculpture you’ve seen this-Make the huge disc, then put it on a glass or metal bowl and let it make a bowl shape! Look these up, I have no time for instruction. They r SUPER COOL!
    YOU can USE GLITTER BEADS and GLOW IN THE DARK etc!!! I am going to try ADDING just GLITTER halfway through the melting! I think it will work well :) and be as sparkly as I like.
    I am doing a baby mobile also, But using a angle food cake (what’s that called ‘bunt’?) lol so there is a whole in middle (more visually interesting) of disc that shapes hang from, ALSO going2incorporate ‘sparkle’ and glow in dark beads(they come in colors too so not 2take from ur daytime appearance)baby will love this!!
    On baby mobile: note NOT to make it too thin, must be sturdy n not brittle- make sure your string/ribbon/etc securing system is never gonna give out and land on said child…put some thought in2 this hanging process. Perhaps u would need 2 dremmel any sharp edge? Or make sure its not hung within reach… remember, maybe u can ‘soften’ your edges 2 sum extent by remelting w/o form.
    *if u have sharp edges from cookie cutter seepage, this wont work for them, i would break them off FIRST, them try remelting if u don’t have a tool to round them out.
    *wrap cutters in ‘smooth’ foil so they don’t seep, then re-melt to fix the foil texture issue.
    IF you stand the beads ON THEIR SIDE and still tightly pack them, u get a THICKER, denser(color wise) product. Mine was like 1/8″ thick! (could diff thicknesses produce wind chimes?) *If you lay them flat and tightly pack you get a decent, sturdy ‘standard’ thickness, *IF you lay them flat and just space them EVER SO SLIGHTLY you get a still ‘sturdy’ but thinner, lighter in color…u get the idea.
    I READ that the translucent beads don’t have strong enough color and that the DARKER colors should be used for the SEE-through color effect….NOT TRUE :( mine CAN show color thro them, they would be GREAT for a cool lamp shade or something, but the color is much too dense for the sun/outside use.
    PERHAPS a mix of dark and trans. beads would look great! (again if I thin them out, it may be more sun catcher friendly)
    ~I have one of the cheap, plain outdoor lights on my porch that has the SQUARE or nearly square plastic panels that cover the bulb? These panels r very thin, but they come out…I could easily trace them, make a ‘mold’ and make custom plastic panels for my outdoor lights…party themes? mood lighting? holidays? WHAT! Yes, these could surely last all yr outside.
    ~Do u have light fixtures that r just a large ‘plate’ like thing that has a hole in middle and gromet that screws on n holds it up? Usually kitchens have these-remove& fill the GLASS plate w beads n make a colorful fixture2match ur decor! Dont do this if its not glass/heat proof hello.
    I used the METAL bead idea for the hanging- heres wht i learned…
    I thought the pony beads would thin out more, so i was being ‘smart’ and got metal beads that r thinner so they didnt stick up highr than the melted plastic, they were too thin and didnt show THROUGH both sides of the plastic. (i placed the metal bead ON TOP of the layer of plastic, so it would hopefully melt dwn in2 the exact spot i desired it-I think this will work fine nxt time) I did try 2make my cookie cutter shapes ‘dense’ though since i had read that u loose color when they melt. *but nxt time I STILL think the standard width bead is best for my metal ones so they can actually do their job in making a hanging hole.
    _I got metal star beads (the hole goes through the wrong way) cuz they look cool(they r much heavier quality&sit nicely on the bottom of pan) and i used this on my xmas tree ornament shape i put star twards top of tree but it was well surrounded by plastic as i laid it within the plastic bead layer this time. Again, I made the plastic somewhat DENSE and when melted, the metal star actually has a small accessible hole that i COULD get a large needle/string through if I wanted, but the bead hole is mostly filled w/plastic since it faces the wrong way.
    *this is the ‘textured’ tree I re-melted on a flat glass pan. BTW the RE-MELTING takes about the same amount of time as the initial-the plastic still has to reach ‘that temp’ that makes it liquid like…a few minutes less may do it so pay attention.
    I will stop here lol-
    LASTLY, I saw this craft and a few days later to my LUCK! I saw a TOASTER OVER in the FREE stuff on Craigslist! yay mee! I reccomend u hit a few THRIFT STORES and yardsales, post a WANT ADD on CL! Get a toaster oven so u can do this outside and SO conveniently!!
    Clean up was so quick with my toaster oven, a cupcake pan holding all my diff beads for picking, and some cheap pliers to break off edges&grab hot pans&in case i must ‘pry’ a shape frm cookie cutter’ and a larger foil covered pan(just in case) to hold my cutters, finished products etc.
    *u can do this project in 15-20 minutes bake time@400-450 (in my toaster. I actually preferred 425-450 for a smoother look) and 5MINUTES too cool!! DONT rush the cooling!! If it fully cools, it comes apart easy! It will make crackling noises as it cools&seperates slightly from pan. Then 3minutes to bring everything inside!
    Thanx4READING & learning w/me!

  31. Roxie says

    lol I 4got-
    You CAN do free form shapes with no mold on a flat pan…just make sure the beads r tight together on the pan. You get a more organic edge…good for flower designs and such

  32. Edi Tipton says

    This is my second year of doing this. It was so much fun and I really didn’t have a problem with odor. I have given them out at work as Christmas gifts to hang on their trees for now. Have told them they will get one the next 3 years and on the fourth year they will get a bigger one to tie them to and make a suncatcher…