More Melted Bead Suncatchers :: Freeform Experiments!

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More Melted Bead Suncatchers! Freeform experiments..

Maia's melted bead spiral set off a whole round of melted bead suncatcher experimentation. We're absolutely loving the freedom of form that string and wire are allowing. And we've even tried adding glass beads among the plastic pony beads, just for fun. 


First, following Maia's spiral, we strung more translucent pony beads on embroidery thread only this time instead of spiraling them around each other, we arranged them on the cake pan more haphazardly.


The beads melted flat, creating stripes since they were able to spread out completely (rather than pentagons and hexagons as they did when they were packed closely in muffin tins and cake pans). And the beads and string layers all fused together, of course.


Once the beads cooled and hardened, they lifted easily out of the pan.


Isn't it just beautiful?! This method is by far my favorite so far. I really love the line the string makes curving through the suncatcher.


We've also made a couple with the pony beads strung on wire.


Here's the cake pan on the grill with the beads half melted.


When I noticed that the beads were starting to melt off the part of the wire that was elevated off the pan, I removed it from the heat. This would work better with a more flexible wire that will stay flat against the pan.


This one is also beautiful, though, and the combination of wire and melted beads has so much potential. I can't wait to experiment more with it.


Here's the side view of the beads that were melting off the wire.


And here's one last variation we experimented with over the weekend. Adding glass beads (the kind used for floral arrangements) among the pony beads. The glass didn't melt, of course, since the temperature was around 450 F (glass melts at around 3000 F). I like the effect of the larger glass rounds surrounded by the flat sheet of melted beads.


I should mention that one of the beads popped out when I removed the suncatcher from the pan. I wasn't able to dislodge any of the rest though (I tried, in the spirit of experimentation), so perhaps it was a fluke. A fluke that provided the perfect hanging hole, I should add. :)

Okay, that's the end of our melted bead suncatcher experimenting for now. I'm sure there will be more to come!

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

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  1. Laura says

    We just did the original suncatcher project the other day on a little electric grill outside. We used clean 28 oz tomato cans for the pans, and it worked wonderfully. I’m excited to try the free-form type with my oldest during her brother’s nap soon, since she loves stringing beads. Thank you so much for the easy craft ideas. We have recently added baby #3 to our family, and the simple art activities here are great for to keep the older kids engaged and occupied!

  2. earleyml says

    We just did the original muffin pan suncatchers last night. My daughter had fun with it and really loved how they looked once finished. Do you use your pans for cooking or have you been using old pans, cookie cutters, etc?

  3. Melissa says

    I read this post a couple days ago….it’s been bouncing around in my head ever since. Today I saw my daughter’s pony bead necklace sitting on the table and the vision of not only freeform, but FORMED suncatchers came to mind. I untied the necklace, twisted it into a treble clef shape, and voila, we have the perfect suncatcher for above the piano! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. kt says

    I just tried these with my girls and they are a HUGE hit! We put in small metal jump rings (like for making a necklace clasp) in between a couple of the beads which created a pre-formed hole since the bead plastic melted against but not over the jump ring. Eliminates the need for using a drill and once hardened they are ready to hang. Thanks for this great post.