Make easy and beautiful melted bead art and free-form suncatchers and mobiles using translucent pony beads, thread or wire, a metal pan, and a grill.
We’ve been in the midst of a whole round of melted pony bead suncatcher experimentation!
We first started with using round cake pans and muffin tins to make basic melted bead suncatchers, but now we’re into more freeform melted bead art and experiments.
We’re absolutely loving the freedom of form that string and wire are allowing. And we’ve even tried adding glass stones among the plastic pony beads, just for fun. Read on to discover how easy and beautiful creating melted bead art can be!
How to Make Free Form Melted Bead Art
- Translucent or glitter pony beads
- Embroidery thread or wire
- Metal bakeware: pans, cake tins, muffin tins, metal cookie cutters, or even gelatin molds
- Aluminum foil to line bakeware (for easy clean-up and no risk of plastic residue)
- Grill or oven
- String or ribbon for hanging
Step 1. String beads onto thread or wire
For most of our melted pony bead suncatchers we’ve used embroidery thread. I suggest tying off the last pony bead just so they don’t slip off in the next step. We also tried wire for one but because it was fairly rigid and did not lay flat in the pan, the melting beads started to drip off of the wire. A more malleable wire such as floral wire might work better.
Step 2. Create your melted bead art
Prepare your metal pan or bakeware with a layer of aluminum foil (despite the fact that there isn’t any in these photos!). Arrange your beaded wire or thread into your desired artwork, design, or shape on the pan.
Note: These photos were taken before I discovered how helpful using foil was. You should especially be sure to use foil if you are using the same pans you bake with.
Our first creation was a tight spiral but we quickly figured out we could be more abstract and experimental with our shapes.
We dropped the string of pony beads loosely in the pan, allowing it to overlap itself at points.
Optional Idea: Add in glass stones or glass beads. Make sure the glass stones are surrounded by the plastic pony beads. You want the melted beads to surround them and hold them in place.
Step 3. Melt the Plastic Bead Art
Melt the pony bead designs for 5 or so minutes on an outdoor grill (best because the fumes from melting plastic beads is toxic) or, if necessary, in an oven (with your kitchen windows wide open).
Wondering what temperature to melt beads?
We had the best success with using our grill set on “high” (400-450º Fahrenheit). Place the pan in the center and put the top down. When we tried doing multiple pans at once we found that the ones on the edges did not heat up as well and we had to rotate them for even melting. Heat for 5 minutes and then check the progress every few minutes after that. Melting the pony beads completely should take no more than 10 minutes.
Step 4. Let cool then remove from pan
Once the melted bead art has cooled completely (this only takes a few minutes) it will peel easily out of the pan.
Step 5. Hang your melted bead art
If needed drill a small hole through the top. String with ribbon and hang your new suncatcher art indoors in a window or outside on your porch or deck.
3 More Melted Bead Art Ideas
- Make Mondrian-Style Melted Bead Art
- Use wooden embroidery hoops as frames for your melted bead suncatcher art
- Try a beaded wire mobile or one of these other 7 homemade suncatchers with plastic beads
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