Introduction: Melted Bead Sun Catcher

These are so pretty and ridiculously easy and inexpensive!
It's a fun activity for kids, too, if you let them design the colors and patterns of the beads. Just make sure a grown up does the baking because the plastic gets HOT!

Please take a moment to check out my other instructables and vote for the ones you like!!

Step 1: What You Need

  • Cheapy plastic 'pony' beads (available at craft stores for around $5 for a pound)
  • A cookie cutter and cookie sheet or muffin tins or other shape nonstick metal cooking vessel (it doesn't ruin the pan.. you can still use it for food later)
  • an oven, set to 400°
  • Jewelry wire, or glass or metal beads and ribbon

Step 2: Getting It Ready to Bake

Put a layer or two of plastic beads into the cookie cutter, set on the cookie sheet (or in the baking container of your choice).
You can drop them in randomly or choose certain colors or set them in a pattern, depending on the look you are going for.
If you want to leave a hole in the suncatcher to string ribbon through, place a glass or metal bead somewhere near the top (making sure there are plastic beads completely surrounding it) Make sure the bead is sitting directly on the pan and no plastic beads are covering the hole.  The glass or metal bead won't melt, but the plastic will, and will adhere to the unmelted bead, leaving you a perfect stringing hole.
I am using wire to hang this one, so I didn't use a glass bead.

Step 3: Bake

Place your container in a preheated oven (400°).  Open a window.  The plastic smells a bit when it's hot.
Bake it for about 20 minutes (check every 5 or so minutes on the progress.)
Once it's all melted together, it's time to take it out!
CAREFULLY, using potholders, remove it from the oven.
Sit it aside to let it cool. 
Don't touch the plastic!  It's very hot!!

(The line in the picture isn't a crack.. it's an airbubble.  Sometimes I get them, but once they are hanging in the window, you can't see them)

Step 4: Remove From Mold

Once the plastic is cooled (about 5 minutes or so), remove it from the pan.  It should pop out easily.  (If you are quiet while it's cooling, you can hear cracking sounds as it pulls away from the mold.  Kind of neat, and it doesn't mean it's breaking!)

Step 5: Prepare to Hang

If you used a bead, you will have a hole through which you can string ribbon or thread to display your new suncatcher.  If you didn't, you can wrap it with wire and create your own hanging mechanism.
I used wire, wrapping it back and forth and around until I liked the way it looked.
I used round nose pliers to create some loops in the hanging part of the wire.
Then, I twisted the end of the wire to part of the wire that was wrapped around my star.

Step 6: Done!

Hang in a window or other well lit area and enjoy!

Step 7: Example With Glass Bead Holes

These were made in a cupcake pan, with one glass bead in each, so they each have a hole for stringing.

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