Too Easy Melted Bead Suncatchers

Reblogged from “Melted the beads (400 degrees for about 20 minutes) in a metal cake pan and some ceramic dishes. Drilled a hole in them and strung them on fishing line.” “I used very cheap beads!! It was a big bag of beads from Michaels that I spent about four dollars on. For the blue and green catchers , I sorted the beads out. I had to buy a clear bag of beads too because there were no clear beads in the first bag I bought. Most importantly…make one thin layer of beads at the bottom of the pan. After the beads cool, you can just turn the pan upside down and the suncatcher falls right out…  I was able to melt these beads in cake pans,ceramic carafes and coffee mugs. I also did a group in a muffin pan…..that worked really well.”

Doitandhow Update: For the suncatcher, we tried clear, colored transluscent and opaque pony beads. The colored transluscent beads give prettier results. You can also use other size pans. I used a mini muffin pan and made cute little discs of colors. Once cool, they just pop right out! WARNING: melting plastic is stinky, if not toxic (?) so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated.

233 thoughts on “Too Easy Melted Bead Suncatchers

        1. Use a drill, with a bit to give you as small a hole as you need to pull some good nylon line through. Drill SLOWLY as you will “melt” the piece with the heat of the drilling. I do it all the time because I’m impatient so then I have to clean off all the bits that get melted plastic on t hem, LOL

        2. You hang them by drilling holes where you want strings. I got a clay flower pot and turned it upside down on a cookie sheet with newspapers under to catch the little shreds that form. I lined up the spot where I wanted the hole in the sun catcher piece over the hole in the bottom of the flower pot and drilled with a thin drill bit. I used my battery powered drill, electric might be too powerful. Don’t push hard, let the drill bit do the work, just a little pressure, slowly. string with fishing line or whatever ya got. 🙂

      1. I am having a very difficult time with this. The edges are not coming out rounded except on the bottom part. So I have turned it over, stuck it back in the oven with another pan on top and a bit of weight. Still not that good. I have baked this one several times. I even got flat acrylic beads from LA. They didn’t work either. What am I doing wrong? I am so frustrated!!! Please help!!

        1. Hi, Georgia! I’m not sure how to get the edges rounded except to maybe be very careful how you place your beads and don’t have them so close to the edges of your pan that they climb up the inside curve a little, I suspect that causes it. I didn’t worry about the rough edges on mine. I did get smoother edges with the silicone muffin pans for the first few times, but then I think I got happy with the beads a little and used too many later on. Read thru the responses, someone mentioned using a heat gun to melt and shine up the plastic on the side that touches the pan, maybe that would work for you to smooth out your edges. Not sure what you mean by ‘flat acrylic beads from LA’ but I used only pony beads and had no problems other than a jaggedy edge, which wasn’t a problem for me. 🙂

          1. Thank you Deb! Good suggestions. The flat beads I am using came from the bead district in Los Angeles, CA. I go there a couple, three times a year for beads and hardware for the jewelry I make. You’ve really helped me a lot. Will let you know what happens my next attempt. My house smells like plastic and my cat hates it!!! Thanks again Deb – you rock!!!

  1. I made these the other day. Just a hint — the iridescent and metallic pony beads do not melt at the same pace. In fact some of the ones I used did not melt at all. The transparent beads came out best.

    1. if you use ceramic or glass it takes longer for them to melt too…..metal works much better
      I bought my pans at Goodwill for 1.00 …..since I knew they would not be able to be used for food again…I also was lucky enough to find no stick ones ..popped right out when they were cool 🙂

    2. Thisis old but I thought I’d give it a shot, what do the metallic pony beads look like when melted, terrible?? I have gold and silver and I can only return one batch of them.

      1. I’m imagining that they melt ok… but I’d think they won’t be transparent. We never did try them. Sorry – let us know your results if you try it!

          1. Hi, you start out with transparent beads, pony beads work the best, and you watch them closely after they have been in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take them out when they are totally melted and smooth and shiny. The only way they will burn is if you forget they are in the oven, so don’t do that! 🙂

      2. Julie, they dont look that great. They melt at a different rate than the others and leave globs. The ones with the sparkles in them do much better, plus, the metallic ones don;t let the light thru. 🙂

  2. These are made with pony beads? They are so pretty! I am planning on making some for my new house! Some in the kitchen window, some on the front porch!

  3. Reblogged this on The Bead Den CRAFTIVITIES and commented:
    Krisgo was kind enough to let me share her free tutorial. I don’t like to use plastic beads when making jewelry. Now here is a great craft to make something fun!

    1. What kind of beads are the best to use? You mention that you don’t like plastic, do you use acrylic? And what are pony beads? I will be using metal pans.
      Thanks for any help!

  4. Do you need to spray the pan or anything? Just put the beads in the pan and into the oven? This is beautiful!

      1. I made these and they did not pop right out. in fact i couldn’t get them to come out at all.. did I do something wrong?

        1. I cannot get ours to pop out at all. Used Muffin tins. Melted pretty. Stuck in the pan. It was not a non-stick pan, and I did not spray with anything beforehand, but they will not release!!

          1. I wonder if you turned the pan over and gave it a good tap with a hammer… I don’t think you’re too worried about the pan anymore because it’s unusable as it is… so even if you were to dent it a little, I’m pretty sure those little suckers will pop out. **fingers crossed**

  5. just point of note: when you do this with your pans, don’t use them for food again. Make your pans or whatever devoted to the craft once it’s used…..but what a great idea!

  6. with the mini muffin pans – I bet you could do a mobile under a light inside the house too. Going to the goodwill to pick up some cheap pans!

  7. Reblogged this on Momisms – Moments in Motherhood and commented:
    This is totally neat! Its hard enough to find light in the Pacific Northwest, but I bet melting these in smaller muffin tins and hanging, mobile style under a light, would cast a really neat glow. Im going to try this the next time the boys and I are stuck inside during a spring time monsoon. One way to do this cheaply, buy some tins from the goodwill or other thrift store near you. Once used for this or any type of craft, don’t run the risk of ruining your subsequent food. Mark the implements with a sharpie and keep craft tins separate from food tins.

  8. I am trying this out as I type. I had a few missed spots in my suncatcher. I will know next time to put more beads in the pan to cover it better. Will be making more of these. Thanks for the great idea. Becky

    1. Just make sure you fill the bottom in one layer though. Otherwise they wont melt as nice. IT is an awesome craft! I’m thinking of getting a heart shaped pan for next time!

  9. HI, saw this yesterday and tried it today with some small old-timey metal jello molds we weren’t using. They’re sweet, like little rainbow donuts with wavy edges, and they have a hole for hanging already in the middle!! I made a big one with all my pony beads in a regular pan so I used other types of plastic beads in the little pans and they all melted just fine! They are slightly multi-layered because I dropped in some tiny beads to fill in between the larger ones and they all melted together. They look great! I’ll try to post a pic link in a bit, just wanted to let you all know other types of beads work, too. 🙂 Thanks, Krisgo!

    1. Actually I have a question, why don’t parade beads work? Just tried it and they did not melt but a little and then just sunk in the middle, all in all…………….ugly, was disappointed as I have a lot of those beads.

      1. Joan, you’re speaking of mardi gras necklace beads, right? I don’t have any at hand so I can’t compare them and see, but the only thing I can think of is that they are made of different plastic, maybe a kind that doesn’t take well to being baked? I used some odds and ends of beads I had from different necklaces and stuff, but they were always the clear, hard, shiny kind of plastic like pony beads. Would light have been able to pass thru those beads, aren’t they mostly opaque? Sorry it didn’t work!

      1. Made some more today using another old jello mold and a silicon muffin pan. Gonna give most of these away, already drilled a little hole and strung them on fish line.

        Sorry the balloon is sideways, not sure why that happened. Thinking about stringing the rainbow discs under it, got to drill more holes. I used metal cookie cutters for the shapes but left them in to bake, won’t do that again. got some cool texture when I pulled them out but ruined the cutters. next time, I’ll use a cutter to fill the shape then remove gently before baking. 🙂

        1. I love the heart shaped one! I’m thinking these with some puffy paint names would make perfect gift tags – for Christmas or birthdays too!

      1. Hi, Tami, not sure what you mean by ‘good’, lol. For the colors, I used different beads than pony beads coz I had some old ones laying around. For the shape, I used some old metal Jello or aspic molds my hub bought at a yard sale. The ones in the pic were made in molds that look like small angel food cake pans, hence the hole in the middle. 🙂

      1. Hi, the pic did work, thanks! Just some old metal jello molds I found at a flea market and odds and ends of beads leftover. I really can’t imagine why your plastic won’t melt! You’re doing just one layer of beads, right? Not sure what 240C equates to in F, but maybe try turning it up a little more? Leaving them in longer? (You don’t say how long you waited.) I wonder if your beads are made of a different plastic that needs higher temp? They aren’t glass, are they? 🙂 I’m just thorwing stuff out here to see what sticks! 🙂

  10. I want to try this, so I think I’ll try it in the toaster oven, outside, so I won’t stink up the house. 🙂 (I’ll be sure to keep a constant watch so nothing catches fire.)

    1. Susan, the smell is not that bad and cleared out quickly once they stopped actually cooking. The Hub didn’t even mention it, lol.

        1. lol…Tonight I did it using a heat gun and it worked great! 🙂 The toaster oven was an old one that a friend gave me, so it’s not a total loss! My Chemistry professor says that the beads release a flammable gas and that they just got too hot in the toaster oven…

  11. I just made these in muffin tins and they are so cute! I decided to make some in solid primary colors to use with my light table in my preschool classroom!

  12. I just made these and by putting metallic beads in place just the right way, I was able to get a hole to use. They don’t melt at the same rate and the fishing line through to make a mobile. I plan on doing this with my preschoolers at Vacation Bible School. YAY cute and easy!

    1. Yay! Great idea! Try to think of a passage of the bible to go along with this project of course.
      The girl scouts also have a friendship song with the line “one is silver and the other gold”… leaders could incorporate silver and gold beads.

  13. This would be a great project for Christmas, do them in muffin tins with Christmas colors, drill a hole and string with ribbon and you have Christmas ornaments to give away

      1. I’m ordering them online,, I’m not kidding, lol. Second order is on it’s way and I mailed packages to the ladies in my family and have 3 more going out to friends. Haven’t done something like this since I made dreamcatchers as therapy after I found out my employer was going out of business. Gave them to all my co-workers. I don’t THINK I’m a freak, :D.
        Vickie, set it at 400 for 20 minutes or so. If you pull them out a little sooner, you get a cool bumpy texture.
        I bought 2 ‘muffin-top’ pans at a yard sale today for 10cents each, lol. they make a thick center with a feathery, angled, edge

        1. nana–thanks for the ponybead store link! OMgoodness, I’m gonna have fun making these 🙂

          Krisgo, thanks so much for sharing!

  14. I’m going to try this today! I’ve read all of the posts and these are wonderful ideas. I am wondering/trying…to put all of the beads in the muffin tin on their sides. Is that what everyone else has done? It seems if you lay them flat, you run the risk of the holes in the beads not filling in. Nobody mentioned if they are standing them on edge or not. It’s taking a long time to do so! Thanks!

    1. I just threw mine in the pan, and they melt all the same. Unless you are trying to come up with a certain design– dont worry about how they sit in the pan! Just be sure to make it one layer.

  15. “WARNING: melting plastic is stinky, if not toxic (?) so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated.”

    Definitely toxic. Plastic releases toxins when heated (which is why they recommend you don’t microwave food in plasticware). Just FYI.

    They look really good.

  16. I made these today fro a father’s day gift. They turned out really cute. Thanks for the great idea.

  17. Can you try it on a barbacue and not stink up the house or worry about toxic fumes. Seems much safer. will have to see what temp the barbacue gets

  18. I can not get my suncatchers out of the pie plates. I have only used the disposable kind so far, but so have many others from what I am reading. Is there a trick to getting them out? Am I supposed to spray the plates first?

    1. Jessica, I did not spray my pans with anything and they came out fine after they cooled a bit. I only used disposable pans once and I had to flex them to get the plastic out, so they were ruined. Plus, I didn’t like the pattern that it left in the sun catcher due to the pattern on my pan bottom. I suggest garage sales and such as a cheap way to get solid pans that hold up to flexing and multiple uses. Plus, you can find shapes and different sizes of rounds for pennies. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the tip. I will have to keep my eyes open and try again. How long did you wait before taking taking the sun catcher out of the pan?

        1. The time varied and probably depends on the pan. Using cooling racks helps cut time and protect counters. I waited until they were pretty cool then just tapped them upside down on the counter and most fell out pretty easily. We had a laugh about the noise the pans and plastic make as they cool off, lots of snapping and crackling.

  19. I had a major problem getting the plastic out of one of my pans. I tried a hammer, a pry rod, and a axe and it woujld not come out.l Iet it cool but no way was it coming out. It was a regular round cake pan. I also used a small tinfoil pie plate and had to peel that one off. If I try it again I am going to spary or grease the pans.

  20. I’ve melted beads in all positions, sizes, layers, depths, etc., in everything metal from tin foiled cookie cutters thru jello molds and baking pans to molds created out of triple-layered tin foil, and I’ve been overjoyed with the results. I’ve used loaf pans and melted beads in a really deep layer to use as the “cap” to string my suncatchers and/or windchimes from. I’ve created molds from wrapping tin foil around existing sails to create thinnish semi-transparent sails for windchimes. My question is, has anyone tried to melt beads in the new silicone baking dishes?

    1. Yes, Debbie, I used a silicone muffin pan, the kind that makes large muffins. I got cool smooth little circles and they popped right out. 🙂

    1. Nope, I didn’t spray the pans at all, metal or silicone, and I did most of them at 400, some a little higher just to see what would happen (they melted faster, lol), and some for shorter time to get some texture in them. That works especially good if you have beads with glitter in them, they really throw the light around if you don’t let them melt all the way. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the info, I’ll be off to the dollar store to get more of these little silcone pans then. I only bought one, just to test it out, but now that you say it’s all good, I’ll go get some more little “moons”. Happy melting!

          1. Went to the Dollar Store this morning, bought SEVERAL more of the silicon molds because girl, you have set me free! The suncatchers come out of those little rubbery things SO easy, no sticking, no having to tap them on the table or beat with a hammer LOL. They are awesome, now I’ll have to be looking for other kinds of designs in them. Thanks so much!

  21. Love these! But mine have little tiny bubble rings in them. Did anyone else run into this? I would like to try to get rid of the bubbles but longer cooking didn’t do the trick.

    1. I did have some with bubbles, try melting them at a little higher temp, like 425. Make sure you are using only one layer of beads, it could be that air is getting trapped in dead spaces. I’m not really sure what causes them but I just accepted them as more texture, lol.

  22. what a great craft idea can’t wait to try it reposted it on pinterest I love this kind of project thanks so much for sharing your idea keep up the good work. Donna B

  23. the backs(the side laying in the pan) are a bit cloudy. is there a tip I could try?
    other than that, fun. easy and pretty!

    1. I use a heat gun to round off any sharp edges and also to turn those dull sides glossy.

        1. The kind that you use to shrink wrap stuff or to tighten window plastic or for that rubber shrink tubing.

  24. I have a gas stove/oven, and a bit worried because of the toxic fumes some people have mentioned. Can anyone advise if they have used gas…or only electric ovens? Is it safe? Thanks!!

    1. I’ve been melting beads for quite some time in both metal and silicone baking pans in a gas stove usually at 400 deg for 25 minutes. Beads melted in silicone pans tend to smoke worse than when melted in metal ones. I always run a fan to ventilate the fumes to the outside. The best thing that happened to this craft was the intro of the silicone baking dishes. Do not use them for anything except this once you have used them for brad melting. You mentioned that you were running out of pony beads and only had clear. The most beautiful sun catchers I’ve nade were clear with shades of dark translucent blues and greens with reds sprinkled here in there. Btw if you think the fumes from melting are bad try the ones from making your
      Own silicone baking pans!!!!!

      1. Wow! Thank you for that info! I’m not too worried about breathing the fumes as I have lots of windows in my kitchen, I just didnt want the fumes to cause any type of combustion/fire in the gas oven. Now that I know it is okay…I am super excited to start making these! Just in time for Christmas!! Thank you so much for a quick reply 😉

    2. Pamela, I used a gas oven and had no problems with smell, but it was in summer and all the windows were open plus I had a house fan running most of the time. If you can wait for a nice day, open some windows and work quickly, the smell is really not that bad and I doubt there’s any safety hazard at such a low concentration in the air unless you already have respiratory issues. My first batch used up all my old non-pony beads and I got fantastic results!! Some larger beads with red stripes on clear ended up looking like candy canes were mixed in. I think I actually prefer the ones I made with all those odd beads, they have more personality! 🙂

      1. What a wonderful idea…to make them like candy canes for Christmas gifts! Now that I know I can use my old beads I will just dump them in there and see what happens and move to the pony beads once my stash runs out! You guys are the best! Thank you for such a quick reply!

  25. Also…I have a TON of left-over beads from my jewelry-making days. They are not these pony beads though. Most are the clear/plastic beads from Michales. Will these work? I am so excited to try this!!

  26. If the pans are cleaned well, can they be used with food again? Also, we’re using muffin top pans and Christmas colors to make tree ornaments!

  27. I just tried this with the gems from Walmart. Didn’t melt at all. I don’t know what to do now. I was so excited!! Bummer

    1. What kind of gems and what kinds of pans, Julie? If you were using pony beads and melting at 400 for the right length of time, there should not have been a problem! If you are using other kinds of beads and not setting the temp high enough or for long enough, you will have that problem, as many stated above.

      1. I used the pretty colored ones from the craft dept. But, I’ve already returned them & got the right things. Thanks!

  28. Once the beads are melted and formed into some kind of tray or bowl, is it safe to serve food from it?

    1. Further up, there’s a little discussion about that. I personally would not. It’s too easy to find cheap forms and pans at yard sales and thrift shops, I wouldn’t, and didn’t, sacrifice any of my good stuff to this, just in case. 🙂

        1. I think that melting the beads at lower temps for longer periods of time due to my using some silicon molds that aren’t rated for the higher temps has kept me from getting air bubbles.

    1. I’m sure it would be ok for wrapped goods like cupcakes. But if you’re not absolutely sure – and I’m not – don’t use it for food directly. Better safe than sorry.

  29. I saw one mention of using a heat gun towards the top of the blog; has anyone made these outside using a heat gun and what were your results? Thanks 🙂

    1. As I mentioned somewhere above I use a heat gun to get rid of any sharp points, to fix the ugly sides that certain kinds of molds seem to cause and to shape things after they’ve cooled. For instance I make windchime sails and spinners by using the heat gun and shaping rectangular designs around metal things. This is also how to help make bowls and vases as well as lamp shades. I’ve also been working at making rinds and bracelets.

    1. Yes you can use tin foil pans, but you’re limited to very few usages. So if you plan to get into this as a craft, you’re wiser to invest in some good silicon molds or at least some good metal pans. As far as fumes go, the worst fumes I’ve come across in this are the ones that I created when I used some DIY molds. My dog follows me everywhere and hasn’t had any adverse reactions. She just can’t understand why I’m taking something out of the oven that she can’t eat!

  30. we went to dollar tree for our pans. the pizza pan makes real big ones 🙂
    totally doing this again. my 3 yo LOVED it!!!

    1. I looked those up and they look like glass. You can’t do glass beads for this project. If I’m wrong and they aren’t glass, you would have to see how they lay in the bottom of your pan or mold to decide if they would work strung together. They need to be touching at least, so you don’t have gaps. Unless you like gaps. 🙂

      1. I hope I’m replying in the right spot LOL. I tried using mardi gras beads that were strung together and the string burned and the whole thing looked awful. My son loved tho !

  31. I want to try this but the first thing that popped in my head was the smell , sooooo I m wondering if you could to it in a BBQ pit instead?

    1. Read thru the previous comments, Kim, lots of people have experimented with different ways of doing this. I don’t have a grill, but aren’t they more direct heat than an oven? Not sure you would get the right heat for melting plastic. The smell is not THAT bad, just pick a nice day and have your windows open. 🙂

  32. yes, i’m just wondering if the smell will effect my oven..since it is used for cooking food

    1. I’ve cooked pizza right after melting beads and while I was eating the pizza melted more beads and I’m still here LOL.

    1. Not sure that would work, might be kinda hard to get the baked-in foil off the back, altho leaving a few pieces would throw the light around a little differently. Try it and report back, I’m out of beads, lol!

    1. I use acrylic beads over pony beads whenever possible. And here’s a little secret. You know those acrylic rondel beads? They make the most beautiful sun catchers of them all!

        1. Sorry I wasn’t clear about the rondell beads before. Rondell beads are usually about 6mm which is very small. I prefer to use them instead of pony beads when I’m looking for a transparent but bright color. Also I
          Look for the plastic or acrylic tri-beads which come in colors not found in pony beads. You can also use the decorative table “scatter” that you can find in the wedding aisle of your local hobby shop. They are slightly larger than the rondells but when on sale they are a better buy for your money. They come in clear, lilac and pink. In the floral section you can find some beautiful dark blue red and other colors in a chunkier style which will take a great deal longer to melt which has to be figured into your design. All of these items are acrylic transparent meltables. When I get a xhance ill try to upload some pictures if the ones I’ve made. Happy melting!

    2. There’s also a link above from me to a website where you can buy pony beads, great prices and fast shipping. 🙂 Got a coupon for Micheal’s, guess I will go look for some acrylic rondels!

  33. You can use the ice pick, get it real hot on the stove burner just lay it there for a few sec , and slowly push thru the sun catcher. Works Great!!!

  34. I’ve read every comment left here. I am not the only one who can’t get the melted beads out of the pan. Mine is an old metal cake pan. Put the beads in, baked 400 degrees for 45 minutes and cooled it. Will not come out of the pan. I tried it with a tuna fish can, same thing. Will not come out. I flexed the pan and still stuck in there. I cut around the edges with a knife and still it won’t come out. Help, I need suggestions.

    1. It’s been a while since I did them, but if memory serves I lightly sprayed my muffin tin with Pam first….once cooled, they popped right out:)

      1. I’ve not tried spraying my metal pans. I have noticed that after several uses, the pans start flaking or developing lesions in some places, especially around the edges of the mold. I may try spraying mine as well. You might also try a lower heat a shorter period. Usuallly I bake my beads at 350-375, depending upon the type of mold, and the length of time depends upon the type of bead. A metal pan such as one of those Dollar Tree small pizza pans, with a bunch of pony beads and star beads dumped on it in a pleasing color pattern can provide you a beautiful sun catcher in only 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Or at least that’s been my experience.

    2. HI, sorry to hear that! I didn’t put anything on my pans but beads and they came right out! 45 minutes is quite a long time, 20-25 should be enough. Maybe the length of time at that high a temp is causing them to bond to the pan in some way? Did you try freezing it?

      1. I set the hot pan in ice water. I could hear the plastic popping but still it didn’t come off. I took the pan out side, turned it upside down and stomped on it. The pan has a big fold in the middle but still the melted beads would not come out. I give up. I threw the pan away. I will try one more time with a new pan and beads but only cook them for 15 minutes. If I can’t get them out of the pan I will never speak of this again. Thanks for all your help. Yours truly- Elaine from Luray

        1. Actually, 15 minutes might not be long enough to melt the beads thoroughly, but you might like the effect. 🙂

    3. I lined a pan with foil then sprayed it with Pam. Then put down a cookie cutter and put a layer of beads in it. 320 degrees and 30 minutes later it was melted. After it cooled it was no trouble getting the beads out of the cookie cutter. I had to wash it in soapy water to get the oil off but it worked. Next I will try a pan. Wish me luck.

      1. Good luck! I ruined 2 metal cookie cutters when I mde mine, never thought to spray them, and didn’t try lower and slower, thanks for the tips!

  35. I didn’t read every post but if you add a small nut (like nut and bolt) in place of one of the beads you wont have to drill when they are cool save time and makes it easy for kids

  36. Trying this today! When using gas grill, do you close the lid or can you leave it open? How hot do you set the grill? 400 degrees like oven and for how long?

    1. I would think to close the lid. So it can truly ‘bake’. You’ll want to read all the comments below though for more pointers/tips. The original instructions suggest 400F for 20 min. you may want to check sooner. Good luck!

  37. This is a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing… I used more colors and made them in a smaller tin and glued my house numbers to them for my front porch.

  38. My questions are can I place glass gems in a design in the pan then put several layers of plastic pony beads around them so they will fuse together?

    1. Yes, I think we have come to the concensus that you probably shouldn’t use your eveyday favorite pans for this project. ‘Ruin’ is really not the word, because I used mine many times with great results, it’s more the idea of eating out of something you’ve melted plastic in that is probably turning people away from using their good pans. Cheap solid metal pans in all shapes and sizes can be had at dollar stores, flea markets, and garage sales, no need to use your good pans. 🙂

    1. If you do a cookie sheet one, make sure it’s a jelly roll pan, unless you want a really uneven-edged design. The melted beads most likely won’t flow off the flat pan if you leave an inch or two open around them. They really just melt in place, they’re not very liquidy.

  39. Can you make a design or initial in bead layout and it stay in design or do they melt away?

    1. I’ve made several with designs by means of the way the beads were laid in the mold you can also make two-sided designs by adding a second layer of beads after the first melt and melting them in a second time. Your designs will not stay crisp but will blur into whatever color surrounds it. Swirls and pinwheel designs are the easiest. Complementing areas of color blur nicely as well.

    2. I tried to inset a design with metal cookie cutters set in the pan first then filled the beads in and around them. One worked and one did not but I had to trash both cutters afterward. Not sure even spraying with PAM would have saved them, but I might try it if I find some old cutters at a yard sale.

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      1. No I didn’t add anything. Used a non-stick pan but it was an old one and scratched up quite a bit. Maybe I need a new pan? Does glass work?

        1. Glass WILL work, but I didn’t use it, so I don’t know the outcome. I know I had to bang my metal pans on the counter top to get some of the shapes to pop out, not sure about banging glass pans.

    1. I know it will take some time to read all these posts but it is worth it! One thing not fully addressed is that some molds or beads will be glossy on the top and dull on the bottom. I use my everyday heat gun to bring back the gloss on the bottom. I also use the hear gun to melt away any rough edges.

    1. Hazel, we don’t have any science that says don’t reuse the pans you’ve melted in for food, it’s just a thing most of us agreed on. I don’t think anyone else has expermented, tho, so if you decide to go ahead and use your pans for food again, please report back! I doubt there could really be enough microscopic plastic stuck in a pan’s pores to really hurt anyone or add a distaste to the food, but I used old pans I bought at yard sales and old stuff I had around here, so I didn’t need to worry about it. 🙂

        1. Yes, that really would make it easier to get them out, but did it crinkle the back? Not that it HAS to be smooth, just wondering about the way it looks and the way it throws the light around. That actually might add some interest. 🙂

          1. I smoothed the foil in the bottom of the pan so no lines showed up on the finished melted beads. I also sprayed the foil with Pam. My first try just using a cake pan, the melted beads stuck to the pan so hard I had to throw it away. No way would they come off. So I over do it with foil and Pam so it won’t happen again. They are pretty hanging from the trees in my back yard.

      1. I will get some old pans for when we do it again. And we are going to reuse the pans because they are very nice heavy duty nonstick pans. Which may be why they came out of the pan so well. In fact, you could hear it popping loose as it cooled.

        1. I love that noise, we were all laughing at the pans cooling and ticking. I really think you would be ok to use your pans again after a good washing. 🙂

  41. Because we used our good pans not knowing any better. But we didn’t have any problem with sticking except for the one that got too hot and “boiled”.

  42. I don’t have a heating gun or whatever it is called. So what do I need to use to make the edges smooth instead of very rigid? I used the foil throw away baking tins an they popped right out and turned out very pretty. Another question, what is the amount of beads y’all put in the pan at one time? Thanks for the idea! 🙂

    1. Heather I’m not sure what else you could use. How hot does your hair dryer get? I just know that a heat gun is wonderful for this craft. In fact I’m headed out to harbor freight because their ad shows a new heat gun for 26$ that has variable heat levels and a cool down off cycle that I think will be most beneficial.

    2. Heather, I didn’t use a heat gun and mine are just fine. The simpler the better, I say. 🙂 The amount of beads depends on the size of the pan. You want to keep the beads in a single layer, so use as many as you need to cover the pan in as solid a layer as you can. 🙂

  43. I don’t have a heating gun or whatever it is called. So what do I need to use to make the edges smooth instead of very rigid? I used the foil throw away baking tins an they popped right out and turned out very pretty. Another question, what is the amount of beads y’all put in the pan at one time? Thanks for the idea! 🙂 Sorry for the double post!

    1. HI, Bobbie, just above, I note that you use one layer of beads, and you want them to be packed as close to each other as you can. I would be a good idea to read this whole thread, you will get some great tips and tricks for this project! Have fun!

  44. Are ppl using clear or opaque beads? Do the solid opaque ones thin enouout gh to allow light thru?

    1. Hi, Heather, I used clear pony beads, some of them with glitter in them. Further up, there is a link to, they have a great selection and combo pacs with multi-colors in pastels, glitters and brights. Personally, I don’t think opaques would be bright enough, I like lots of color! 🙂

  45. Has anyone used metal grommets as a hanger, instead of drilling? IF so, what size did you use? And has anyone ever arranged a larger, pretty metal bead among the pony beads? How did this turn out?

    1. HI, anything metal would come thru the process just fine, so go ahead and try it. I might stack another layer of beads around the metal bead, depending on size, just to make sure it stays put, but the grommet or a washer should do ok for the hanging hole. Let us know! 🙂

    2. I just entered a comment before I saw your question – but it answers your question. I used the small rivets (1/8 inch?) but you could probably use larger grommets if you wanted.

    1. HI, I doubt anyone has been counting them. Further up it notes that you want to use just one layer of beads and you want to have a few gaps as possible, so you would use however many it takes to make one nice tight layer of beads. 🙂

  46. I didn’t read all of the responses to see if anyone else had this suggestion, but before putting them in the oven, I placed a rivet where I wanted the hole(s) to go. The beads melted around it and you don’t have to drill!!! It may stick out above the beads after they are melted, but you can use a tool that you can get with the rivets and hammer it down to round off the edges so it’s a smoother edge. I put one at the top and one at the bottom on the bigger ones so I can hand additional smaller suncatchers or something else from the bottom. Works GREAT!

  47. Is anyone still monitoring this post?? I really hope so because I need HELP…
    Have tried tiny (20mm) tins and normal sized muffin pans.. I don’t use a lot of plastic beads but I’ve tried most of the ones I do have: regular ponies didn’t melt, so I thought I’d try 1mm plastic rondelles (smaller might melt easier?)– No go!
    Also tried ones with glitter and metallic patterns– Nope!
    I’m in Australia and we use Celsius so I first set the oven to 210.. Then upped it all the way to 240!!… Still no melting!
    I’ve read all the comments and am pretty sure there’s no logical/easy fix but if anyone can think of something I’d be SO grateful! I’ve disappointed my kids 3 times so far and in the end tried them myself while I was alone to stop further heartache 😉 BUT THEY JUST WON’T WORK 😦

    1. I’m stumped as well…. 400F is 200C from what I’m seeing. The type of beads I used is similar to these: Make sure to put the beads in one single layer… bake for about 20 minutes… Make sure your oven is to temp – get an oven thermometer if needed… but this DOES WORK!! Maybe next time, pre-try crafts while the kiddos nap. Less crying that way if things don’t work out. Sorry for your troubles! -krisgo

  48. Was wondering if there were any alternatives to the pony beads that anyone knows of? Would like to try this with a large group of kids using the muffin tins for individual ones but we would like to use a cheaper recycled material if possible. Any ideas?

  49. Do you think it would be possible to put some paper on the bottom of the beads? Think the plastic would melt before the cardstock/paper caught on fire? Wanted to put a message inside the suncatcher.

    1. Hi, sorry for the way late reply, I never got this in my email. Did you try this and did it work? I was gonna say, it might be better to attach the paper to the back right after you take it out of the oven, I think paper would turn brown at that temp. Let us know how you did!

  50. Has anyone tried using glow in the dark pony beads… how do they hold up? do they still glow after baking?

  51. I made a couple of these, I have been using a toaster oven outside, due to the smell. They are really fun to make, however I am getting little tiny air bubbles where each bead is placed, and air bubbles around them too. Any suggestions? I am melting them until they are completely flattened out, am I “over cooking them”?

    1. Yes, I noticed I had some bubbles if I left them in too long. also, maybe try a bit lower temp and remove them from the heat right when they have completely melted and they’re shiny and smoothe. 🙂

  52. Tried using pony beads had the grand girls at arrange them in muffin pans and when we baked them they all turned brown. What did we do wrong. Baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Disappointed girls.

    1. It may be that your particualr beads were something different and 20 minutes were too long for them to cook. I’ve made at least 100 pieces with pony beads, at the same time and temp you used, and have not had this problem. Did you grease the pans or something? If so, you do not need to do that. Please try again, it does work!

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