11 April 2013

How to...melt pony beads!

Okay, I admit - I'm one of those crafters who snickers as I walk by the pony bead aisle at Hobby Lobby. Does that make me a craft snob? I hope not! They're just not something I typically use in my crafts.


But I saw the cutest little confetti plate on Pinterest - and it was made from melted pony beads! So when I placed my most recent order with consumercrafts.com, I got a bag. (Yes, I could've bought them locally, but by doing it online, I remained anonymous, LOL!) Pony beads come in a lot of different colors - and you can get solid, transparent, or glitter, too! I got the transparent ones because I wanted the look of confetti glass.


Being my usual obsessive self, I read at least a dozen different websites talking about how to melt pony beads. And...THEY. WERE. ALL. DIFFERENT. I found that a little distressing. I like precise instructions when it comes to something like melting plastic in my oven.

I spent 30 minutes lining up a single layer of beads in this glass bowl (I can hear you snickering...), only to chicken out at the last minute. I was afraid the beads would melt and all end up in the bottom instead of forming the sides of the bowl.


So I decided to just dump all the beads in a non-stick baking pan. I sprayed a little non-stick cooking spray in it, too - just in case. I didn't turn all the beads the same way this time - I just sort of smooshed them out so they were even.


I preheated the oven to 375 degrees, and popped the pan inside. Some people said 10 minutes, some said 15, some said 20-25. Sigh. Did I mention that I like specific instructions? So I set the timer for 5 minutes, and figured I would just go in 5 minute increments until the beads were melted.


Somehow, I accidentally deleted my "after 10 minutes" picture. Just imagine something between 5-15 minutes...


In the end, it took 25 minutes to get the beads melted to the point where they were pretty much flattened. I was afraid to go for 30 minutes - but it may have made them just a little more flat.

Hey, this looks kinda cool!


It didn't take long to cool at all - and when I went back to check on it, I could see that it had shrunk away from the sides of the pan. I was able to just slide it right out!


I did have a couple of issues...

One, the edges are a bit uneven. It's not really an "issue" - just something to be aware of if you're a perfectionist. I like the uneven edges.


The other thing was these little brown dots - but they're my fault for spraying the non-stick cooking spray. I think if you're using a non-stick pan, the spray isn't necessary.


Overall, I like it! It reminds me of the hard tack candy my mom used to make at Christmastime. So if you have little ones, you might want to keep this out of their reach so they don't try to eat it.  (Note to self: Tell Buddy & Gus that this isn't candy.) Since I just had a small bag of beads, my plate is pretty thin - so I think it might easily break. A thicker layer of beads would probably make a sturdier plate.


I think I'm going to have Gus drill a hole in the top - then I'm going to use a suction cup hook to hang it in the window. These would be really cute if you used cookie cutters to make shapes for little sun-catchers!

How to melt pony beads
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Select an oven-proof dish; if it's glass, spray it with non-stick cooking spray prior to adding beads - if it's a non-stick pan, you're good to go.
  3. Add beads to pan; flatten into a fairly even layer.
  4. Place pan in oven for 20-30 minutes - checking them every so often.
  5. Once beads are melted flat, remove pan from oven & allow to cool.
  6. Beads should pop right out once cooled!

Note: Be sure you have adequate ventilation, because there is a slight odor while beads are melting. It's not strong (at least mine weren't), and it goes away quickly - but my windows were open.
Note 2: Be sure to use a pot holder to handle the pan!

If you make something, I'd love to see it!