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There is a currently a trend of melted bead art on Craftster.org,search the forum for melted beads. The idea started from an episode of HGTV's Crafters Coast to Coast.
What you'll need to make these suncatchers is
disposable tart tins
plastic beads, just plain, ordinary, available at any craft store plastic beads. I used a bag of mixed shapes in transparent colors and a bag of black pony beads for these.
A knitting needle or a piece of wire to pierce holes with
Quick tip for sorting colors in an assortment of beads- I let my daughter sort them using an ice cube tray.
Arrange the beads in the pans in the patterns you want them in, if you use smaller beads you can get better detail, you can use other things for the shapes, metal cookie cutters, empty tuna cans, et cetra. If you use something like cookie cutters, you'll want to wrap foil around the bottom. Simple shapes are best, the beads will spread as they melt, but I didn't get quite to the edges with some of my examples. I like the effect of the bright colors edged with the black. The multicolored one I just put down the black beads around the edges, then put in a few lines and filled the areas with the colored beads.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and put the tins on a cookie sheet in the oven, check them in 10 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. They will smell a bit odd, but it's not a horrible stench, I had my doors and windows open and fan on to reduce any fumes. When they are melted, pull them out, and use the wire or knitting needle to pierce holes in the top while they are still hot. They will make cracking sounds for a while, that's completely normal. When they are cool, pop them from the tart tins and hang. I'm planning to use some of the leftover beads to thread on the string I'm hanging them with.
This is a scan of one with a cd on top so you can see how big they are.
Other ideas- Using small cookie cutters, you could make pendants. Older kids and adults could smash up some beads to sprinkle on top, sprinkle glitter on them as they are melting, use a cake pan to make a large suncatcher, then hang smaller ones off of that. Skip piercing holes in them and put felt pads on the bottom to make coasters. Poke holes in the top and bottom and string a bunch together to make a chain of them, a few chains from a dowel makes a pretty curtain. Also, check Craftster for a lot of other ideas.
These are some my daughter made using black beads and glow in the dark beads. They do keep their glow after they are melted.
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