Bead-dazzle me a Sun-Catcher!

I came across this really interesting sun-catcher on Follow Me on Pinterest. I love this site! I love sharing on it and I love to find nifty little creations that I can do at home myself. As you all I know I love to craft anything I can get my hands on. My first day on Pinterest I thought I was losing my eyesight, I was soooooo addicted to pinning that my eyes were burning. I think I woke up with a Pinterest hangover. If you haven’t tried Pinterest, then I suggest you check it out!

So anyhoo, back to my crafting experience. I found this awesome picture:

pinterest suncatcher

I thought, wow, so pretty! It must be complicated right? NOT SO!!!! VERY, VERY simple I promise. You buy the clear-ish plastic pony beads form the craft store, I just so happened to have some from my hair braiding days, or I’m sure you could use any clear plastic beads. You dump them into a round non-stick cake pan in a SINGLE layer, no greasing necessary (yes this made me nervous) and bake them in the oven on 400 for about 20 minutes. My oven took closer to 30 minutes, but it also depends on what kind of effect you want to have I suppose. The less time you cook them for the bumpier they are. I prefer them a little smoother so I kept checking them every 5 minutes after the 20 passed. As you can see, some melted differently. The clear ones still looked a little bumpy, but I was happy with it.

Baked and melty-looking

***NOTE, this does smell a little in the house so if you are bothered by melting plastic smells, I wouldn’t do this in your house. Maybe purchase a toaster oven that you could put outside?? I don’t know, but I know some people complain of the smell. It really didn’t bother me. I suppose if I was doing this as a full time job I would pick up an old oven and keep it in a shed or garage to bake in. But one time isn’t going to kill me.  AND ANOTHER NOTE **** Just because I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, I went yard sale-ing for pans and paid .25 each. I didn’t want to use my own in case they got ruined, but I also don’t want to melt plastics in them and then cook food in them if you know what I mean. I’m not one of those nutty people who freak out over all things plastic, it just seemed weird to me, so I’m keeping separate pans for craft stuff.

So once the baked beads cool, flip the pan over and the plastic”cake” falls right out! No more worries about not greasing the pans. Woo-hoo!! I am so excited about this silly little NEW thing! Why didn’t I think of this?

After baking the first plastic cake, I was hooked. I got so many ideas! Now the original instructions said that you can drill holes in the sun catchers wherever you want them. Again this made me nervous thinking the plastic would easily crack, so on the first sun catcher I put a heart shaped metal cookie cutter [you can see in the picture above] at the top thinking I would make my own hole. The cookie cutter DID NOT pop out so easily. It was actually pretty well-stuck in there. I had to perform serious wiggling tactics to remove it. Finally it came out, so not too bad but I won’t try that again.

I thought I would make some smaller plastic cakes to hang as little dangles from my big one. So I took these muffin pans I also yard saled for a quarter each and put some beads in them ready to bake. This time I used a rivet for my holes (you can see the rivet in the pre-baking picture below)  to see how this would come out, knowing I was going to leave them in as decoration. Now I didn’t realize that the cupcake pans were not completely non-stick coated like the cake pan was so I had to really pop the bottom of the cups to remove my cakes. I also noticed a “texture” on the bottom of the cakes from the pan and I could also see very tiny scratches. So note that any imperfections in the pans MAY be noticeable in your sun-catchers.

beads in muffin/ cupcake pans

So I now have one big sun-catcher, and 6 small ones. I imagined my sun-catcher with 3 long dangling strands each with 2 small ones on them. I realized that I have 6 circles with one hole each, and my big circle only had my top hole shaped like a heart. Oh boy. I HAD to break out my drill and proceeded to drill 3 holes in the bottom of the big sun catcher, and one hole in each of only 3 of the small ones.  The ones hanging on the bottom of the strands only needed the top holes with the rivets. It really wasn’t that bad. No major cracking when I did the drilling. Next time I will not be worried to drill the holes later, but that won’t stop me from thinking of other creative ways of making cool shapes for holes.

NEXT STEP—I creeped  into the shed —real sneaky-like—-and stole some of my hubby’s fishing line…..I couldn’t find any new packages, so I just took it right from the reel. HEHEHEEEEE, yes clever isn’t it? Fishing line is perfect for this project and if you have a hubby that likes to fish it’s probably something you have laying around the house—one less thing to buy, LOVE it!

tying fishing line in top and bottom holes

I tied all the pieces together exactly where I wanted them and VOILA!!! ***Tip- I dangled mine from the table so I could see exactly where I wanted to place them.

Hanging to see how they fall as I tied them
The whole shebang
Trying to get pics in the sunlight…
A semi-sunny pic….at least of the top half

So my picture-taking skills aren’t so great, but you get the picture (no pun intended). I love this new creation and I have so many ideas that come with it! I could make different shapes, I could put different non-clear items within them before baking, I could even make wind chimes. I can separate colors  and make them one or a few certain colors each. I can make swirls or patterns with the beads before I bake them….It just goes to show how flexible some crafts are. No one says you HAVE to follow the directions to the “T.” I liked mine sun-catcher longer, I did that on purpose. You could make yours shorter, or put more small pieces on it. Have fun with it, make it your own. Send me pictures!!! I wanna see what you come up with!

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196 thoughts on “Bead-dazzle me a Sun-Catcher!

  1. I was wondering if you put like a metal bead or pretty tile will it stay in place with the melted beads around it??? Thanks for sharing awesome idea.

    1. Yes, it might stay- or it might fall out? Depends on the size, the weight, it’s all about trial and error for me. I have tried some metal beads and mixed them in and covered them in the plastic and they stayed. I used metal rivets for the loop holes? They stayed! BUT— I don’t know if I ever made a follow up post to this since I haven’t really kept up with blogging in the last year or so? But after the sun catchers were done and hanging outside for a few months, I noticed that the plastic would start to crack around the metal. So the differences in the flexibility might have lead to the cracking? Or maybe it had something to do with the cooling stage and I didn’t notice the cracking. I think when the plastic cools around the metal it shrinks and metal is similar. If you think about the science involved it makes sense. Molecules are moving really fast when they are hot, then they are slowing down as they are cooling. I wonder if the plastic is cooled down slower it might prevent cracking?
      Just like pottery….? Some thoughts. But the metal and plastic will cool at different rates. I’m not an expert- nor a scientist- just a crafty brick who experiments …. trial by fire. Ha!
      Good luck!

      1. Yup thats me too, I love trying out new stuff, I saw the small kilns to go in microwaves to use for Fusing glass to make awesome suncatchers! Im dying to buy one they are cheap but soooo worth it. Maybe $100 for small one then you gotta get used old microwave ’cause it’ll ruin your daily one. But Salvation Army or thrift stores are cheap. Thanks for craft ideas love love them!!!

  2. I have been making these sun catchers for several years. they are so easy and pretty. I used a cross cake pan also. the cross is beautiful. I have sold some of them at our craft show case. P.S. use a bunt cake pan for wreaths

  3. Cool idea. I can’t wait to try it out.
    I was wondering if you sprayed the cookie cutter with Pam or such ..would it release easier.
    How about thin ribbon in place of fish line?

  4. If you lightly grease the heart shaped cookie cutter or whatever you want to put in your suncatcher with a very small amount of olive oil or coconut oil it should come right out and your sun catcher shouldn’t be damaged.

  5. I cooked ours on the grill! High heat about 10 minutes or so. I also used the tin disposable pans you can get at the dollar tree for multiples in a pack and they worked great!

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