Making pony bead suncatchers has been the highlight of our week.
They have turned out amazing, so much so that the kids have already decided what they’re doing for Halloween versions and Christmas ones.
We have tried various crafts over the last 11 years but I can honestly say this one is my favourite.
The kids spent a few hours lazing around the garden making their designs with a big box of pony beads and a cocktail stick.
This craft is as quick and easy as you want it to be as you could just toss the beads in the dish if you’re not looking for a specific design or sit for hours getting your design just right.
We decided to make one each and I filled a fairy cake tray with extra beads to make smaller circles for underneath.
Wouldn’t a window full of these suncatchers in various sizes be lovely?
How To Make
Melted Pony Beads.
- Metal non stick baking dishes in various sizes. I used old cake pans, mini tart dishes and 12 hole fairy cake tray.
You could also line a baking sheet with tin foil and place one metal cookie cutters, fill these with the beads and your finished result will come out in the shape of your chosen cookie cutter.
This is how we are going to do our Christmas ones.
- Cocktail sticks to help you place your beads.
- Pony beads in your desired colours.
- Wire or thread
- Gas or electric grill (preferably outside but you can do it indoors with very good ventilation)
2. Make sure you fill the whole shape with beads. Insert extra beads into any spaces you see and don’t leave any gaps. The beads melt to fill the space, so you need an even layer so the suncatcher is the same thickness all over. They then contract a little when they cool and pull away from the sides. You dont need any grease-proof paper or oil as the metal pans are non stick.
Heat your stained glass sun catchers carefully
3. It’s recommended to bake these for 5-15 minutes at 400-450 degrees F.
I used an electric over indoors when everyone was out and I had extra ventilation and doors open but you can also do these outdoors with a BBQ.
4. The melting time will vary depending on the size of the stained glass and the temperature.
I set my timer for 10 minutes but it actually needed 20 in my oven at 200°c
Note: The fumes from melting plastic are not good to breathe, which is why we do the melting on the BBQ outside or with really good ventilation.
Cool Down your melted pony beads
5. After the pony beads have melted Remove from the heat. I was worried the plastic would be runny and we would lose the patterns but the mix was still quite thick and stable.
I removed the melted pony beads from the oven and put them on the path outdoors away from everyone to cool.
6. Let them cool completely, the bead shapes started making a popping cracking sound almost immediately, which was just the plastic condensing back into its solid shape and coming away from the metal tins.
Our Stained Glass Suncatchers Looked Amazing!
Who Knew These Could Be Made From Simple Pony Beads!
7. Hold up the sun catcher to the light and admire!
We hung our plastic bead sun catchers in the garden using short lengths of garden wire but you could use pipe cleaners, string or thread too.
We used a small drill bit to drill a small hole in each piece and wired them together. The kids want to add strings of beads too but this will be another days project.
If you enjoyed this summer project why not try some others from 101 Fantastic Ideas For Summer Fun With Your Kids
So there you go, the effect is stunning and you can bet this isn’t the last time we make these. Give it a go and let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below.
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