Can plastic beads be melted to look like glass? Yes! Create glass-like suncatchers, ornaments, and more with pony beads! In this tutorial, learn how to safely melt plastic pony beads using the heat from a grill to create various shapes. Hang them in places where they will catch the light, such as windows or garden trees & bushes.
- Pony Beads
- Metal Baking Tray
- Metal Cookie Cutters
- Scrap Wood
Step 1: Preheat the grill between 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Place metal cookie cutters on a baking tray.
Step 3: Fill the interiors of the cookie cutters with a selection of pony beads in one layer.
Step 4: Put the baking tray on the preheated grill. Close the lid.
Step 5: Monitor the grill temperature and the melting progress of the pony beads. Keep the baking tray on the grill until the beads are fully melted. Please do not leave them on too long after they melt, or they could begin to burn.
Step 6: Remove the baking tray from the grill and let it cool.
Step 7: Once everything has cooled to room temperature, gently pop out the pony bead glass from the cookie cutters by gently pressing down on the center and around the edges of the cookie cutters.
Step 8: Drill a hole near the top edge of the pony bead glass shape using a drill. Be careful not to drill too close to the edge or to press too hard. The object may break.
Step 9: Hang the pony bead glass in a window or on a lighted tree.
Ideas to take pony bead glass to the next level:
- Use a strong adhesive to attach pipe cleaners to the cooled pony bead glass to create objects that look like bugs or monsters.
- Wrap the pony bead glass in jewelry wire to make a pendant.
- Increase the scale! Use a round cake pan to melt a larger version of pony bead glass. Play with abstract and realistic imagery.
Further Learning and Discussion Questions:
1. How are cookie cutters made? Watch this video to learn the history and manufacturing behind American-made Ann Clark Cookie Cutters!
2. Pony beads were among the trade beads used as decoration by Native Americans. The primary beads used by Indian women for decoration were the seed, pony, and crow beads. Pony, or pound beads, were between 2 – 4 mm. They were hung from or attached to clothing and horse gear. Read this article written by O. Ned Eddins and published by the Peach State Archaeological Society to learn more about the history of trade beads.
Thank you to our sponsor, PNC Arts Alive!, for helping to make this video possible!