Melted Bead Projects to Create with Children

I just love melty beads!  There are so many nice things about them- the way they feel on your fingers when you put your hands in a bucket of them, their bright colors, and their lack of toxic fumes when you melt them (unlike so many plastics).

The classic melted bead project though -with a peg board and a color pattern to follow- can be a little tricky for little fingers; so my girls and I decided to try making the melted bead bowls I had seen on Pinterest, like these by Art with Mr. E.

1.  The Bowl Project

To make a melted bead bowl, first  preheat the oven to 350  degrees.

Spray an-oven proof bowl with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the melty beads on the bottom of the bowl and move them around to make sure there is only a single layer.  Add more and more beads until they creep up the sides as far as you would like them to go

Bake in oven about 15 minutes or until the beads along the top have clearly melted themselves out of shape.

Allow to cool and pop out the melty bead bowl.  Wash with soap and water to remove the cooking spray.

My4-year-old and 2-year-old loved filling the bowls with beads and really admired the colorful results.  It’s especially neat to see the way the light shined through them.

The  stained glass effect gave me the idea for the next project.

2.  The Nightlight Project

To make a melty bead nighlight, follow the directions above, but use a small bowl or  a tea light holder for your mold.  Once you have the melty bead bowl, turn it upside down over a battery-operated tea light.

The effect is cozy and pretty- definitely a nice thing for a child to take to place on their dresser at night!

 

By now, I was really excited about the possibilities for this as an unique and dramatic art medium.  I wondered if there might be a way to use it to make a pretty, child-made gift.

My eyes lit on an old jelly jar that I still hadn’t thrown away (we tend to have a lot of glass jars at our house; usually, I can’t bear to throw them out)  This one seemed just right for a vase.

3.  The Vase Project

To make a melty bead vase, spray a jar or clear vase with cooking spray, but instead of sprinkling the beads, pour in a good amount and screw on the top (or if you are using a vase, cover it with a piece of cardboard).  Slowly rotate the jar up and down and side to side until the sides and bottom are covered.

Melt the beads in the oven as described before, but do not pop them out of the jar.  Leave the colorful beads inside to decorate your vase.  Tie a ribbon around the mouth for a pretty display.

I’m sure there must be lots more fun ways to use this concept.  Do you have any other ideas for how to creatively use melty beads?

10 Comments

  1. These are amazing! I think you’ve inspired me to get busy with all my empty old jars as well 🙂

  2. Ahhh, help! I can’t get the melted beads out of the bowls. I used olive oil instead of cooking spray because I didn’t have any. Was this a mistake? Please give me any advise. I really need to keep the bowls I used and kinda want to save the bead bowls because I made then with a bunch of my daughters friends.

  3. Sally Ann says:

    I really like the bowl idea. I think if I try it, though, I will put another bowl inside the bowl with the beads, so the inside of the bowl will be just as smooth as the outside of the bowl… 🙂

  4. Any kind of plastic beads or are these specifically made to melt? I have a huge container of be as that’s are useless. I’m looking for good uses for them .

  5. We tried the bowls, but the beads kinda raised up, but did not melt. I even tired keeping them in longer, and started to glob up. Any ideas?

  6. Colleen K says:

    I love your ideas for the light and vase – definitely going to try them this weekend! We had made the bowls in the past . . . many of them. We baked them at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes and they came out beautifully. To the person having a hard time removing them from the glass bowl; try using cooking spray instead and do not touch them until they are 100% cooled. When cooled, the plastic shrinks slightly and they come right out.

    If you come up with any other ideas I would love to know about them. I’m with you regarding how fun they are to work with!

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