We've been experimenting like crazy with melted bead suncatchers lately. First Maia's spiral, then our free form lovelies, then these heart suncatchers this weekend (as well as a few other super cool melted bead ideas I'll share later this week).
These heart suncatchers would make amazing Valentine's Day gifts, but of course hearts are great any time of the year.
Here's how we made our heart suncatchers. They were inspired by one that our friend Mercy made when she was over last week.
First, we strung translucent pony beads on embroidery thread (using large embroidery needles), tying off both ends around a bead to hold them all in place.
Then we arranged our string of pony beads into a heart shape on a metal cake pan. We've done this with just the outline of the heart, but I especially like how it looks when we loosely fill in the heart with swirls and curlicues of the bead strings.
(As you can see I've started lining the pans with aluminum foil. You can see my note about that at the bottom of this post.)
Then I melted the beads on the grill outside, as always. I left this heart on a little too long and the plastic spread out really thin and started bubbling.
My usual policy on the grill is to give the suncatcher 5 minutes at high, then check every minute or so.
In reaction to that overcooked heart, I took this one off a little early, while many of the beads still held their basic shape.
I really like how it looks!
This batch of translucent pony beads are glitter beads. See the glitter?
Maia decided to make a heart suncatcher by stringing red beads on thin jewelry wire. She strung them on while the wire was straight, then I helped her shape it into a heart on the pan.
This one melted beautifully.
She made it as a gift for a special grandma to hang in her window. She wrapped it in bubble wrap and is sending it off across the country with her love.
By the way, we haven't had to drill holes for hanging with these suncatchers. We've mostly been hanging them with window suction cups that have little hooks that we just loop through open areas of the suncatchers.
If you haven't made melted bead suncatchers yet, I highly recommend it! It's so fun and the the results are just beautiful!
If you're looking for more melted bead suncatcher ideas, here are my melted bead suncatcher posts so far:
- Making Melted Bead Suncatchers (Basic info for getting started)
- A Melted Bead Suncatcher Mobile (And how to make shapes)
- A Melted Bead Suncatcher Spiral (The beginning of our freeform experimentation)
- More Melted Bead Suncatchers :: Free Form Experiments
- Melted Bead Suncatchers :: Beautiful Free Form Hearts
- Melted Bead Stained Glass in Frames -- Mondrian Style!
- Melted Bead Suncatcher in an Embroidery Hoop Frame
- A Melted Bead Jack-O-Lantern Suncatcher
- Melted Bead Words
- Melted Bead Fairy Wands
- Melted Bead Suncatchers 7+ NEW Ways (Includes ornaments, die-cut wood frames, spiral mobiles, and shapes within suncatchers)
And if you'd like to give melted bead suncatchers a try, here are some materials you might like to use (the Discount School Supply links are affiliate links):
- Translucent pony beads
- Glitter pony beads
- Embroidery thread
- Embroidery needles
- Jewelry wire
- Suction cups with hooks
Note: I've started lining my metal pans with aluminum foil when making melted bead suncatchers. It peels off the suncatchers easily once they are cooled and hardened. And it means you can use any metal pans, even nice new ones, without leaving any residue from the plastic beads. The reason I started doing this is that I noticed the plastic beads would leave a little residue on my old metal pans, and if I kept reusing the same pan for melted bead suncatchers, I started having a problem removing the suncatchers.