Pony beads are cheap an can be found about anywhere. Couple that with their bright colors and perfect for little finger size and you’ve got a winning art material! Bead crafts here we come!
My kiddos and I started making ornaments (or sun catchers depending on the time of the year.) We quickly realized there was plenty of fun ways to manipulate these little boogers and turn them into something unrecognizable.
Bead Crafts #1 Ornaments/Sun Catchers
This is the simplest craft we did. It really doesn’t matter if the beads are all upright or on their sides, they still melt together nicely. We used silicone baking cups and filled them with one layer of pony beads. The silicone is awesome because there is nothing for the beads to stick to. Just flip the silicone over and they fall right out. This Maxi Nature Set of 24 silicone baking cups would be perfect because there are three different shapes of baking cups!
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.
Even after melting most of our sun catchers naturally had a little space between the beads to thread a ribbon to hang them. Those that didn’t have a hole we just drilled using a hand drill. The plastic tolerated the drilling just fine.
Bead Crafts #2 Molded Bowl
After pouring the pony beads into a silicone measuring bowl for easy finding of colors I realized that little bowl might hold another project all its own. I have seen bowls made of melted Perler beads on Pinterest but never pony beads. Why not? I made a “protoytype” by neatly lining all the beads up in concentric circles, hole side up, one layer deep, inside a small silicone measuring bowl. This set of four Le Creuset Silicone Prep Bowls would be perfect for this!
My six year old dove right in and made his own bowl. He used the method preferred by most six year old boys. I call it “Pour & Smush.” His beads were facing every which way and were mostly, pretty much, one layer deep.
We put both bowls in the oven (previously heated to 375 degrees) and baked them for approximately 18 minutes. “Pour and Smush” turned out almost identical to my “Careful and Controlled” method.
I let the bowls cool inside their silicone molds and then flipped them over and the bead bowl will just fall out.
They are colorful, sparkly, and look way more sophisticated than a pony bead should.
Bead Craft # 3 Free Form Bowl
This idea was my hands down favorite. No silicone bowl is needed; just a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Take a handful of beads and lay them on your cookie sheet, making sure they are all touching. They don’t have to be turned a certain way. Just smushed together. This is great for young kids or kids with a shorter attention span.
Pop the beads into the oven for approximately 18 minutes.
When they come out of the oven let them cool for approximately one minute. At this time use oven mitts to turn the sheet of melted beads over an upside down bowl. It wont take the exact shape of the bowl, but rather a free form bendy shape. Using this method the beads stay perfectly round dots on the top of the bowl, which looks really interesting.
My six year old doesn’t usually have much staying power with art projects.. He was so excited about the finished project he wanted to keep making them for gifts! These would make great little jewelry trays!
Bead Craft #4 Snowflake Art
These are so easy they come together in a few minutes. They look just as beautiful hanging on a Christmas tree as they do a window.
Directions are simple. Lay your snowflake pattern out on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. The more beads touching each other the easier it is to keep your snowflake in one piece. (We found the super dainty designs ended up a little fragile.)
Bake approximately 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
We used a hand drill and a tiny drill bit to create a hole for hanging!
So get out those pony beads and see what you can come up with! I’d love to see what you make!