Groovin’ With the Go-to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

Betsy Color Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

Betsy Veldman, Paper Crafts Go-to Gal

I’m a hopeless DIYer.  Before I purchase just about anything I ask, “Could I make this myself?” Lots of times the answer is “yes” with a little work and creative thinking. One thing that has been eluding me, however, are the colorful enamel dots we’ve been seeing everywhere in the paper crafting world. Let’s face it – those little doo-dads aren’t exactly cheap, especially when I like to be generous with them! I’ve tried making them myself to no avail. Some of my attempts include acrylic paint, nail polish, painting over older not-so-stylish-anymore gems, and I even tried a clay mold.  Nothing produced great results, besides the fact that it was just too fussy and messy!

BUT, the other day I opened up Pinterest and I stumbled across this tutorial on melting plastic beads to make jewelry.  Eureka! It was just what I had been looking for. Off to raid my daughter’s stash of plastic beads. Oh what fun!

I’m happy to report success! After a little trial and error I have a nice little stash of flat-backed dots to use on my paper-crafted creations. Here are a few things I learned that I thought I would share with you.

First off, the regular “pony beads” that are readily available in the kid’s crafting aisle are a little large.  They melt down to form a circle that’s nearly ½” across…which is quite a bit larger than the typical enamel dots we see in the paper crafting world. I happened to find some smaller beads in my daughter’s drawer that worked out just about perfectly.  Here’s a shot that compares a typical pony bead (left) to the smaller beads I used (right).

beads2 Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

Secondly, the tutorial said to cook the beads at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes.  I couldn’t see too much happening at that point, so I bumped it up to 450 and it took a good 20 minutes. I would suggest just keeping an eye on it – oh, and crack a window or two, because it does get a little smelly!

Here are my beads before (lined up on a sheet of parchment paper)…

Beads1 Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots
pinit fg en rect gray 20 Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

And after… beads3 Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots pinit fg en rect gray 20 Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots
I couldn’t resist using those cute little dots on a few projects for you today.

On this card they made a cute accent for my thought bubble.

Thinking of You Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots
pinit fg en rect gray 20 Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

This card does use one of the larger dots made from a typical pony bead so you can see the size difference here.

Thinking of You dtl Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

And for my second card today I used them to embellish these awesome feather stamps from Close To My Heart.

Birthday Feathers Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots pinit fg en rect gray 20 Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots
So bright and colorful.

Birthday Feathers dtl Groovin’ With the Go to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

I had so much fun playing around with this and I am so excited about the fact that it worked!  Yay!  No more hoarding those little dots!  I’m off to cook up some more…


P.S. Epoxy button brads make great embellishments too and you can get a cute holiday set from the online store.

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82 Responses to Groovin’ With the Go-to Gals – DIY Enamel Dots

  1. Karen L K says:

    Wow great idea!! I was wondering how they come out so nice and even.


  3. SiskiyouSue says:

    I’ve been thinking there must be a way to make them. How easy! Thank you.

  4. Rhonda H says:

    Great idea! I have also used Viva Decor Pearl Pens on waxed paper to make my own…and I get to choose the size. (And not wonder about toxic fumes.)

  5. patsy says:

    This should NOT be done in a home oven. The fumes could be toxic. No crafting should be done in an oven that is used for food! Use a toaster oven that is dedicated to crafts only. Great idea but do it safely.

  6. Kristin says:

    I can’t wait to go home and make some of these, such fun!!!

  7. CLARA GOLOD says:

    I have seen a lot of awesome ideas for cards can’t wait to make up my own with some of the ideas. thank you, Clara

  8. marlene says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love DIY crafting !!!

  10. Judy B says:

    Great idea! Sometimes it just takes a little ingenuity to spark that creative process. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. Arlene says:

    The best place to do the toxic stuff is outside. The toaster oven used for crafting only is the safest way to go.

  12. I am making these right now! thanks so much for the wonderful idea! :)

  13. SallyB. says:

    great idea, I´m looking for my beads ;o)

  14. Nancy Carroll says:

    great idea, embellishments and they do cost so much!

  15. Super idea! I’ve spent a small fortune on some of those enamel dots. I don’t have beads but I know I can get a whole lot of beads even for the price of one pack of dots! Thanks for the tip!

  16. Pingback: Tips: Turn a Bead into a Card Embellishment | Stamping |

  17. Anne V says:

    Any one try to do this using a heat gun instead of oven? Maybe less smelly?

  18. Candy Danielson says:

    Do you have to use parchment paper?? also doesn’t the paper burn ?

  19. Me-Bear says:

    This is awesome! I just recently saw some projects using enamel dots and I was wondering where to buy. Now I don’t even have to! Thanks to your tutorial I can make them myself. Ha! Wait till I can make my friends jealous LOL
    Okay. The friends really paying attention, will know this before I can show them, because of course I had to pin this :)
    I know tomorrow it’s going to get smelly in my kitchen :D
    Will have to look if they sell pony beads in the Dutch stores too. But I have quite a lot of the smaller ones :)

    xx Monica

  20. ms match says:

    DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS IN YOUR HOME OVEN! Fumes are toxic. Even doing this outdoors in my craft oven you can smell them. I have been melting the pony beads into suncatchers but never thought about making dots! Thanx for the lesson.

  21. Lisa Girard says:

    Perler beads work well too. They sometimes melt perfectly and other times turn out looking like cheerios but when they work they are even better than the pony beads. I think it is an oven temperature thing. I need to experiment a bit more. I also think a toaster oven just for melting the beads would be a good idea.

  22. Mary Hicken says:

    I won’t melt plastic. It’s too toxic. Just use a hot glue gun on a craft sheet. And colour with alcohol inks, or use coloured glue sticks.

  23. Monica says:

    I can not imagine how toxic the fumes would be from this! That “smelly” part is toxicity. The cost of enamel dots compared to having toxic fumes in the house? Not to mention the cost of electricity/gas to heat an oven to 450 degrees, and the electricity to cool your home after producing that much heat. Some plastics give off dioxin, which is not only a carcinogen, it stays in your body. Wow. Pay for the enamel dots.

  24. Laurie says:

    That’s really cool. I just worry that the fumes from the plastic might be toxic to breath. Be causious!

  25. Tiesha says:

    Wow!! Thank you for the great idea. I love using enamel dots, but yes they can be expensive. Often times, I buy a package and only like one or two colors. I’m on my way to Michael’s Craft Store today…… I can buy tons of beads for the price of one or two enamel dot embellishments. As for the smell and toxicity….. make all of the colors that you will need for the season. Right now, I am into making Christmas cards, so I will buy all of the beads in the right colors and limit myself to making them once or twice per season! Thank you so much for the idea!!

  26. Carolina says:

    I love this idea… but after reading the comments i don’t know what to do… because my idea is to melt the beds in my oven… the one on my kitchen =( !!!

  27. Pat McCleary says:

    I’ve made these using perler beads- no fumes. The beads are so inexpensive & even a smaller package is a huge amount of beads & they come in so many colors.

  28. Rose M. says:

    I wonder if you could melt them with the heat gun instead of putting them in the oven and smelling up the house (you could use an extension cord and do it outside)?

  29. Louise Wagner says:

    What if you used a dedicated toaster oven (bought at a thrift shop so you don’t care what happens to it) and melted them outside on a deck or patio using the outdoor outlets. Then when they’re done, unplug the oven, open the oven door and leave until they are cool. That would work.

  30. What a great find! So happy to see that I can do this myself. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

  31. Cassandra says:

    Very cool Betsy! TFS!:)

  32. Karen Funk says:

    Thank you for the cool idea. I like to try to make my own embellishments, too, and I hope I have some of these smaller pony beads in my stash.

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