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).
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)…
On this card they made a cute accent for my thought bubble.
This card does use one of the larger dots made from a typical pony bead so you can see the size difference here.
And for my second card today I used them to embellish these awesome feather stamps from Close To My Heart.
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…