I love enamel dots. LOVE them! I have seen a couple of pinterest posts about making your own enamel dots. Of course, I had to try. There are tons of posts showing the enamel dots and how to do them, this was my attempt and what I learned.
First off, I used Perler beads. These are the small beads that are meant to be ironed into shapes. They are intended to be heated so I think they don't smell as bad as the pony beads, but more on that later.
I got my package at AC Moore's with a coupon! 40% off! The coupon makes it very inexpensive to make your own! One package give you TONS of beads!
They also carry smaller packages of them as well- and honestly, one small package is a lot as well. Some of the smaller packages were of one solid color so if you find yourself using a lot of black or white, this might be a good option for you.
These were glow in the dark beads, I am curious if they still glow in the dark after I melt them and how the colors will turn out. I have not used these yet.
These are pony beads. I like them because they are bigger and will melt into a bigger enamel dot. BUT....there are some cons to pony beads. They are bigger and make a nice enamel dot. They come in solid colors that I would use often in my crafting. BUT....the melt time varies greatly for these. Some people say pony beads are not meant to be melted and don't melt well or can't get them to melt at all. Sometimes if the beads are older- they don't melt well. I had to use the temp at 400 degrees, which I found melted them, but then I think one of the lighter colors discolored which I think burnt it. I would keep the heat on 350 and just melt it longer. At 400, my oven still took 25-30 minutes to melt them. Colors melted VERY inconstantly. White were very hard to melt. While the purple, actually burned. The smell is another factor. Pony beads are not meant to be melted, so you do have the plastic smell. I am sure this is not good for you to breathe in. I vented the house with the attic fan, which I'm sure my husband was thrilled as it was FREEZING outside. Due to all this, I'm not sure I will melt anymore pony beads. I just think the result was so different from color to color and many beads were wasted as they didn't melt enough or burnt. I'll stick with what did work!!!
I have done two different attempts with perler beads. Both worked well, with no bad smell. I will caution you, I burned half a tray because my temperature was still to high from melting a previous tray of pony beads. Slow and steady wins the race with perler beads. I set my temp on 350 and melted for about 30 minutes, I kept checking on them every 10 minutes.
This was some of the beads melted. I loved the striped beads- they gave an awesome enamel dot look! The striped ones melted very well. The pearl perler colors melted well but have a different look to the tops. I'm not sure I liked it, but I kept them because my kids liked them so maybe I was being overly picky?
Using a metal tray and parchment paper works best. You want a very FLAT surface- the flatter, the better! These beads will roll! You need to get the parchment paper very flat as well. I trimmed mine so it fit on my tray.
The most annoying part of the whole process is standing those beads up! Yes, every bead has to be standing on its end!!!
I love the striped beads!!!!
You can stack two beads on top of each other to get a bigger enamel dot but honestly those buggers roll and it is a pain to try and do. Maybe I need more patience!?
The black and white striped ones are my favorite! Overall, I would say this was a success! I will attach the enamel dots with some glossy accents. I got TONS of dots and even more to do. This is a good project when you are near the oven and can watch your beads closely. Yes, you can burn them! And the look isn't good when burnt! I don't think I could sit down and do the whole box at one time! Standing those beads up takes some time, about three- four trays and I'm done! Working this project in when I am doing something else is good. You need to let the bead stand and cool for about 15 minutes. Then you can easily remove them and sort them or throw them in a big jar! I reused my sheet of parchment each time, so the waste is very little!
Have you tried to make your own enamel dots? What are your thoughts?