I recently wrote about creating Christmas tree decorations from melted crayons to give as teacher gifts. Another teacher gift we’ve done are melted bead Christmas ornaments. While the process to make these if fairly similar the results look totally different.
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Equipment You’ll Need to Make Melted Bead Christmas Ornaments
First you’ll need some *pony beads (had no idea they were called that until I made these). I had a selection of solid colour, opaque and glitter but you might prefer to choose one type and stick to a theme. These Christmas coloured pony beads* would be great. Next you need some *cookie cutters. I was a bit wary about using my favourite Christmas ones in the oven but they all survived the process unscathed. You’ll need some kind of flat baking tray to cook them on, again, the tray survived the process just fine. A functioning oven (something we seem to be struggling with in my house lately) is also important. To hang the melted bead Christmas ornaments, you’ll also need some string/ribbon/thread/dental floss at a push (we have this metallic thread*) and either a glue gun or a drill (and the ability to use it).
How to Prepare the Melted Bead Christmas Tree Decorations
I decided to very lightly oil my baking tray before I started. I had visions of them becoming stuck to the tray and I didn’t think the tray would look so good hanging off the tree. I’ve no idea if it had any effect but they didn’t stick so I’m standing by it.
Once the kids have finished arguing about who gets which cutter and you’ve lost the will to live, place your cookie cutters on the tray. You then need to place a single layer of beads inside each cutter. If small children are doing this with you they will of course be utterly random (like mine). If you’re alone/have older kids, you might be able to create some kind of pattern. A tree might be mostly green beads with a few coloured ones for baubles. A stocking might have a different colour ring at the top. You can also use the clear beads on there own to create an ornament that will catch the light.
Once you’re happy with your patterns/the mess your children have made, pop them in the oven at 200c for about 20 minutes. When you take them out the beads will be burning hot liquid plastic so be very careful (perhaps lock the kids in another room for 10 minutes). Leave the melted bead Christmas Tree Decorations to cool completely, screaming “Don’t Touch” at your kids roughly every 20 seconds. Better still, go out for a bit. When they are completely cool you can pop them out of the cookie cutters. Mine came out very easily.
Stringing the Melted Bead Christmas Decorations
I was a bit worried they would shattered when we drilled the holes but they were actually fine. Chris used a very small drill bit to make a hole near the top of the decoration (I could have done this myself but I’m not really to be trusted with Chris’s stuff since I broke his DVD player back in 2007).
If you don’t have a drill (or are not allowed to use it) you can attach string to the back with a glue gun but it won’t hang quite so well.
Another alternative is to add a metal bead in the relevant place before you put the ornaments in the oven. While the plastic beads will melt, in theory the metal won’t, leaving you a bead through which you can thread your string. I haven’t tried this method but the theory seems sound.
And there you have it, cheap Christmas gifts for teachers that they may or may not treasure for years to come (depending on how well behaved your little darlings are at school). You might also like my other posts about seasonal process arts.
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