I've seen a few examples of these on the Internet and decided to give it a try. It turned out great, but I must warn you: Melting plastic creates toxic fumes. Open windows and have a fan running to make sure you don't knock yourself out/grow a third arm.
- Plastic beads (I used large pony beads, but any size will work, as long as they're plastic)
- Metal bowl, cupcake tin, bread tin, etc
- Windows!!! And a fan!
To make it:
1. Line the beads in the bowl/metal object. You can also make patterns and arrangements on cookie sheets, or use a cookie cutter and place them inside. They don't all have to lie flat, but make them only one bead deep. If you're using a bowl, stack the beads taller than you think you want it; when the bowl melts, they will sink down and it will be much shallower.
2. Preheat the oven to around 350 degrees and pop your creations in. I ended up turning up the oven because I'm impatient, and I didn't see any big problems with that, but it definitely smells more.
3. Keep checking the beads. It'll take about 20 minutes or more to melt.
4. When it looks soupy and completely melted, pull the bowl out of the oven and allow the plastic to cool.
5. Flip it over and tap the bottom with a hammer or spoon to dislodge the plastic. It should come out relatively easily.
Here are some other projects I've found made of melted beads:
A vase. Melt the beads in a circular pie tin, then lay the disc flat on a soda can and remelt it.
A windchime. Melt them on a cookie sheet arranged in cookie cutters.
Artwork. Arrange the beads on a cookie sheet to form a picture.
Lampshade. Create a tinfoil mold of a standing plastic lampshade, and arrange the beads in it.