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Cool Garden Art

By Melting Pony Beads

This cool garden art started out as a little dream of mine to make a faux stained glass panel above our porch swing. But something funny happened along the way and it just became our whimsical garden art.

My disappointment turned to delight when I figured out how awesome it looked against the woods, even though the final result was less-than-perfect.

So allow us to share with you the story of our DIY yard art.
Cool garden art - a DIY project by melting pony beads


The beads are fun to look at if nothing else! And sorting them into these glass dishes really didn't take me much time.



The type of beads you need to make our cool garden art project


Our whimsical yard art is the size of a large cookie sheet so I bought plenty of pony beads. To get the watercolor effect like ours, we purchased translucent ones. I found these at Walmart.

Notice that I also bought a package of clear translucent pony beads, too. I use them in the background mostly. Total cost under $10.



Sorting the beads by color into small cups made our cool garden art project go more quickly!


To begin this project, I sorted the beads by color into small cups. This is optional, but made the project easier in the long run.



Cool garden art - I started by making a simple flower pattern on the cookie sheet


I started by making a flower pattern. As you will see though, I changed up the pattern somewhat as I got further along.

We didn't find it necessary to grease the cookie sheet. The beads didn't stick to it, although I was wondering if they would.

And do you see the letter in the middle of the cookie sheet (like an upside down "M")? It made a pattern onto our art. No big deal in my mind, but something to know when selecting your cookie sheet. Smooth might be better.



Cool garden art - I added some leaf and ferns to the bead pattern


I added some fern-like patterns and more flowers. The pony bead pattern we made here is very ad-hoc. The beads are small so patience is required in moving the beads around.



Cool garden art - I used clear translucent beads for the background


After I laid out all the flowers and leaves I wanted, I started filling in the background with clear beads.



Cool garden art - I used clear translucent beads for the background


Then more clear beads. It is really looking like something now.



Cool garden art - I used clear translucent beads for the background but when I ran out I used up the yellow and orange beads I had on hand


Nearly done, but I ran out of clear beads so I resorted to what we had left.



Cool garden art - I used clear translucent beads for the background but when I ran out I used up the yellow and orange beads I had on hand


I started filling in the remaining background with yellow beads.



Cool garden art - I used clear translucent beads for the background but when I ran out I used up the yellow and orange beads I had on hand


And then I used up all of the yellow beads.



Cool garden art - the completed project is not perfect but we like it


And here you see the completed pattern.

I finished the background with orange beads. You may want to plan your pattern better than I did. For me, this was simply an off-the-cuff fun project with little to no planning involved.



Enjoy Our Two Minute Time Lapse Video



Enjoy Our Two Minute Time Lapse Video







Whimsical garden art made by melting beads in our bbq grill


We decided to melt the pony beads in our pre-heated grill at about 450 degrees. We didn't want the plastic fumes in the house. So into the grill it goes!

Although I don't have a pic to show you, we put the lid down while the beads were melting.

I had read online to melt the beads for around 20 minutes. When I opened the grill lid to look at them after 15 minutes, I learned that the grill does not heat evenly.

That was a surprise! So some of the beads were melted and some were still whole. So we turned the cookie sheet around several times to see if that would help.



Cool garden art - melting the beads in our grill was a good move for keeping the fumes out of the house but we learned that our grill did not heat evenly


After another 10 minutes, we realized that we needed to take the cookie sheet off the heat. The beads that were melted were starting to burn just a bit and the other beads were still not fully melted. Oh, well!



Cool garden art - imperfect but still fun to look at


We let the beads cool down for a little while and then turned the cookie sheet over to see if the "stained glass" would pop out. Surprisingly, it did pretty well. The only problem we had was crumbling of the corners and edges where the beads didn't melt.

Do you see what we mean? A little sad.



Throwaway Project or Cool Garden Art?

Cool garden art or throwaway project?


At first, I thought it was a "throwaway project" since it wasn't perfect. Not even close. But then I realized, it would look awesome in the yard somewhere. Yes, unplanned but cool garden art.

So here you can see our watercolor garden art in various places in our yard. And I decided there is no right or wrong way to display it. All ways are fun. Sideways, upside down. It's just for fun. It looks kind of magical in fact.



Our garden art looks nice next to this big rock

Next to a rock looks kind of nice




Our DIY yard art looks good next to our bunny statue

Along side our family of bunnies is good, too




Cool garden art - close-up of the imperfections

Here is a close-up so you can see the imperfections. Yet, it still kind of rocks.




Love seeing the light shine through our whimsical garden art

The light shining through makes our yard art look intriguing!




What Does This Project Inspire in You?

Cool garden art - kind of a spin on watercolors and stained glass. Do you like it?


What do you think? Even though we didn't get our stained glass panel above our porch swing, this was still an enjoyable project that we appreciate seeing in the trees along the side of our home.

We hope it inspires you to try something like this. Even it something tiny just to put on a window ledge. It's all good!











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