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Monday, April 14, 2014

Altered Frame and In Depth Look at Making Faux Enamel Dots

Happy Monday everyone, I don't know about you but I was busy, busy, busy this weekend. Altered projects were on my list of things to do and I tackled quite a few so be prepared for some of these to be posted this week including making reusable snack baggies.

First up is a frame I bought at Michaels (with a 40% coupon of course) that I planned to alter for a friend for her birthday but at the time I had too much going on so I never got around to it..that is until this weekend. I still plan on giving this to her, just not sure when.

The bling I found in some expo make N take kits that I stored away from the past few years. I cut it down from 4 strands wide into two. Added some ribbon trim, paper roses that I misted with Radiant Pearls glued in a few leaves added die cuts and used a Spellbinders die to cut the quote that was printed on the computer. It looked a bit bland all white so I opted to ink it with Tim Holtz Pumice Distressed Ink.

Enamel Dots

Next up, after reading about making your own enamel dots I decided I needed to venture into this since I use a lot of them and lets face it these things aren't cheap. Nearly $4-6 for a package. The bead of choice were Perler beads. I bought this package for $5 at Joanns.

I had read quite a bit up on these and noticed that some people were melting their Perler Beads at 325 degrees and others at 400 degrees, I decided to try both.

In order to get the smaller size you need to cut them in half. Most people were using a pill cutter but I didn't have one. After trying various things I did find a box cutter knife worked just fine.

 After cutting a bunch up I proceeded to cook my beads on a sheet of parchment paper in a 325 degree oven for 30 min

You can see them begin to melt at 10 minutes. Full size are in the front and the ones I cut in half are in the back.

Peeking in at 20 minutes you can see they are almost done but a little dimple still is present. 

And here they are at 30 minutes. So basically you have small and medium sizes.

Next I tried 400 degrees and they took about 15 minutes to melt and I decided to let them go even longer to see if they would flatten out a bit. These dots are a nice size but not as thin as what you normally purchase.

I also wondered if I could get larger dots and stacked two beads together (one on top of the other) and you can seem them below.  The don't quite expand as much as I would like. I tried squashing them when they came out of the oven but they didn't budge. Then I decided to try 500 degrees thinking that would work, but alas the beads became discolored and mishappen. In fact, if you cook too long they become ovalish in shape.

Then my son said to try the microwave, ok we did and it took 25 - 30  minutes before they melted, but they were much hotter than the oven version and I was able to squish these but they look more like discs than the dots.

Finally in my mix of oven temps I did try different mediums. As I mentioned above I did use parchment paper but also tried aluminum foil and a silcone mat. The dots tended to stick to the aluminum foil.

Last I wanted even smaller dots so curiosity got the best of me and I halfed the bead and then quartered it.
For the most part they turned out pretty good, some were a bit ovalish.

Most of these dots came out perfect. I would say 10% of your batch will have some sort of flaw. Are they perfect, no but while they are not exactly a perfect enamel dot that you would buy from a manufacturer, they are pretty good especially if you are more concerend with saving $ on products.

Bottom line if you're interested buy a box of beads ($5 or use a coupon) from Joanns (I read Walmart also sells them), some parchment paper and a pill cutter if you aren't comfortable with a box cutter. Then cook these at 325 degrees for 30 minutes and if you are in a rush then 400 degrees for 15 -20 minutes depending on your oven.

Sorry for the extra long post, hopefully you found some useful information. Wed I am show casing stamped note pads.


  1. Thank you for sharing all of the experimenting you with the beads, Leslie. I've wanted to try this as we have a huge container of the beads. Love how your frame turned out. So pretty!

  2. Such a pretty altered frame, Leslie, and thanks so much for sharing your process with the DIY enamel dots!

  3. Such a pretty frame!

    I'm really wanting to try homemade enamel dots...thanks for sharing this, I'll keep in mind when I eventually experiment with it :)