DIY Enamel Dots & A Giveaway!

Finally - I've been planning this tutorial for a while, because it makes me so happy, but life has been hectic! But here we are, DIY enamel dots!! :) I'd been looking for a great way to make these pretty little things, because they are SO fun to use, but boy are they expensive! The best part about this tutorial is that I spent about $5 on the one thing you need - Perler beads - and I'm going to be able to make 1,000 of these at the same price as one pack normally is! I got a bag of pastel colored beads off of Amazon, but I bet a lot of you have these lying around at home anyway. By the way, I have to give full credit to this post on Two Peas In A Bucket, which is where I got the idea for this in the first place!

Okay, so let's get started! First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Then, get out a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and line up your little beads, making sure that they're all standing up, like this:

Then, you're going to bake those bad boys until they're all nice and melted, which should take 20-25 minutes. It'll differ based on your oven, but it should be easy to tell when they're done - just until they're all perfectly domed shaped and the dimple in the middle has disappeared. This is what they look like about halfway through:

If you're worried about fumes and safety, not to worry - there should be absolutely NO smell or fumes from Perler beads, because they're specifically designed to be melted... maybe not quite like this, though hehe ;) Anyway, you'll end up with LOTS of cute little dots, all at once!!

So it's THAT easy! And since it's so easy, why not try and experiment and come up with more ideas?? So next I tried making some bigger enamel dots. I like to have variety, ya know what I mean? Simple solution: stack two beads on top of each other, like so:

This is a little harder than the normal sized beads because the beads tend to move around or fall off. One idea (which I haven't tried yet, admittedly) is to put a tiny amount of water in between the two beads you stack, so that the cohesion will stick them together temporarily, but the moisture will also bake off. And you can see I got a little crazy and stacked some different colored ones on top, just to see what would happen... I'll show you the results later! Here's what these looked like half way through...

Some of them were too crooked and came out ovally, but they're definitely still usable unless you're a perfectionist ;)

Then, to have a THIRD option for sizes, I cut a few enamel dots in half (NOT through the hole - it should be like a cross-section, if that makes sense). I found the easiest way to do this was with an X-acto knife, applying pressure and not trying to move the blade back and forth with a knife. The beads are soft enough that it shouldn't be too hard.

So here are the different kinds of beads I came up with:

There's still lots more to experiment with, but I've already used these on a lot of recent projects. If you need some ideas for how to use them, here they are all lined up on a card as a nice design element...

...Or you can have them scattered around like this...

... or use both methods, like I did on a recent layout!

Since these aren't self adhesive, I used a tiny glue dot on the back of each one, but a strong liquid adhesive like Glossy Accents would work wonderfully.

Okay, so let's end with something even more fun - a GIVEAWAY! I mean, I did buy a bag of 1,000 beads, so I'm in no shortage over here, ha! So to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, telling me how you like to use your enamel dots. For a BONUS entry (or looots of bonus entries, depending on how many friends you tag), you can follow the rules on my Instagram post.

I'll pick a winner on April 8, 2014 at 12PM EST! Good luck, and thanks for stopping by! :)