This project was inspired by another bloggers post, which I can’t find again on Pinterest, so will have to edit it back in later when I can find it. Anyway, I ended up doing something completely different to hers, because I couldn’t get my hands on the right kind of cups. The original mobile was created with plastic (recycling number 6) disposable drinking cups. I hunted high and low however, the only ones of them here were solid colours, so I had to settle for these shot glasses. The shot glasses are a lot thicker though, so the entire method required adjusting. As you can see in the gallery images, melting these at a low heat basically make little plastic globs that would only be good for playing jacks with. Eventually I worked out that by turning the heat up enough, I could get them to melt flat. However, they did emit a nasty smell at this temp, so I took the project out to the BBQ.
After melting the first cups, I added another cup, so there was enough plastic to cover the base of each muffin hole. I was not too worried about thickness, some ended up with 3 cups, I broke a few cups up to splash some other colour around. The BBQ was set to 220C with the lid down. After cooling, this is what you get;
They actually set really hard and when clicked together sound like glass rather than plastic. Makes them perfect for a wind chime. Just like with my previous sun catcher, I drilled holes in the sides of each piece using a normal drill bit. None of them broke this time, which was an extra win. Then we threaded some fishing line through, held each end together and threaded random shiny and transparent beads along the 2 lines. Admittedly I do have a ridiculously huge stash of beads and stones accumulated from over the years, but you can pick up cheap beads at $2 shops that will still make the project inexpensive if you were starting from scratch. The first line was 11cm, then I continued along making each one 1cm longer, there is 17 in total. My darling partner tied them on to the pre made metal loop (from spotlight – and much to his disappointment, he is not a crafty person). Once they were all tied on, I just slid them around until they were spaced evenly. And done!
** Please note, breathing in the fumes from melting plastic is probably not a very good idea. So if you do try this at home, try to use the BBQ or make sure the room is well ventilated, and preferably don’t be near the oven while its all happening. It not like burning tyres or anything, but it sure doesn’t smell like something you should be breathing in!
I did a trial run last night with the cups and love it. Excited to get home this afternoon and cook shot glasses lol. Question – I have the ring but what did you use to hang it? It looks like ribbon in the pics.
Fishing line with beads. 🙂
Just what I was looking for! Even before I read the post I laughed aloud at your mission statement! Wonderful! Thanks for doing all the experimentation. The plastic blobs are actually very pretty and could be used as beads! Well done!
I love your project. How did you manage to get it to balance so well? So the hoop is horizontal. I made a suncatcher with 4 evenly spaced strands (without the melted discs) and I couldn’t get it to balance to save my life! It tipped every which way!
How many strands did you hang it from? It’s to do with the stability above, not below. You need at least 3 if not 4 string above the circle so it can’t pull in one direction. 🙂
Do you put anything in the muffin tins to keep it from sticking?
No, I took the risk and they didn’t stick 🙂
Looks beautiful. How long does it take to melt the fully on the grill?
Hi Karen, thank you. To be honest this was quite a few years ago now so I don’t recall exactly, but I think around 20 minutes.
How long does it take for them to completely melt on the grill?
Very creative! I love windchimes and this is the prettiest I’ve ever seen.I want to try this.What size cup is suppose to be used,instead of shot glasses? Did you add food coloring to give the cup disc such a beautiful hue?
Hi. You would just need to experiment with different sized cups if you can’t get your hands on the shot glasses. They are already coloured so no extra colouring required.
You got my creative juices flowing. Love this idea! I will be looking for the plastic shot glasses. The comments and answers were quite helpful.
I tried this and love them! I made the hole with a toothpick after they were melted and just starting to cool. Worked great
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please tell me where you got the metal hoop as i cant find any?
Just from a sewing and craft store. The one I went to in Australia is called Spotlight. In hindsight I wish I had made a triangle out of sticks though. Think it would have looked nicer. 🙂
Are the fumes really toxic? I just found som plastic glasses I can use. Also the glasses I found are a little larger. Can I break them up a bit and then melt them?
I really can’t answer that question, sorry. I definitely would avoid breathing them in though, as I would any melting or burning product. As for the types of cups you have, you just need to experiment with them really. If they have that number on them, they should work. Good luck. 🙂
Yes, as mentioned at the start of the blog, you are looking for recycling number 6. 🙂
Guess I won’t be able to make them then as I don’t have a gas bbq ☹️
Some people have had luck using a portable electric grill if that is an option at all.
Very nice but will they fade in the sun
These have been up all these years and no noticable fading. 🙂
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Love this idea, I’m playing with all sorts of wind chimes and hangings and the moment – to the extent my adult daughters laugh at my ardent collection of nice shaped sticks! One thing – what size ring did you use? It’s hard to gauge by the pic.
A large hand span size. I think one made out of wood would look much nicer though. 🙂
Maybe a wooden embroidery hoop??? I see them all the time for really cheap prices at the thrift stores. BTW , really nice project, and kudos for being a stay at home mom. Mine are grown now, I’ve no regrets having stayed with them when they were little.
Your “fails” could be drilled and used as dangles, I think. No such thing as failure!
So if you can’t find colored cups then you can use food coloring?
I tried this and although it works mostly, I did run into a few issues. I preheated my bbq & tried to get it to about 220. It took a lot longer to melt them than 20 minutes. And I ended up doing them in 2 batches. Most of them were started yesterday then finished today because they weren’t completely melted. Re-melting them worked fine. The 2nd issue is that some of them stuck. And the 3rd issue is that you have to have perfectly spotless, clean, no non-stick pans. So far mine have all come out with black residue on them. Maybe it’ll come off when they are hung up outside. Also it depends what size of muffin tins you have how many cups you do. I have some that are smaller and some that are larger. My next batch I’m going to do in silicone liners so I can just flip them out easily.
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Where did you find the shot glasses? I would think a portable toaster oven would work. You may have to use a smaller muffin pan.
This is sooo cool. So many people just 100% copy someone else, and that’s why it’s hard to find anyone posting about melting any plastic other than #2 HDPE, which is useful for things but would never be glass-like, always softer and opaque. Thanks so much for your inspiring post. I came here when I saw the translucent, glassy disks held up catching the sun.
I love it, so pretty, I have tons of beads, I’m going to make one.hope mine turns out like that!
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Gorgeous! You can often find a metal ring like that in an old lamp shade. I have several I’m going to retire that have split fabric.
I made my first attempt to make these sun catcher discs and did something wrong. I tried three types of plastic cups and though they melted , they didn’t stay in the cupcake pans. I may need to try a different pan. I also had seen directions on how to do them in my oven, But I couldn’t find it again. I didn’t know how hot to make the oven, so I kind of guessed. So I may have had it, too, hot,🥺. My attempt in making these this time, makes me want to keep trying till I do it right. I love these discs and the wind chimes, so would l would love any suggestions and help I can get to succeed at this project,😀.
Thank you for your time. Have a wonderful blessed day.
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Hi All, I wanted to know if anyone has a tried using a toaster oven for this craft? If so did it come out as great as the BBQ? If so, settings?? I would love to try this, however I don’t have a BBQ. Thank You and Let’s Have Fun!
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