#1. When you figure out what type of shapes you want, make sure it's made of either Teflon or any metal that your bakeware comes in. I want to make this clear so y'all don't go using any of that high temperature rubber stuff as a mold. Also use pans with unique shapes. I used my two pineapple upside down cake molds for the tiny suns and flowers hanging from the two bigger heart and round shaped cake molds. It looked cool. Also please make sure you use beads that are clear. Solid colored beads don't cut it. Also you can use any shape beads together; just as long as they are nearly the same size for melting. Bigger round beads take a heck of a lot longer to melt down flat.
#2. You do NOT need to spray with Pam or put any kind of layer of grease in the pan. We are dealing with plastic beads here. These little things will not stick to the metal pans.
#3. DO NOT put the pans in cool water to cool them off faster. The plastic that has melted will curl and it wont be pretty. Just take the pans out of the oven when the plastic is fully melted flat and place the pans either on a marble counter top or a pot holder. The plastic will start to shrink in the pan and it's fun to watch. The plastic will pop out on it's own. If you have long wooden skewers use them to get any molded plastic out that might be stuck because of an air bubble. Don't use metal skewers because it will mess up your pans and scratch the plastic.
#4. I know I said to use a single layer of plastic beads in the pans but that was because the recipe called for it. Put a shit load in there. At least 2 to 3 layers of beads. It makes for a sturdier sun catcher that won't break so easily when or if bad weather knocks it down outside. You will have to leave the pans in longer but if you start them on the top part of the oven while another bunch is finishing up on the bottom part of the oven, it saves time. Also you DO have to eyeball this stuff. Don't even bother to time it cause beads 3 layers thick are going to take longer.
#5. I will stress this more than anything in the world ... MAKE THIS STUFF IN THE WINTER WHEN IT'S COLD !!!!! I liked to have died of the heat from sitting in the kitchen. No amount of cool air from an air conditioner is going to keep you from passing out. I had to go lay down on the couch in the cool living room just to finish this shit. The smell of melting plastic is also dangerous so really, when I say open your windows in the kitchen; YOU BETTER DAMNED WELL OPEN THEM OR DIE!!!
Now for the pictures of my two sun catchers I made this weekend. You will see little air bubbles in them, that's natural. Some of the pictures are a little blurry because the breeze was blowing them. But they turned out really nice. David was impressed too.