I remembered that last summer, my kids and I made little sun catchers from melted beads, and I thought I'd try it on a bigger scale. Here are the steps I took to make this cute stand.
1. I used a dollar store pizza pan, but you can use whatever you like. I wanted it bigger than a cake pan so that a cake would actually fit on it.
2. Pour pony beads in your color choice onto the pan. You can be as haphazard or as precise as you like. I just grouped mine a little but really had no pattern in mind at all. For this project, I used red, clear, and clear with a little gold glitter in them. It is important to use the transparent kind. When we made sun catchers, we found that the opaque ones didn't melt as easily and some of them actually browned in the oven. Not pretty. Oh, and it's come to my attention that not everyone calls these "pony beads" (even though that's what it says on the package), so check out the photo to see what I'm talking about. Just those inexpensive plastic beads kids use to string onto yarn or whatever.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the pan in for 25 minutes. That's all it took with mine, but it should be all melty with no "bead form" remaining. Yours might take a bit longer. Just keep an eye on it.
4. Expect a little stink. It's melting plastic, so yeah, there will be a smell. It wasn't too bad when I made this, and it dissipated pretty much as soon as I took them out of the oven. If this bothers you or concerns you, you can probably do it in a toaster oven outdoors or maybe even use the grill.
5. After the beads are completely melted, carefully take the pan out of the oven and let it cool. It makes a loud cracking noise as it cools and hardens. Don't worry about that. That's normal.
6. Once everything is all cool, your plastic goody will pop right out of that pan. Honest, it really will! No, you don't grease the pan. It seems like it would stick, but it really shouldn't.
7. For the base, I used this little red container from the dollar store. If they don't have the color you want, you can always paint it. Then just turn it upside-down and use a strong adhesive (like E6000) to bond the plastic to the base.
That's it! Then you have a fun, custom-made cake stand.