I had my oven preheated to 400°F and had a pizza pan that I covered with parchment paper. I used an older pan just in case something went wrong. I set out the beads, making sure they were spaced a little bit apart and set them on one 'hole' so they wouldn't roll around. They actually stayed in place pretty well. I put them in the oven, set my timer for 15 minutes and went to my office.
About 9 minutes later, I could smell something funky. It was bad. Really, really bad! I immediately shut off the oven, set the pan of melted beads in the garage and opened up two doors to air the house out quickly. I used regular pony beads, purchased at Wal-Mart. I have heard that others used Perler brand beads but have heard mixed reviews over whether these smell or not. I have heard of a lot of people melting their beads in toaster ovens on a back porch or garage. So take my experience for what it's worth and try it out yourself if you have the right set-up.
But for me, the smell was not worth the savings. I did love the beads even though they didn't melt perfectly since I took them out early. Most still had a small dimple in the top. They were shiny and bright and I will probably end up using them on some project even though they aren't perfect. And although the beads are definitely cheaper than enamel dots, by the time you calculate the use of glue and the beads themselves, they beads are still not a 'cheap' option, especially depending on how many colors you want. For me, the company's will win out because that smell was toxic level bad. I already have a ton of enamel dots anyway, so I will take this as a sign that I don't need anymore at this time. Unless Michael's puts some on sale ;)
Thanks for reading and watching! Have a great day!