There are many simple crafts for kids, but one of the quickest and most enjoyable to make are suncatcher crafts. You can stick a suncatcher to a window or hang it on a string indoors.
This is such an easy craft to let your sun shine in and brighten up the whole day. (I posted mine to Facebook and Pinterest the other day and my friends fell in love.)
What exactly are suncatchers?
Suncatchers reflect bright light. They can be plain small squares or even beautiful works of art. There are many different styles of painted and stained glass suncatchers, but this one is one of the easiest to make.
They’re a welcome addition to pretty much anywhere.
Aside from being bright and colorful, rainbow suncatcher crafts are quite versatile. There are many methods for making one, which would determine what kind of materials you need to use. For this one, you only need a handful of things that you can find at home:
- Glue (white and/or clear)
- Black acrylic paint
- Colored permanent markers or food coloring
- Contact paper or a flat plastic surface
- Double-sided tape
- A printable template, if necessary
This type of suncatcher is something you can place on a window, but you can add a string and a puncher to the materials if you want to hang it in a sunny place instead.
What makes suncatchers really beautiful is that they often mimic a kind of stained glass effect. Since this is a kid’s craft, you don’t have to use any kind of glass at all. Achieving this effect is, in fact, a great exercise to teach your kids about geometric shapes and color harmonies.
If you’re familiar with typical stained glass designs, you’ll notice that these windows often have a dark and heavy outline that makes it look like the entire window isn’t made of just one piece, but of different glass pieces with various colors in and geometric shapes.
Instructions for Making a Suncatcher
When making suncatcher crafts, you can “cut the glass” this way:
- Step 1: Pick an easy design and draw an outline of it, but don’t use the contact paper or clear plastic yet. To avoid any mistakes, it’s best to practice on paper first. Otherwise, you can print a free template from some of the many crafts websites that offer these.
- Step 2: Cut the glass by breaking the blank space inside the outline into different shapes. Using straight lines is recommended. If you want to make a circular shape, you can do this by drawing in polygons.
- Step 3: Place the piece of paper with your final design or template under the clear contact paper, sticky side down or stiff plastic surface.
- Step 4: Mix some white glue and black acrylic paint. The paint should be thick enough that when the glue dries, it’s more opaque than transparent. Use this mixture to trace the outline and inner lines.
- Step 5: Let the glue dry. Keep in mind that glue spreads out a little when it dries so this will result in thicker lines, which is perfect.
Once the glue dries, it’s time to apply color inside the shapes. There are two ways you can do this depending on the availability of your materials:
- Method 1: Use permanent colored markers like Sharpies. This is perhaps the easiest technique that won’t result in any messes. Avoid washable markers as this might not stick to the contact paper or clear plastic surface.
- Method 2: Mix some clear glue with food coloring. Brush this mixture inside the inner shapes.
Whatever method you use, an important thing to remember is that the colors inside the black lines should let light pass through. Acrylic paint can also be used as a substitute for food coloring, but the mixture should be more parts clear glue than paint.
Once you’ve applied the colors, set the suncatcher aside so it can dry. Cut the shape out following the outline. Use double-sided tape to stick your finished beautiful suncatchers to the window.
If you’re using stiff clear plastic, you can also punch a hole at the top and use some string, so you can hang the suncatcher from the ceiling or tie it to a horizontal pole.
Make sure to place the suncatcher in a location that gets an abundant amount of sunlight.
As you can see, sun catcher crafts are pretty easy to make. You can even easily change up the materials if some are unavailable. For instance, instead of using markers or the glue-food coloring mixture, you can cut out colored tissue paper or cellophane and use those to mimic a stained glass or mosaic effect.
Another alternative would be to use colored glass stones or gems. Since these can be a bit heavy, contact paper or stiff clear plastic might not cut it. Instead, you can use a transparent plastic lid from an old tupperware or container as the base.
Paper plates can also serve as a good frame for a suncatcher. You can cut a hole through the middle of the paper plate and stick a clear piece of plastic to cover the hole, which can serve as a window. Here, you can use any of the methods previously mentioned for “staining” the glass.
Try out any of these easy suncatcher crafts and activity ideas and your kids will definitely have a fun, creative time!