Independence Day is just around the corner. Although we leave the real fireworks to the pros, we put that inspiration to use to create these captivating colorful suncatchers. All you need a few simple ingredients to make a fabulous DIY suncatcher or window cling!
Your guests are sure to ooh and ahhh over these deceptively easy designs. And when we say this craft is for the birds, we mean it can literally save feathery little lives.
Windows, especially large picture windows present a danger to birds. Birds often collide with them because the glass reflects the surroundings- grass, trees, bushes and open sky. Birds don’t realize they are flying smack dab into a solid surface until it’s too late. To learn more about keeping neighborhood birds safe take a virtual trip to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (Also, your budding birdwatcher will love this book.)
How to Make an Easy DIY Suncatcher
- Tablecloth or something to cover your workspace.
- Decoupage medium like Mod Podge- if you don’t consider that a household supply, find a bottle of white glue and mix it really well with water in a ratio of 2 parts glue to 1 part water.
- Acrylic paint- 2-3 colors. (Optional: glitter and gems to embellish.)
- Clean plastic lids or other shallow containers with about a 3-inch or larger diameter- as many as you can find. I looked around the house sampling different materials.
- Toothpicks- 1 or 2 per child.
- 6-8 inches of thin ribbon for hanging (optional).
Prepare your work area.
Cover a plastic lid or container with a thin layer of decoupage glue. The thicker the pool of liquid you create, the longer it will take to dry, so, parents, you probably want to help with this step.
Add paint. You can see two methods below- in the top GIF, I add one small dot of paint and spread it with a toothpick to look like a firework. In the bottom GIF, I created concentric circles in different colors. Then I used the same technique for a more dramatic effect. Tiny fingers can also be used to drag the paint to the edges of the lid.
If you think you’re going to want to hang the sun catcher rather than use it as a window cling, attach ribbon to the wet glue, so you will have a built-in hanger when it dries.
Less is more when it comes to the design. I encourage you to have lots of lids available so they can make several simple suncatchers that create a dazzling faux fireworks display. Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if your child wants to go nuts with paint, glitter, and the swirls, that’s your call. Just be sure to wipe up before they head off to jump on the white couch. But really, try and keep them at the table long enough for the glue to dry on the hands, so they can peel it off. Why is that so satisfying?
Watching the suncatcher cure is a bit more exciting than watching paint dry, but it’s a slow process. Drying can take anywhere from 3-7 days depending on the depth of your mold. Place them on a flat surface where they can rest undisturbed. Check in once a day, and you’ll be able to note the progress.
The decoupage medium in the freshly completed project is opaque, meaning that light will not shine through it. When the suncatcher is dry, the decoupage area will be translucent, meaning that some light will shine through, but it won’t be completely see-through, or transparent. As you can see in my finished version, the painted parts will remain opaque.
When it’s dry, carefully peel the suncatcher away from the plastic. You should be able to stick it on your window, but if you can’t, either glue on a bit of ribbon (ah, more waiting for it to dry!) or poke a hole in it through which to run a string or ribbon.
You can find more of our favorite STEM and Maker activities here.