Suncatchers are brightly-colored, sparkling ornaments for your windows. Made of transparent and translucent materials such as glass or plastic resins, or reflective surfaces such as small mirrors and salvaged CDs, they create a lively feature that brightens up any room. Suncatchers turn sunbeams into splashes of color or shimmering sparkles that dance across the walls. Suncatchers are easy to craft at home, using kits available from many craft stores or art suppliers. You can also design your own suncatchers from simple household materials.
Plastic Suncatcher Kits
Make your own suncatchers using simple store-bought kits. One very popular kind of suncatcher kit consists of a picture or design outlined by a raised metal frame and tiny beads of colored plastic in two or three shades. The frame is placed on a baking tray or cookie sheet, and the empty spaces in the design are filled with the beads. The suncatcher is then heated in the oven so that the plastic beads melt together into a smooth pool of color. This creates an attractive stained-glass effect. Other kinds of kits use transparent plastic outlines that can be colored with special paints.
DIY Plastic Suncatchers
You can also purchase frames and plastic beads separately to personalize your design. Create your own frames using aluminum foil, folded into narrow strips and shaped into pictures or patterns, and filled with your favorite colors. Mix beads of two or more different colors to create new effects. Lay the design on top of textured surfaces, and these will be imprinted in the finished suncatcher. Use aluminum foil to create different textures: crease the foil to create ripples. Scribble designs on the reverse of the foil with a ballpoint pen.
Create suncatchers from blank or unwanted CDs. Simply hang them from attractive threads and place in your window, or make CD chains by tying many CDs together in a column. Cut CDs into sections using a box-cutter and a steel ruler, then bore holes in these and string them together with wire or strong thread to make patterns. Cut shapes out of the CD to create a design; the spaces left when you cut away the design can be covered with cellophane or tissue-paper to give the effect of colored glass.
Parchment Paper Suncatchers
Use plain baking parchment decorated with felt-tipped pens to make stained-glass effect suncatchers. Cut a design out of cardstock or construction paper, then apply glue to the back of this and cover with the baking parchment. Color in the shapes outlined by the card, or draw designs inside them. Color the cardstock with black or opaque metallic pens, then hang in the window.
Pebble and Cellophane Suncatchers
Create suncatchers from glass pebbles wrapped in clear cellophane to resemble candies. Tie the "candies" together a few inches apart by wrapping a thick strand of nylon monofilament around the twisted ends and securing with a knot. Experiment with colored glass pebbles and different colors of cellophane.