Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easter Sun Catchers

These are the sun catchers that we made for Easter. There are lots of fun shapes that you can make for Easter, both religious and secular, and some that are a combination of both. The Easter egg, for example, was originally a Pagan symbol of fertility and new life, but has since become incorporated as a symbol of the resurrection of Christ. The chick is another symbol of new life or re-birth. The life cycle of the butterfly is used to represent Jesus' life. The first stage, the caterpillar, symbolizes His life on Earth. The cocoon stage represents the crucifixion and burial, and the adult butterfly is used to symbolize the resurrection. The cross, of course, stands for the crucifixion but also for Christ's victory over death. The Easter bunny is one I'm not too sure about. I've read that its origins are somewhat like Santa Claus, but it is also a symbol of abundant life. In my opinion, the idea of a benevolent being who brings joy to children can't help but seem to fit into Christianity in some way, although I'll admit I'm stretching a bit here. Additional symbols that you could make sun catchers for include Easter baskets, flowers (particularly Lilies), hot cross buns, palm branches, Easter bonnets, candles, and lambs. You can make these sun catchers as simple or as complex as you like, and I have found that they can be done with toddlers on up with some parent prep. I think they are beautiful for spring, and they remind me a bit of stained glass windows, which is a lovely thought during the Lenten season. John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV).

{Chick and Easter Egg Sun Catchers by Logan, 19 Months}
  • pencil 
  • clear tape
  • scissors
  • clear contact paper
  • colored paper
  • tissue paper (any color)
  • paper trimmer (optional)
  • hole punch (optional)
  • yarn, string, ribbon, etc. for hanging (optional)

{Bunny by Mia, Age 4}
{Butterfly by Mia, Age 4}
  1. Cut tissue paper into small squares. Older kids can do this themselves. We used approximately 1/2 inch squares, but you could make yours bigger. 
  2. Fold a piece of construction paper in half like a hamburger (or use two pieces of construction paper if you would like to make a larger sun catcher).
  3. Draw an Easter shape (or trace around a cookie cutter or a picture from the Internet) onto one half (or one piece) of the paper, and cut out the shape. Do not draw your design too close to the edges of the paper. Cut paper in half along the fold. You should now have two pieces of paper with identical cut-outs.  Tip: When making symmetrical shapes such as the butterfly, cross, or Easter egg, you can gently fold your paper in half like a hot dog before drawing and cutting out your shape. This makes it go a bit faster, and hopefully it creates less frustration, too.  Tip: If you are using two pieces of paper, you will need to make sure they stay together so that you get identical Easter shapes.
  4. Cut two pieces of clear contact paper (I used both a paper trimmer and scissors for this.) so that they are 1/4 inch larger than the construction paper all the way around. Tip: Do not remove backing from contact paper until you are ready to use it.
  5. Adhere one piece of paper to the clear contact paper so that there is a border of 1/4 inch all around the paper. Tip: Slowly peel the contact paper away from the backing as you smooth the construction paper down onto the contact paper. This way you don't end up with "bubbles."
  6. Have your child stick tissue paper squares onto the contact paper Easter shape until it is filled. (Mia has created her own technique for filling in small spaces: crumpling up the tissue paper into balls. It makes the sun catcher a bit bulkier, but it does work, and I think it adds a bit of visual interest to the design.)
  7. Layer the second piece of construction paper on top of the first, making sure that the Easter shapes line up.
  8. Add the second piece of contact paper over the top, smoothing it down as you go. Trim away excess if desired, but don't trim too much or the sun catcher will not stay together. 
  9. You can display your sun catcher in a window using clear tape. Another option is to use a hole punch to make two holes near the top, thread some ribbon or yarn through the holes, tie it off, and then hang your sun catcher.

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