Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn Sun Catchers

{Apple Sun Catcher by Mia, Age 4}
 We started making sun catchers back in March and have continued through the summer and into the fall. I don't see why not. Sun catchers aren't just for spring and summer. Shapes we tried included an apple, a pumpkin, Indian corn, and an oak leaf. I like doing sun catchers because they are simple enough for toddlers to do provided that you have done some gotten your materials cut in advance.

{Leaf Sun Catcher by Mia, Age 4}
  • pencil 
  • clear tape
  • scissors
  • clear contact paper
  • construction paper
  • tissue paper 
  • paper trimmer (optional)
  • hole punch (optional)
  • yarn, string, ribbon, etc. for hanging (optional)
  1. If you are making a shape that is symmetrical, 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. If you are making a shape that isn't symmetrical, simply draw (or trace) your shape and cut it out on two pieces of paper. Tip: If you are using two pieces of paper, you will need to make sure they stay together so that you get identical fall shapes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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."
  4. Have your child stick tissue paper squares onto the contact paper fall 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.)
  5. Layer the second piece of construction paper on top of the first, making sure that the fall shapes line up.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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.
{Pumpkin Sun Catcher by Logan, Age 2}

{Indian Corn Sun Catcher by Mia, Age 4}

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