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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Make a Sun Catcher! (Now, where is that SUN?)

We've been in the house way too much this week. My sons and I have been taking turns being sick for the past couple of weeks, so we've been laying low, trying to get better, and trying to keep our germs to ourselves.

We've played outside a bit, but mostly it's been a rotation of Play Doh, crayons, foam stickers, baking cookies, domino runs, puzzles, and blocks. Repeat.

Yesterday we broadened our crafty horizons and made our own sun catchers. It was really fun, they look awesome, and most likely you have all the materials at home. This craft was perfect for my four-year-old and we did this while my two-year-old was napping; I don't think he has the patience for this one. It's probably best for ages 3 and up. Enjoy!

Spring Time Sun Catchers

1. Assemble your materials:

  • Newspaper or newsprint paper
  • Wax paper
  • Adult scissors & safety scissors for the kiddies
  • Old and/or broken crayons
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Iron 
  • Small bowls (optional)
  • Empty cereal boxes (optional)

2. Spread some pieces of newspaper over the work area. Set your iron to the lowest, non-steam setting and place it out of the way until needed.

3. If your child is old enough to use a pencil sharpener, you can skip this step. Otherwise, remove the labels from the crayons and use the pencil sharpener to create piles or bowls of colorful shavings. I found that Creatology brand crayons worked best, and that Crayola was the most difficult to work with. The cheaper crayons were more crumbly. And in this case, crumbly is good.

If you don't have a pencil sharpener handy, the web site where I originally found this idea called for a box grater. Just know that it is nearly impossible to clean the crayon from the grater so it will become the Crafting Grater from this day forward. You can try this, but I don't recommend it unless:
     a. You have a spare grater because your college roommate also brought one, but moved out first and left the grater behind 
     b. You were planning on replacing your current grater anyway

4. Either you or your child will need to cut two copies of a shape from wax paper. Free-form is great but if you want to get fancy, draw a shape on the inside of an empty cereal box, cut it out as a template, and then cut two copies from wax paper. You could also trace a shape from a coloring book if drawing is not your specialty.

5. If you skipped Step #3, have your child hold the pencil sharpener over one of the wax shapes and shave some crayons. Otherwise, have your child spread the crayon shavings around to cover one of the shapes. We found that you don't need much of the darker colors since the wax will spread. What you see below is actually too much.

6. This step is for adults only: Carefully place the second wax sheet on top of the crayons, then cover with a few more sheets of newspaper. Iron on top of the newspaper for a few seconds, then check on the sun catcher. Every iron is different, but it should take less than a minute to melt the crayon shavings.

You can hang the sun catchers on a window, or punch a hole in the top and use string to hang several from the ceiling in a sunny spot. Or just show off your creativity sporting your most adorable expression!

Maybe if enough of us are sporting sun catchers in our windows, it will bring the sunshine back to this season. Thanks for reading and have fun being crafty!

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