01/30/2013 12:18 pm ET Updated Apr 01, 2013

DIY Sun Catchers


It's snowy and cold outside and the kids are just this side of driving you crazy. My husband and I own and operate three young sons, so trust me when I tell you that I completely understand!

These easy-to-make sun catchers will keep the little ones busy with a project that's cute, functional and (mostly) non-breakable.

For this project you will need:

Flat cake pan
Pony beads (plastic beads from the craft store)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Have the kids lay out the beads in a single layer in the pan.


We used a combination of clear beads and solid beads. Our beads came in a multi-pack used for making necklaces, so there were all different shapes and sizes. We simply sorted them by color and laid them out in a pattern. The key with beads of all shapes and sizes is to make sure that the entire surface of the pan is covered. Empty spots will leave holes in your final piece.

After the kids laid out their design, I went back and dropped a single bead into any spot that was looking a little thin.

Next, bake for 20 minutes or until all of the beads are completely melted. The smell is not great, but it's not horrible either. We put our pans in the oven and went downstairs to play.

20 minutes later, this is what we had.


As soon as the sun catcher came out of the oven, I used a chopstick to make a hole for hanging. The beads will cool and solidify QUICKLY, so work fast. Firmly press the chopstick through the melted beads to the bottom of the pan. Twirl the chopstick a bit so that it doesn't get stuck to the plastic.

Once the beads are firm, remove the chopstick (about 15 seconds).

Allow the sun catcher to cool in the pan (about 20 minutes) then turn the pan over to release. Once cooled, it will shrink a bit and should pop right out. If you need to bang the pan a bit, that's OK. It won't break.

Here is our finished result!


Problems you can solve:
- If you forgot [or where unable] to make the hole with the chop stick. You can drill a hole. Or, reheat in the oven until the sun catcher is soft. Press a new hole.

- If there are holes where the beads did not melt together, put the sun catcher back in the original pan, add a bead or two to the hole and bake again.

- If the sun catcher is too thin, return it to the original pan, add a layer of clear beads and bake again.

- If you break the sun catcher, place it back in the original pan, add a layer of clear beads and bake the whole think again.


For more recipes, crafts and other projects I'm working on be sure to visit my blog.

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