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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Another Sun Catcher [+ quick fixes]



A few weeks ago we made sun catchers just for fun.  Our first batch is here . That project came out great so we tried it again.


Each year we make a little thank you gift for the kids teachers.  The first sun catchers we did were such a big hit, we decided to make a slightly larger version for the teacher to hang in her window.

This looks like glass, but it's not.  It's made of pony beads and is (mostly) unbreakable.

We made this one a little different than last time.  Here's what you'll need.

9" cake pan
pony beads
chopstick
oven

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

First, we laid out the beads in a single layer in the pan.



We used a combination of clear beads and solid beads.  These beads come in a multi pack used for making necklaces so the were all different shapes and sides.  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 the colors, I went back and dropped a single yellow bead in any spot that was looking a little thin.  The melted beads will spread and expand, but they never expand as far as i think they will.

Next, bake for 20 minutes or until all of the beads are completely melted.

The smell is not great, but its not horrible either.  We put our pan in the oven and went outside 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.  These 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.  One 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 it 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 and press a new hole. 
- If there are holes where the beads did not melt together.  Put the suncatcher back in the original pan, add a bead or 2 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.