Create Your Own Suncatchers
Some of my favorite summer crafting projects are centered around accessorizing my backyard, particularly the patio. I’ve already made a couple of functional art projects this year (etched Wine Glasses and Garden Tags), but I also wanted to make something to add to the outdoor decor. These super easy suncatchers are perfect for a sunny patio window! 🌞🌷
- Vellum (tracing) paper (or copy paper)
- Mason jar bands and matching lids (variety of sizes)
- Clear drying glue and/or glue gun
- Twine or string
- Digital product: Mermaid Scales Bokeh Background Graphic
- Scissors or craft knife
- Vegetable oil and cotton ball (if using copy or coloring paper)
- Pen or pencil
How to Make the Suncatchers
One of my very favorite products to use when crafting is digital paper. When I have a certain project in mind and I discover that I don’t have the right paper in my crafting inventory…digital paper to the rescue! It allows you to download a printable design that ties in perfectly for any project, and it may be surprising to some people, but you are not limited to printing only on copy paper!
There are two different methods that you can apply to create these suncatchers. The first is printing out your digital paper designs on vellum (tracing paper). For the second method, you can print it out on regular copy paper, or even opt to skip the computer altogether and just tear a page out of a coloring book. For this tutorial, I wanted to try using vellum paper to maintain simplicity – and have an easy clean-up!
First, head over to Creative Fabrica and grab the Mermaid Scales Bokeh Background Graphic. These designs, with their bright, summery colors and golden accents, are absolutely perfect for creating suncatchers!
After you download and extract the product, choose which pattern (or patterns) you want to use. I chose “Background 8” because I like the warm red to yellow fade.
Printing on Vellum
Printing on vellum can be a little tricky, depending on your printer, but it is possible! If you can, choose lightweight paper for your paper settings, and then make sure your print quality is set to draft (preferably) or normal. The key to printing perfectly on vellum is using less ink because the paper actually has a plastic-like finish to it. If you use too much ink (as you would on the “best” quality paper setting, you will risk the vellum smearing and rolling as it prints out.
Once you have it printed, you absolutely MUST let it dry for at least 15-20 minutes.
Copy Paper / Coloring Page Method
If you don’t have any vellum on hand, you can print your design onto regular copy paper. Definitely use the best quality for regular paper, but remember to allow it to thoroughly dry.
For a page out of a coloring book (or a printable coloring page), simply color in the areas of the page that you want to use for the suncatchers with pencil crayons.
Cutting & Gluing
Now that you have your dried printouts, whether it’s on vellum or another paper, take the various sized lids for your Mason jars (not the band), and trace a circle with a pen or pencil around each on your paper.
Now, just cut out the circles along the inside line so that it fits perfectly in the Mason jar band. You can use a craft knife and cutting mat, but honestly, good ol’ scissors are probably easier. Your lines don’t have to be perfect because they will be hidden inside the band.
If you are using vellum paper, go ahead and line the inside of the Mason jar bands with glue and adhere your paper circles, printed design face down.
- 👉 Copy Paper / Coloring Page: There is an additional step required when using regular paper so that you can still achieve a translucent finish. Before you glue your paper circles to the bands, dip a little bit of vegetable oil onto a cotton ball, then gently wipe it over the back of your paper (not the ink / colored side). As you do, you will see the translucent effect taking shape immediately. The downside to this method is that your suncatchers may not last quite as long as the vellum paper method, due to the oil eventually breaking down the paper. Dab any excess oil off with a clean cotton ball or paper towel and let dry for about 10 mins.
Go ahead and glue your paper circles to the Mason jar bands as mentioned above.
Let dry for 30 mins to 1 hour.
Wrapping the Twine
I find that using a glue gun for this part really helps to secure the twine much more effectively than if you’re using craft glue.
At the bottom edge of the band, apply a little glue and stick one end of your twine to it. Wrap the twine around the lid to meet the other end, and secure once more with a little drop of glue.
Now just keep wrapping the twine around the lid, keeping it fairly tight as you wrap. When you reach the point where you want the string to hang (pay attention to your design), unwrap it by about 1 inch, then glue it back down all the way to that point that you determined where you want it to hang from.
Cut the twine, leaving a long tail – about 12-15 inches long. Repeat for as many suncatchers that you are making, changing the tail length slightly in order to create different lengths for each one.
Let dry for 20 minutes or so.
When all of your suncatchers are dry, tie a bow at the end of the tail, leaving a small loop so that you can hang them up near a sunny window. Apply a drop of glue to the center of the bow to help secure it even further. If you have too much excess, just trim it away or weave it through the bow loops.
I find that a suction cup hook works wonderfully to hang them up. Now all you have to do is wait for a beautiful sunny day to admire your pretty artwork!
Keep on Crafting! 💖