As much as I love discovering new crafting techniques and materials and technologies, there’s nothing quite like a time-honored classic–a craft I remember doing as a kid with my mom. Maybe you’ve done this one too, or maybe this is your first time seeing how easy and awesome it is to make one-of-a-kind suncatchers with materials you have around the house.
What you’ll need:
–paper grocery bag or old newspaper
–leaf shapes PDF
Step 1. Round up some crayons in your favorite fall colors–red, orange, yellow, green, and maybe some purples or blues just for fun–and grate each into its own little pile on a plate or spare sheet of paper. We had a box of off-brand crayons that always broke and crumbled, so it was an easy sacrifice. I used a microplane grater to make the finest shavings, but any old cheese grater will do. Definitely do not let your kids help with this step.
Step 2. Cover your work surface with a paper grocery bag or old newspaper so you don’t get melted wax on your furniture. Then lay down a sheet of wax paper and let your kids start sprinkling the crayon shavings to their hearts’ content.
Step 3. Lay another sheet of wax paper on top of your handiwork and then make the kids take two steps back while you heat your iron on a low, no-steam setting. To protect your iron, cover your crayon-and-wax-paper sandwich with another grocery bag or sheet of newspaper and then get to melting. Press the iron around your design, checking every few seconds to see how everything’s going. It doesn’t take much for the wax to melt into a cool, swirly tie-dye effect.
Step 4. If you’re super awesome and can freehand draw or cut recognizable leaf shapes, go on ahead. If you, like me, need a guide, pop over to Holly Brooke Jones’s site and print out the leaf shape PDF she designed for her cute felt garland. I wanted big leaves, so I enlarged the PDF and printed out two leaves per 8″x11″ sheet of paper.
Step 5. Cut out the leaf shapes from the PDF and then either trace them onto your wax paper creation or attach them to it with a loop of tape that will hold the patterns in place while you cut around them. I thought my four-year-old would be too young for this step, but he convinced me to let him try and then said it makes him proud of himself to try hard things, so I guess I have to start giving him more credit now.
Step 6. To display our suncatcher leaves in front of a window, I strung them onto a length of baker’s twine using a large sewing needle. Hanging them in vertical lines would be cute too, and if you’re more ambitious you could use twigs to create a mobile.
I love how these turned out. They capture the colors of fall and they look amazing in the low afternoon sun.