That is in capital letters because I am so excited about this instructable!
Do you like stained glass or suncatchers? This instructable will teach you how to transform pony beads into a beautiful suncatcher!
Creating one of these now is perfect since summer is right around the corner. After all, Summer is the season known for the sun being out! (at least where I live!).
These would be great for porches/patios/inside in front of windows/gardens!
You can create any pattern you want with the beads... a rainbow and sun are two ideas! I just wanted my suncatcher to be a random pattern!
I hope you enjoy this Instructable!
please vote for it!
PS I know I spell "suncatcher" incorrectly. I see the red underline BUT I just want to spell it this way SOOOO I did haha. If you are a stickler for spelling words correctly and like this Instructable, please still vote for it! haha
Step 1: Gather Materials
1) cake pan
I purchased a clearance cake pan at Michael's for $3 and don't bake cakes normally. So I didn't care if this pan got messed up and it didn't. But if you decide to use your best and most favorite cake pan, I'm not responsible for what happens! (After making 3 suncatchers there was a little residue on the pan. It will probably come off when I wash it though).
(You can also make smaller ones in cupcake pan but this INSTRUCTABLE uses a cake pan.)
2) transparent pony beads
I purchased a 1 lb tub of these from Michaels and was able to make 3 sun catchers from this bucket. But how many you make from a tub this size is how big your cake pan is. I recommend the beads from Michaels not Walmart. The Walmart beads didn't melt flat and got super light in color. They also didn't melt together completely. I cooked them for longer than the michaels beads suncatcher. It just wasn't going anywhere.
3) prisms (optional)
Crystals/prisms that create rainbows in the sunlight. Crystals with lead in them make better rainbows than glass ones. This Instructable was created using crystals that have a hole in them so they can be hung easiest.
I purchased 8 from etsy which might not have been the cheapest option but the seller I purchased from ships quickly and I needed them asap!
4) Ribbons (optional) I used thin ribbons to add more "rainbow" to this suncatcher.
5) fake gemstones (optional) I purchased mine from Michaels in the jewelry section.
Used for drilling holes in the sun catcher to hang it and to hang decorations off if it (prisms ribbon etc). If you do not have a drill, you need a hot glue gun and can glue the strings to the suncatcher. That is the best alternative that I can think of. This Instructable uses a drill.
7) finishing line or string
(String needs to be of the size that can fit into the holes you drilled in your sun catcher as well as the holes in the crystals. I used fishing line because I thought it would be cool to see the gems and prisms float).
8) thin rope/cording (for hanging the suncatcher. Should be strong enough to hold the completed Sun catcher up when you hang it!(
You can use a fishing line type string for the crystals and a stronger string to hang it up with
I used fishing line to hang the decorations and thin rope (called cording at Michael's) to hang it.
9) scissors - for cutting string and cording/rope
The threading the gemstones/crystals onto the fishing line uses a decent amount of fine motor skills. Need someone who can safely use a drill (parent or adult etc).
10) oven preheated to 400 degrees
11) oven mitts
12) a decent amount of time. Arranging the beads takes a while and baking the suncatcher took me about 25 min (but follow the instructions in regards to checking on the suncatcher. My oven might be different than yours (hotter or not as hot).
I made this suncatcher over a few days.
not pictured- haha
13) piece of wood to drill on
not pictured (I used a flipped over recycling bin)
note: this suncatcher assumes you are capable of making strings of the gems and prisms. This means I do not go into detail about how to thread or knot the strings.
Step 2: Pony Beads --> Cake Pan
Pour some beads into the cake pan. Don't pour enough to cover the whole bottom of the cake pan because that will make arranging the beads in the pan more difficult.
Step 3: Arrange Beads in Cake Pan
Start arranging the beads hole side up in a pattern you want. I like the idea of having a suncatcher where the beads were arranged organically aka in a random pattern that happened from me just putting beads in locations where they fell closest to (if that makes sense). I like the random aspect of this method. Also this step takes longer than you would probably think. I didn't feel like making a pattern for that reason as well.
I removed all of the clear beads (no color) because some of the other colors are lighter than the red and blue for example. And those would be the clearest that I wanted any of them to be.
You can use the clear beads to create a cool design amongst the other beads (my friend did that) but I just didnt want clear beads since this is a suncatcher (I wanted it to light up with colors in the sun).
I would start at one edge of the pan and work your way to the middle and then to the opposite side of the pan. Place the beads right next to each other avoiding leaving gaps between the beads the best you can. when you use up the beads you poured into the pan and you still have space in the cake pan, start adding beads from the container of beads you have.
Step 4: Pan of Beads --> Oven
Place the beads in your oven that has been heated to 400 degrees. Set a timer for 20 minutes. You will need to check on it after that timer goes off and add time to it if necessary (I suggest increments of 1-2 min to be safe but use your own judgement too). The goal is for the spaces of the beads' holes to melt away.
Step 5: Take Out of Oven
Once this has happened and it looks smooth to your liking (remember that Walmart beads melt not as well as michaels beads), take it out of the oven using your oven mitts.
Step 6: Take Out of Pan
Let the suncatcher and pan cool completely. I suggest just doing something else for 20 minutes (then be careful checking to see if it's cooled all the way). You might hear crackling sounds but that is normal.
Once the crackling has stopped and the pan is cooled down, pop the suncatcher out of the pan. If it doesn't just come out when you carefully flip the pan over, try wiggling the pan slightly as if you are trying to get ice out of an ice mold tray then flip it over carefully to remove the suncatcher from the pan.
Step 7: Drill the Suncatcher
Carefully drill holes into the suncatcher (or have an adult who knows how to operate a drill do this)
You need to put a piece of wood under the suncatcher. I didn't have wood so my dad let me drill on top of a flipped over recycling bin (I only drilled a small hole in it once! Haha).
You will want to drill one hole in the top of the suncatcher and then some holes at the bottom of the suncatcher if you want to hang stuff off of it. If you just want a suncatcher without gems and such hanging from it, skip to step 9 (preparing the suncatcher for hanging).
I drilled a hole in the top of my suncatcher and 5 holes on the bottom of it because i thought 5 was a good number based on the size of my suncatcher and the fact that its shape is a star.
Step 8: "Decorate" Your Suncatcher
Thread gemstones and prisms onto the fishing line. In order to make them look like they are floating on the string, thread the end of the fishing line through side 1 of gemstone/prism through aide 2 of the gemstone/prism and then back through side one again. That creates a loop that will keep the gem/prism in place unless you pull it a lot.
I chose both that floating method and regular stringing so you can see the difference ( see the first picture or one of the last ones).
Tie these strings of gems/prisms onto your suncatcher via the holes you drilled in the bottom of the suncatcher.
This is the step you can also tie the ribbons onto the suncatcher if you wanted to use ribbon as well. I alternated the decorations I put with each hole. I have 5 holes at the bottom of the suncatcher so I alternated to create a pattern of:
Gems - ribbon - gems - ribbon - gems
You can do whatever your heart fancies though!
Step 9: Prepare Suncatcher for Displaying
Thread the end of the thin rope /cording through the top hole of your suncatcher. Decide what length you want to have the cording to be (that will depend on what you are hanging it on and how low from that place you want it to hang).
Next step (not shown) is to cut the rope at your desired length and tie the ends together in a study knot (we don't want your suncatcher falling!).
This step isn't shown because I haven't decided where I want to hang it! So I haven't cut the cording or tied the ends of cording together yet.
Step 10: Final Things!
Look at your suncatcher and make sure it is everything you wanted!
I had made another suncatcher for my dad to test drilling so we didn't ruin the suncatcher I photographed for this guide but he was bad at drilling it so the test one chipped and split and stuff. I was great at drilling it so I took over and drilled the holes for the final instructable suncatcher.
I took this messed up suncatcher and carefully broke it into pieces using my foot (while wearing protective eyewear). I might use these pieces for future suncatchers (drill holes in them to hang off the suncatcher) or for jewelry such as necklace pendants.
(pardon the mess in the first picture. creativity can be messy!)
Step 11: TA DAH!
Hang your suncatcher outside or inside by a window. We want your suncatcher to light up in the sunshine! And the prisms to make little awesome rainbows also (if you chose to use prisms).
I still haven't decided where I want to hang it! Haha
Of course the day I finish this project, it has just rained and it's not sunny outside at all. I will post a picture of it in the sun that I take another day in the comments thread so you guys can see how rad it looks!
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable! Please vote for it and post a picture if you make one too!