It’s fall time in Minnesota and that means colorful leaves fall off of the trees. And, since leaves are pretty cool, we always like to use them in our art work and crafts.
One of my favorite crafts with colorful fall leaves is this sun catcher. The first time I’d seen it was when Alex was in preschool. He brought one home that they’d made as a craft project and I fell in love with it…Even though Alex is now in Jr. High, this mom still has that sun catcher, (It has gotten a little crinkled over the years from being stored and pulled out every fall :D).
Alex and Sophia made some new leaf sun catchers this year so we could share how to do them with you…and yes, even 13 year old Alex got in on the action for this project. I guess an iron is kind of like a power tool, so he had fun. Plus, there was duct tape involved 😀
Kids of all ages can have fun with this project because, even though some steps are definitely for adults or older children only, there is plenty of creative work that can involve even small kids.
- An iron
- Wax Paper
- Fall Leaves
- A dish cloth or towel
- Colorful Duct Tape (we used gold)
- A whole punch
- String, raffia or twine
- A scissors
Step One – Pick-out Your leaves
Where we live, the leaves have just started changing color so we used some leaves we scavenged last year on one of our adventure walks. Because of this, they were pretty much mostly brownish, but some had tinges of color and we had lots of cool types (oak, maple, etc…) If you start with ‘fresh’ fall leaves, you’ll have more color to work with. Keep the final design to no more than 8 leaves, or it’ll probably get too big. Alex used 5 on his, Soph used 6.
Step Two – Flatten Your Leaves
If you’re using fresh fall leaves, you may be able to skip this step, but if your leaves are older, like ours were, it’s easier to layout your design on the wax paper if your leaves are flat.
To do this, just lay your leaves on the ironing board and place the dish towel over them. Lightly press them with an iron on low heat.
Step Three – Design Your Pattern
Before having the kids layout their design, tear out two sheets of wax paper that are about the same size for each kid. Have them arrange their design on one of the sheets.
Step Four – Press Your Leaves in Wax Paper
Once each artist is satisfied with their design, lay the second sheet of wax paper on top of the design. Then, gently place the dish towel on top of the wax paper enclosed leaf design and press with a low to medium heat iron. Peak at the leaves after a few passes of the iron to make sure the wax is sticking together. Once most of the wax paper is sticking together, you ready for step five.
Step Five – Cut-out Your Leaves in a Shape
Have each child cut a shape around the perimeter of their leaf design. It can be any shape they want. Alex was quite precise with his design, where Soph was more free form–anything the designer chooses is fine.
Step Six – Tape the Edges of Your Sun Catcher
Once the shape is cut, you’ll want to secure the edges. We used fancy gold duct tape to do this–Alex and Soph are full fledged into the designer duct tape craze, so it seemed appropriate. A full width strip of duct tape is too wide however, so we tore each strip in half by snipping a starer rip at one end of each piece of duct tape, and then just tearing it in half.
Once we had half a piece of duct tape, we chose a spot to tape and cut the piece to an appropriate length. Then we placed the edge of the sun catcher half-way onto the duct tape piece and folded it over. Then we trimmed the edge and continued on to the next edge until the entire edge of the sun catcher was covered. For some shapes, like Sophia’s, this required lots of trimming and cutting, but any shape works in the end.
We also choose to initial and date the edge of the duct tape for future reference. 😀
Step Seven – Punch a Hole for Hanging Your Sun Catcher
To hang the sun catcher, we need a hole for the string. If you have a hole punch, use that. Otherwise, just poke a hole through the wax paper with a scissors or knife.
Step Eight – Cut String and Hang up Your Sun Catcher
The final step is to cut the string to hang your sun catcher. Once you’ve got the length you want, string it through the hole and then hang it in the window–viola!
And there you have it, 8 steps to a fun fall sun catcher project. If you like this craft project, please share it with your friends or let us know with a comment or a like on facebook!