Today, I’m sharing a favourite project of mine – one that I learned when I was in about Grade 3! I’m making sun catchers from tissue paper. Tissue paper is already naturally translucent but add a glaze to it and the light just shines through beautifully!
They’re lots of fun to make and there are a variety of ways to create these. You probably have everything you need on hand. If not, they’re readily available at your local dollar store or craft store. You can easily order them online as well!
Tissue Paper Suncatchers
When I was in school, we made the structures for these out of old wire hangers. Boy oh boy, is that ever a lot of work to bend those! Simple jewelry making wire or floral or craft wire works really well here. It makes for a much more child-friendly project.
I just freehanded a shape but you can use cookie cutters or even colouring book images as your pattern.
Decorating with Tissue Paper
We used multiple colors of tissue paper, but you can also use food coloring, markers, or craft dyes for this project too. The only thing I have to warn you about is that some paints and inks will “bleed” a bit.
Sometimes the colors of the cheaper brands of tissue paper have a tendency to bleed as well. Be sure to protect your work surface against any staining. You might even want to experiment a bit before working with the tissue paper – you could end up with stained hands!
You can piece together different colors quite easily simply by applying one colour to a small section and then a different colour to another section.
I decided to make my own patterned paper by pressing on a three coloured rubber stamping ink pad all over white tissue paper. You can try dribbling on some food coloring or ink. Let it spread naturally before adding the next color.
Gluing the Tissue Paper
My tissue paper was quite thin and tearing easily so I decided to use a double layer of it. This meant that I didn’t need to wait for the ink to dry. I simply folded my paper with the ink on the inside and kept moving along!
I added some extra details with a black Sharpie – just random doodles because once it’s cut up and applied to the dragonfly shape, you won’t see the full effect of it anyway. Rubber stamping is another option for creating your own patterned paper.
When I was a kid and we made these, we watered down white glue but here I’m using Mod Podge. I had matte Mod Podge on hand but the gloss formula makes for a really pretty finish too! You could also apply some Mod Podge dimensional magic in one of the glittery formulas for some extra shimmer!
You want to lay your paper down on a surface that won’t cause sticking issues. So, you don’t want to work on newspaper but a plastic plate, some waxed paper, or a silicone/teflon crafting mat are great.
Attaching the Paper to the Wire
Brush on some Mod Podge (or watered down white glue) across the surface of your paper. I found a foam brush was best as bristles could cause tears in the paper.
Lay your wire shape down on the paper and press gently to assure that the wire is making contact with the Mod Podged paper. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make contact everywhere. You can go back in with another application of Mod Podge to catch any little spots you may have missed the first time once this layer dries.
I’m only working on a small section at a time here so that you can easily see what I’m doing. You can apply the paper to the entire frame all at once. Once it dries enough to be handled, flip it over and apply more Mod Podge to the other side. It dries quite quickly as long as you don’t overdo with the glue.
Finishing up Your Sun Catcher
Attach some fishing line or something similar and hang in your window. On a sunny day, the sun will shine through and pick up all the lovely colours in your paper!
Easy peasy and you can fill your window with beautiful tissue paper sun catchers in no time! Make seasonal or holiday shapes and you can adorn your window for each new special occasion!
Looking for more ideas for keeping the kids busy? Check out these 100+ Craft Projects for Tweens and Teens!
A Little Craft in Your Day has more fun teen craft ideas!