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Art for Kids: Cosmic Suncatchers

by on May 7, 2013

I’m always happy to find kids crafts that my children clamor to do rather than those that require me dragging them over to the table to make; these simple cosmic glue suncatchers are one of those enticing projects! I was fooling around making them when they caught my daughter’s eye and she asked to make one. Later that day her brother saw the suncatchers drying and immediately asked if he could make one….so I knew this kids project was a keeper. Best of all it takes two minutes to pull together and about 5 minutes to execute, excluding drying time, perfect for short attention spans and moms with newborns! Oh and did I say it uses recycled materials? An eco-friendly kids craft as well…score!

Easy kids craft: Make Cosmic Suncatchers from glue and food coloring!

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Cosmic Glue Suncatchers

Materials

  • White Glue
  • Food Coloring or Liquid Watercolors
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic lids (Lids from tubs of yogurt, hummus, sour cream etc. work best, although metal lids also work)
  • Hole Punch
  • String

Easy kids craft: Make Cosmic Suncatchers from glue and food coloring!

Instructions

  • Step One Pour a generous amount of glue into one of your plastic lids and swish it around to cover the entire inner surface.
  • Step Two Have your child put one or two drops of each color of food coloring around the glue.
  • Step Three Give your child a toothpick to swirl the colors around in the glue. Stop swirling before the colors get too combined or the final result will be muddy and brown. This is an exercise in restraint!
  • Step Four Let dry. As the colors settle they will continue to expand and create a dyed psychedelic effect….I love the 60s… Depending on how much glue you used, the suncatcher will take one to three days to fully dry. You will know it’s ready when the edges start to peel off the lid.
  • Step Five When fully dry, peel the suncatcher off the lid, punch a hole through the top, add a string, and hang in a sunny spot.

 

Easy kids craft: Make Cosmic Suncatchers from glue and food coloring!

It’s cosmic madness!

Footnote: If there is one ingredient I would recommend you have on hand at any one time to make and do countless kid’s activities it’s food coloring. Hands down, the possibilities of using food coloring in children’s art and science projects are endless and this is just another example of food coloring’s greatness!

If you liked this new-use-for-basic-art-supplies project be sure to check out another goodie: Melted Crayon Art. And if you love recycled projects stop by Recycled Bird Feeder Mobiles!

I’d love to see you all on Pinterest!
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Be sure to subscribe and/or like us on FB to catch more art & design projects for kids! Your child’s inner Picasso thanks you!

Want more activities perfect for the preschool set? Check out this amazing E-Book I contributed to:
3 to 5 Playful Preschool e-book

 


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Easy kids craft: Make Cosmic Suncatchers from glue and food coloring!

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Joyce May 17, 2013 at 5:27 am

I love these! Pinned it! Will definitely make with the grandkids when they are a bit older. Thank you!

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Georgina @ Craftulate May 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

Wow! Love this! Pinning and making mental note to save some plastic lids! Hopping over from Sun Scholars.

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Ana Dziengel May 21, 2013 at 4:44 am

Thanks Georgina! I love your blog too!

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Linda May 20, 2013 at 6:51 am

Awesome Idea….thank you!

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Ana Dziengel May 21, 2013 at 4:46 am

Thanks for stopping by Linda!

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Divya May 24, 2013 at 7:25 am

Looks cool enough to impress adults too

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Ana Dziengel May 25, 2013 at 4:33 am

Thanks so much Divya; I was impressed ;)

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Katherine Brechin May 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Excellet crafty idea to brighten up winter days stuck inside, thank you. They can also stick to glass and peel away later.

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Diana Rambles May 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Congratulations! This post was featured over at Diana Rambles on Friday and has been pinned in the Featured at Diana Rambles board at Pinterest. Please grab a featured button off my sidebar or via the link under the features. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

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Katrina August 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

What kind of glue did you use that it didn’t dry clear? I kind of like the effect as it brings out the brightness of the colours!

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Ana Dziengel August 11, 2013 at 6:21 am

Hi Katrina,
We used simple white school glue. It dries sort of cloudy. Glad you liked the effects!

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ashwini October 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I absolutely love this idea, waiting to do this with my kids

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Ana Dziengel October 5, 2013 at 5:05 am

Glad you like it! Hope your kids love it as much as mine did!

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onel October 4, 2013 at 3:05 am

Love the marbly outcome! This will be one fun group activity to enjoy with my friends :) Thanks for the inspiration!
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Ana Dziengel October 5, 2013 at 5:06 am

Thanks Onel! I absolutely love your blog so I’m pleased to hear you liked this project!

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Tlbur2 October 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Since this is glue, will it get brittle over time, esp in the sun?

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Ana Dziengel October 7, 2013 at 3:43 am

Really great question! I kept ours in a sunny window for a couple of months and they got harder but not necessarily brittle. The interesting thing was that after about a month I noticed the colors shrank and had changed! A friend thought it might be that the colors were fading but since they still looked very vibrant just “different” than they did when we first made them I wondered if the food coloring and glue continued to react over time in the heat of the sun. I’d love to hear how everyone else’s turn out over time! It’s an ongoing science lesson!

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Kellie July 26, 2014 at 5:55 pm

We made these as kids with PVA and glitter as Christmas decorations, and 20+ years later my mother still has them with all the Christmas decorations. They have yellowed a bit and lost some of the glitter but are still going strong. Not brittle more rubbery.

Must make these again with my 2 year old.

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Ana Dziengel July 31, 2014 at 5:53 am

So awesome to hear Kellie! They would make fantastic Xmas decorations!

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Anna October 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Now that’s a fabulous small and fast art project! My little boy loves making things with me, but he doesn’t have a particularly long attention span, so I’m always on the look out for quick and attention grabbing projects. This is perfect! Thanks Ana! One question, where do you find your big squeezy bottles of food colouring? Thanks so much again!

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Ana Dziengel October 11, 2013 at 4:26 am

Hi Anna,
I’m glad you liked the project! I bought our food coloring at our local grocery store. If you want mega sizes of food coloring, restaurant supply stores often carry them, like Smart and Final.

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Julia eaves October 11, 2013 at 7:57 am

Just did this with my kids who are 2,5 & 13 and they all loved it. Can’t wait for them to dry so we can hang them!

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Ana Dziengel October 12, 2013 at 4:13 am

I’m so happy to hear it Julia!

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liesel October 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm

this is so rad!

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Ana Dziengel October 14, 2013 at 5:16 am

Thanks Liesel!

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Lisa Lopacinski October 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

We made these but the glue curled up as it dried. Did you have that happen at all? Ours are all curled up.

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Ana Dziengel October 14, 2013 at 5:18 am

Oh no! I didn’t have that happen Lisa :( What type of lid and glue did you use? maybe we can figure out why…..

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Ana Dziengel October 14, 2013 at 5:24 am

One more thought, did you use a lot of glue? You need a really thick coat of glue as your base. LMK!

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susan November 7, 2013 at 2:45 am

We did this and they look great, however, the food colouring hasn’t dried (although the glue has). Any ideas why? I was thinking we may have to paint a coat of varnish over them to seal in the colours….I am now testing out a couple with glitter sprinkled in them to hang on the tree for Christmas!

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Ana Dziengel November 7, 2013 at 5:31 am

Hi Susan, Interesting……I did notice that after about 6 weeks of hanging in a sunny window the food coloring contracted. There must be something in the chemistry of glue/food coloring combo…..but I’m not a chemist so I’m not sure what is going on ;) How long have yours been drying? Mine took at least a few days to full dry.

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Veens @ Our Ordinary Life January 6, 2014 at 8:27 am

I LOVE this idea, going to be trying this very soon :)
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Cassi January 6, 2014 at 11:07 am

These are beautiful and look like a lot of fun to make too! I’ve featured your idea on The Crafty Crow today!
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Ana Dziengel January 7, 2014 at 4:54 am

Thank you so much Cassi!!!!! I really appreciate the share!

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Hope January 8, 2014 at 10:54 am

Did this with the kids today. Taking a bit long to dry, but they loved it! Hopefully the finished product is just as awesome as yours. Thanks!

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Ana Dziengel January 10, 2014 at 7:30 am

Post a pic on our FB page! I’d love to see how they turned out!

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Brianna January 30, 2014 at 1:38 pm

This sounds awesome! I’m looking to do this with an art therapy group.
Could this work with clear glue as well?

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Ana Dziengel February 1, 2014 at 5:26 am

Hi Brianna,
I haven’t tried it with clear glue so I’m not sure. The white glue works well as a foil for color though and dries clear :)
Hope they love it!
Ana

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Laura March 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

Does it matter if the lids have designs on them? How did you get yours all white? All of the ones I am collecting have designs on them (yogurt, margarine etc).
Thanks!

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Ana Dziengel March 5, 2014 at 3:43 am

Hi Laura,
Since the last step of the project is peeling the dried glue off the lid you can definitely use lids with designs on them. Just make sure they are flexible :) I used lids from tubs of hummus, so they were all translucent. Coffee can lids also work well.
Ana

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Julie S May 4, 2014 at 10:49 am

LOVE this idea! Thank you so much for this. We live outside Phoenix, AZ, and it’s already heating up here. Any projects we can do indoors are much appreciated. It’s going on our list for this month!

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Ana Dziengel May 7, 2014 at 6:31 am

Yay! Glad you liked it!

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Deborah Waxman May 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm

This reminds me of something similar that I have had kids do with a plastic plate, watercolor markers and the glue. They color on the plate, pour glue over it and let it dry. The glue absorbs the marker lines and blend them together. Different procedure but same result!

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Ana Dziengel May 7, 2014 at 6:30 am

Hi Deborah,
Oooooo that sound VERY fun! We will have to try that one.
Thanks for the suggestion :)
Ana

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margot May 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

can you use clear glue?? to make them transparent??

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Ana Dziengel May 7, 2014 at 6:29 am

Hi Margot,
Clear glue doesn’t work well because the milky look of white glue is what makes for the fun color effects. The white glue dries translucent though so light can filter through :)
Ana

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Shelley May 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

I did this with my daycare kids. Obviously didn’t use enough glue as once dry, the suncatchers didn’t peel off the lids. They just stuck to the lids. These were supposed to be Mother’s Day gifts. I’ll try again and use more glue next time. Disappointing as the kids were really excited to see the finished product.

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Ana Dziengel May 13, 2014 at 5:14 am

Hi Shelley,
I’m sorry to hear they didn’t peel off! You do need a fair amount of glue for them to peel off. Still if you don’t want to use that much glue you can make them on clear translucent lids and skip peeling them off.
Ana

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Jesica H May 8, 2014 at 9:40 am

If you were to do this would the glue ‘melt’ on a hot day. Would it work well to hang outside or would the rain/sun possibly ruin these?
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Ana Dziengel May 13, 2014 at 5:12 am

I had them hanging in a sunny window for about 6 weeks. They never melted but the sun does continue to change and fade the suncatchers a little bit over time.

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Karen Brown May 11, 2014 at 7:29 am

Just wondering approximately how long do they take to dry?

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Ana Dziengel May 13, 2014 at 5:10 am

Hi Karen, They take a couple of days to fully dry :)

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Eliza June 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

We tried this at preschool for father’s day gifts. My trial run through took four days to dry. However, I’m really glad I had the children start early on the gifts since we had a very humid week and it took a full eight days for them to dry (and I peeled them off, rather than waiting for them to curl up from the lid)

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Ana Dziengel June 25, 2014 at 4:08 am

Hi Eliza,
Wow 8 days is a lot but I’m glad they worked!!!!
Ana

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Beppie June 10, 2014 at 6:47 am

Hi,
i like to know why you use food color instead of ink?? Is is just because it is saver for young kids??

Kind regards,
Beppie

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Ana Dziengel June 12, 2014 at 4:03 am

Hi Beppie,
I like food coloring because it is so easy to find :) Almost any grocery store carries it and it’s inexpensive. Inks and liquid watercolors (my favorite) do need to be purchased online or at art supply stores.

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tracy June 16, 2014 at 9:59 am

Love this idea! Can this be done on a plastic plate? I want to do this with my daughter’s class and I am not sure we will be able to get 24 lids. Thank you!

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Ana Dziengel June 25, 2014 at 4:11 am

Hi Tracy, I’m not sure if it can be done on a plastic plate but do let me know if that works! If not can you ask parents to donate a lid or two each?

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Pat Russ July 3, 2014 at 10:18 am

Hi Ana–I read from beginning to end includiny every comment. I am almost 70, and I thought this might be fun for older people too. Will try and let you know!!

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Ana Dziengel July 8, 2014 at 7:28 am

Hi Pat, Thank you! Agreed adults can have a blast with this one too! Thanks for your kind words :)

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Lauren July 9, 2014 at 8:02 pm

I don’t know if someone mentioned this already, but I used to do something similar as a kid with markers. You just color all over something smooth (like these lids… or the inside of a metal desk… I don’t think my teacher was too pleased with that, lol) with washable markers and then cover it with glue, wait for it to dry, and peel it off. You end up with the same effect.

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Ana Dziengel July 11, 2014 at 5:24 am

Hi Lauren, You are the first to mention this technique so THANK YOU! We’ll try it out this weekend, on the lids, though, not a desk ;)!

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cookiemonster July 11, 2014 at 4:19 am

I did the experiment and it was COOL AND AMAZING!! Thanks for the cool ideas!!
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Ana Dziengel July 11, 2014 at 5:22 am

Yay!!!!! So happy to hear it!

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Leksi July 27, 2014 at 11:24 am

I’m looking to do this as a Welcome Week project for college students. Is there any way to make it dry faster by chance?

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Ana Dziengel July 31, 2014 at 5:53 am

Hi Leksi,
I don’t know of a way to speed up the drying process other than leaving them in a sunny spot. Warm weather should probably help!

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Katie Chiavarone August 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm

This is amazing! I think we will make some fall colored ones with clear glitter glue! My 3 year old will absolutely love this!!

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Ana Dziengel September 4, 2014 at 3:51 am

Oooooo that sounds cool Katie!

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