Easy Handmade DIY Suncatchers

Sunday, December 11, 2016
I'm always on the lookout for EASY craft projects to do, especially ones that can double as gifts. I came across these suncatchers in the art room of The Jersey Momma's Boy's school. We were meeting there for cub scouts and I happened to see this awesome project on the sidelines that the teacher was working on (I'm sorry, Mrs. E, I didn't mean to snoop in  your stuff! I just couldn't help but notice how pretty they were!)  If you want to make them, too, all you need to do is follow these THREE easy steps (yup, that's it!).



So you want to make a suncatcher? If you want to make them for a gift, just be sure to plan ahead, because they need a few days to dry (at least 4 to 7 days, depending on how much glue you use).


Here's what you'll need:

-colored glass stones of any size or shape (you can find them at most craft stores or in the floral section of your local Walmart)
-clean plastic lids from butter or sour cream (any container lid will do, but that's the general size you want)
-clear Elmer's Glue
-ribbon or fishing line for hanging


Optional Step  We decided to lay our stones out first to make sure our design fit before we glued everything down. This step is optional, but I recommend it so you know what your suncatcher will look like.


Step 1.  Now clear the stones off your lid off and squeeze some clear glue all over it (the flat side of the lid should be facing down- you need the edges of the lid up to hold your stones and glue in). Make sure it's enough to coat the lid. Then start placing your stones down. *Note: if you made your design in advance and want to try to keep it as is without removing the stones, you can try placing a piece of cardboard over it and quickly flipping it over, then carefully lifting the lid to keep your stones in place, so you can re-set them on your gluey surface. But that takes a quick hand! Another option is to take a photo of the design you created with your phone, so you can just copy your design from the image when you go to place it in the gluey lid. 


I recommend making your stones touch, as that makes it much easier to pop out of the lid in one piece when it's dry.  The image below still needed a few stones added in between to close up the gaps, see?


Step 2.  After you finish your design, squirt some more glue around it/over it to solidify your design.


Step 3.  Let it dry, at least 3-4 days (mine took longer, more like 5 days). Do you know this was the hardest part for me? I am so impatient, I must've tried to pop it out of the lid at least four times before it was actually ready.


You'll know when it's ready because it will start to peel away from the lid really easily. If you try to peel it away and you still see gluey strings or it still seems like it's wet or stuck to the lid, let it dry more.

If you have any gaps in your finished design, you can thread some ribbon or fishing wire through to hang it. If not, you can use a dab of hot glue (or even the clear glue) on the back of the suncatcher to place a ribbon on it. The suncatcher will be fairly heavy when complete, so you want to make sure the ribbon or string is secure before hanging. 

Oh, and save your lids! You might be tempted to toss them because they're all gluey, but after the glue dries, it just peels right off (which is kind of cool, actually) and you can use the lid for another suncatcher.



Jersey Momma Tips:

-For some reason, The Jersey Momma's Boy's suncatcher dried much faster than mine. His took about three or four days. I don't know if it was his design choice or the amount of glue, or what.



- I was so impatient to get mine out of the lid and see my finished product that I did actually pop it out before it was ready. When I peeled it off the lid, the back was still a little tacky, so I left it to dry out of the lid with the back facing up. That seemed to do the trick.

-Someone on Pinterest mentioned that the glue from their suncatcher melted in the sun. I have been making these for YEARS and I have many of them in direct sunlight and I have NEVER had any of them melt in the sun. I am wondering if the person who made them had one much like my son's, that was possibly not dry completely when it was placed in the window (or they live someplace really hot?). The biggest issue I have seen with these over time (if they're placed in full sunlight for long periods of time) is fading.

-You can get super creative with these if you have a knack for patterns. This was the original design that I saw in Mrs. E's classroom. Isn't her finished product beautiful?


You can get crafty from the comfort of your own home if you use my Amazon affiliate links below to buy all of your supplies! Then they'll just show up right at your door.






59 comments

  1. That looks like a really fun project.

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    1. Thanks, Mary! You should try making one!

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    2. Would like to do this with my residents and a girl scout troop can you attach the ribbon woth hot glue

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  2. This is really beautiful and it looks like something easy to make.

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  3. These look really nice, but I wonder how they would hold up. Can they be used outside or just for indoors?

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    1. I have five of them in my window now and they've been there since December. They haven't faded or broken. The ribbon broke off of one but that was my fault because I didn't tie it in the right place. I would not recommend these for outside use. The window I have mine in gets direct sunlight for about three hours a day, so they've held up really well! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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    2. Small foam plates or bowls do work. Just in case the glue decided to stick to the surface, I lined bowl with saran wrap. This also allowed for easier removal.

      I then used enough glue to almost cover the beads. Which took 3-4 days to dry. The glue "shrinks" a bit as it drys so there may be a small hole here and there. You can use one for the string but for the others, I placed the suncatcher back in the bowl & added enough glue to fill in the holes. This adds a couple more days to the drying time, but gives it added support for the weight of the beads.

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  4. How do you attach the ribbon?

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    1. Hi Karen- Thanks for your question! I should really add this to my post because I learned a few things after making so many of these. You can add the ribbon after the suncatcher is dry just by lacing it through any holes that might have naturally formed in the drying process (you can see that in the green/blue/yellow suncatcher above). You can also opt to use a small drill or sharp tool to poke a hole through the clear glue to lace a ribbon through. OR you can hot glue gun a ribbon onto the back of the suncatcher when it's dry. We did have an issue with the hot glue gun ribbon on one of our suncatchers, though. It was a rather heavy suncatcher and over time the hot glue just broke off, resulting in the suncatcher falling off the window. So lacing the ribbon through a hole is probably a better option! Hope that helps.

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  5. Love this idea!!! We are doing this as soon as I can collect enough lids!

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    1. Sorry for the late reply, but great! Butter tub lids seem to be the easiest to collect around here.

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  6. You can by a pack of lids from GFS relatively cheap

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  7. has anyone tried using a foam plate instead of plastic lid?

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    1. I've never tried that, but I'm intrigued. I'm not sure how the glue would react with the foam or if you'd be able to peel it away?

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    2. Small foam plates or bowls do work. Just in case the glue decided to stick to the surface, I lined bowl with saran wrap. This also allowed for easier removal.

      I then used enough glue to almost cover the beads. Which took 3-4 days to dry. The glue "shrinks" a bit as it drys so there may be a small hole here and there. You can use one for the string but for the others, I placed the suncatcher back in the bowl & added enough glue to fill in the holes. This adds a couple more days to the drying time, but gives it added support for the weight of the beads.

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    3. Oh that's great to know! Thanks for the tips! I will have to try making them that way.

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  8. THANK YOU!!! FINALLY SOMETHING I WON'T MESS UP!!! LOL!!

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    1. Sorry for the super late reply- I hope they turned out nice for you!

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  9. I am going to make lots of these using small yogurt lids and smaller clear beads hang on the Christmas tree. Every year I make ornaments for the tree and the grandkids pick one.

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    1. That sounds wonderful! I hope the grandkids love them!

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    2. Great idea, thankyou ��

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  10. I have some resin that I use for paper weights and I wonder if that would work also

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    1. Possibly! You'll have to come back and let me know!

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  11. Has anyone tried a blow dryer to aid the drying process?

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  12. I did. It might have worked if I had not put enough glue in the lid to cover Texas. I am a very I want it done now kinda person. Mine still wasn't dry after a week. I took it out of the lid to soon and then turned it upside down and let it dry that way. It was still sticky in the middle but it eventually dried and looks ok

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  13. I never tried a blow dryer- it might work! If you try it before I do, definitely let me know if it worked. And Jeanie, I can relate, I never seem to want to wait for them to dry. I have pushed them out still wet and let them dry the same way you did. They tend to not looks as "smooth" when you do that, though. I think the trick is getting the stones positioned just right. If they are all touching well enough and secure, then you don't need as much glue, or so it seems. But sometimes it's hard to get them to line up so well. Thanks for weighing in, ladies!

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  14. This sounds like a stupid question. When you finish placing your stones in the lid of glue you say to squirt more around it/over it. I get the "around" it but what do you mean by "over"? Over the stone? or just around the base?

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    1. Hi Ya Ya- thanks for your question! You can literally spread the glue right over your stones if you want. You don't have to- you can squirt the glue between them and around them, but glue inevitably spreads onto them anyway. It dries clear so it doesn't matter too much! The biggest challenge with these is getting them to dry. You have to be really patient or even try a hair dryer.

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  15. I saw on Pinterest where someone inserted a metal washer or nut into the glue for the ribbon to hang through. It kept a nice open hole. If you happen to get a bit of glue in the hole you could probably either wipe it out when it's wet, or peel the thin layer off the washer once it's dry.

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  16. This would be cute to make with my kids.

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  17. We made glass gem suncatchers for our art project. The one thing I added when the kids were done placing their gems, was a string bead somewhere towards the top but between the gems for more support. When the glue was dried I used a very small screwdriver and popped through the bead to allow the ribbon or fishing line to past through. This gave the suncatchers more support for hanging and not tearing through the glue.. Hope this helps

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    1. That's really helpful, thank you!! My father did something similar with one we made for my mom- he drilled a small hole and used fishing line to hang it (no extra bead though). Great idea!

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  18. Would love to make these for a Pinterest party craft next week - I have 8 people coming and if we used the size lids you used or a little smaller, how many bottles of glue do you think I should get per person?

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    1. It depends what size glue bottle you buy, but if they are the smaller bottles I would get one for each person. If they are a larger size you could probably get away with 6. Each lid doesn't use a full bottle of glue or anything, so you should have plenty! You can always start with 4 bottles (put 2 aside) and just return any you don't use. Sounds like a fun party!

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  19. This is really cute. Could you use plain white glue instead of the clear? (cheaper)

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    1. Hi Contessa! I've never tried. I'm not sure how clear it would really dry, but I guess you could give it a shot! Please let me know how it turns out if you try it!

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  20. Question. Since this is washable glue, will these disolve or get sticky if they get wet?

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    1. I don't know what would happen if you got them wet. I probably wouldn't recommend it! Although I would think you'd really have to submerge them to get them to dissolve.

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  21. You could use Epoxy Resin to make it stronger and more durable. It would also make it better suited to extreme temperatures, in case you live in a harsh climate, or weather conditions, in case you wanted them outside.

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    1. Great idea! Thank you! I never thought about that.

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  22. An idea for the designing step is to place a piece of contact paper over the top after you design it. T
    his will hold all the pieces in place while you put glue in mold, then put stones back in and carefully remove contact paper. We use this method when creating mosaic stepping stones.

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  23. I volunteer at my mother's senior living community, and I chose the sun catcher as a project for the residents. They loved it, especially after they saw the end result. There was an encore for the sun catchers, other residents asked me to schedule this project again!

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    1. Oh that makes me SO happy!! I'm so glad they enjoyed it. Thank you so much for sharing, you made my day!

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  24. I was just thinking what if you used glitter glue.....I love doing fun crafts....Cant wait to try it!

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    1. That's a great idea! I'll have to give it a try, too!

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  25. I think you could use clear colored buttons also, which would be lighter too. Love this idea!

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    1. Oh yes! That would be nice, too! Good idea. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. An idea that I would try is to take a small open ring to place at the top of your suncatcher so you will have a place to hang it by. You’ll just have to remove the dried glue from the ring! Just a suggestion!

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  27. What a fun project. We are always looking for project to make with our not quite teen girls in Sunday School. I looked at suncatchers using the pearlier beads but didn't want to go through the smell of cooking them. This would be perfect. I wonder if you used some glad press and seal instead of cardboard if that wouldn't work.

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    1. You could try! If it works would you do me a favor and come back and let us know? I'm sure it would be really helpful to others! Thanks!

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  28. I just made these with my daycare kids. I used clear Gorilla Glue. I hope that wasnt a mistake! We will see when they are dry!

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    1. That probably would work! Please let us know if it doesn't! Maybe it even dries faster?

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  29. Have you tried glitter glue or the clear colored glue from Elmer’s, the kind you can use for slime making? Or do you only recommend the plain clear?

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    1. I think the plain clear for slime making is the same kind I use for the sun catchers. I have never tried glitter glue but some people have suggested it. I would think it would work the same way- it's worth a try!

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  30. I used the glue method to make a pond for a dolls house display and poured thin layers of glue at a time and they seemed to dry faster.Still dried clear without any lines between the layers. I used UHU a clear glue that I use for general crafting.

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    1. Cute idea! I never tried the UHU glue! I wonder if that works better than the Elmer's?

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