This Awesome New Way to Make Sun Catchers Will Brighten Everyone's Day

It'll be impossible not to smile when your kids proudly present a cute narwhal or sassy unicorn masterpiece. Bonus: The clean-up takes just a few seconds.
By Megan Zander
Jun 13, 2019

Ages

6-13

klutz sun catchers
Image Courtesy of Megan Zander

Jun 13, 2019

I’ll be honest: I’ve done a lot of crafts with my twin 6-year-old boys, and sun catchers usually aren’t my favorite. Anyone who’s ever tried to fill one of those tiny rainbow arches knows plastic paintbrushes are often too big to fit into smaller spaces. Plus, the kits never come with enough paint colors — how are kids supposed to make a beautiful butterfly with just red, green, and black?

But when Scholastic sent us a Klutz: Sun Catchers kit to check out, and my boys asked to open it last Saturday, I was intrigued because the kit looked so different from the others we’ve tried. Its method is simple but fun and creative: First, you trace an image you want from the included workbook onto colored sheets. Right away, I could see there were plenty of color options to choose from (my boys love the pearlescent white — it's so shiny!). Then you cut out the pieces and place them together on a clear sticky sheet, like a puzzle, and use black puffy paint to seal any wayward seams. The paint also helps create a pretty stained-glass look. Once the paint is dry, you cut the image out and can hang it up, completing it with string, beads, and a suction cup if you’d like.

Read on for my full review of this activity kit, plus snpashots of the sun catchers we made! 

As with other Klutz kits, I was impressed by how simple it was to open up the box and get right to the fun — there aren't any complicated instructions or steps to complete before getting started. We put down some scrap paper to catch any drips from the puffy paint, grabbed scissors and tape, and were ready to go in minutes.

My kids liked picking out the words they could read in the sun catchers instruction book, and it was super helpful to point to the images and show them what I was talking about as we went through the steps. Crafting with kids can be a struggle in the communication department, but clear, illustrated instructions like these make things easier and more fun.

Since my boys are a couple years younger than the kit's recommended age, we decided to start off with an easy pattern that uses only two colors. (Klutz recommends the kit for ages 10 and up, which basically means that's the age at which kids should be able to use it without supervision, based on the skills needed.) Lolo’s obsessed with all garden-related things lately, so he was happy to find a simple blue flower in the book to make.

Although the kit suggests using a pen to trace out your shapes, we found that a black permanent marker worked really well, too. The line was dark enough for the kids to easily see it and cut over it, and it was also easy to hide any imperfections later when tracing over it with the black puffy paint.

We kept the book with the designs together and worked on one sun catcher at a time, but this kit could easily work for a group if you take the booklet apart and let kids share the colored sheets.

Honestly, the perfectionist in me struggled to let the kids have control over the tracing and cutting steps — what if they did it wrong and the pieces didn’t fit together? But I knew I needed to calm down, because crafts are supposed to be fun! And I shouldn’t have worried, because they actually did a great job. All of that tracing and cutting was great fine motor skills practice, and any tiny errors they made were easily covered with the puffy paint later on.

Once we figured out how to make a two-color sun catcher, the kids wanted to try some with more colors in the Klutz: Sun Catchers kit. I loved the tip in the booklet about cutting sections with the same color in one piece, and fitting in the rest like puzzle pieces. It was a fun, mini logic workout for my boys.

We learned that testing things out on a sheet of paper before sticking them together was also a good idea, so if any of the shapes were way off size-wise, we could easily recut them. The included sheets are extra generous — we made a dozen sun catchers and still had over ½ of each sheet left, so you don’t have to worry about making a mistake or two.

We had a blast creating sun catchers with the included pattern ideas, but I love that there’s no “right” way to create with this craft. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can create! Unlike other sun catcher kits in which you can only use included designs, kids can make whatever they want with this set, like a suncatcher that spells out their name or one of an imaginary monster.
Also, can we take a moment to appreciate that this craft is actually low-maintenance? My boys and I were at this for hours, and at the end of it all, the only thing I had to clean up was this tiny pile of scraps:

Taking breaks for lunch and the bathroom was simple to do too, because the puffy paint is easy to cap up and set aside. Cutting out the shapes once they were dry did take some adult help because the adhesive is sticky, but an older child would be able to tackle it alone. The boys had so much fun sticking the catchers to the windows with the adhesive that I may let them use some of the leftover supplies to make stickers!

Once everything was cut out, we added string and beads to hang our masterpieces on display.

The boys are partial to the unicorn, but I can’t decide if I love the feather or the narwhal more. They’re thrilled with how these sun catchers turned out, and I’m happy that we spent an afternoon creating things together without a ton of exhausting cleanup afterwards. If you’re looking for a fun, brain-tickling craft to do with your kids over the weekend or at a birthday party, this kit is an incredible stress-free choice.
To shop the entire line of Klutz kits, visit the Scholastic Store Online.
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