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These DIY suncatchers make for the perfect gifts or are beautiful to hang somewhere in your garden! Plus, they're super easy to make by hand and only require 3 materials.
Over the weekend, my mom suggested that we make “tree jewelry” AKA easy handmade diy suncatchers to put in our windows and our garden. I thought that was just the cutest thing, plus I was in a really crafty mood! So we headed to the craft store and bought a few materials to test out. We made quite a few suncatchers that day and perfected our process along the way. If you want to make super sparkly and easy DIY suncatchers too, keep reading!
For these suncatchers, you’ll need a few materials:
You’ll need flat back beads so you can sandwich two identical beads around a line. We picked a bunch of different sizes and shapes (they were on sale for 50% off at our craft store). Here are some similar beads to the ones we used:
For this we got both square and round shapes. Just remember that for each piece of your suncatcher, you need two identical pieces so buy the quantity that you feel you’ll need. We did this craft with our entire family so we bought a lot, but you’re probably good with smaller packs. Here are some similar craft mirrors to the ones we used:
Hot glue gun and glue sticks. Okay, so as you can see in my photos, we started out originally thinking that we would need to use a heavy-duty embellishing glue like Gem-Tac or E6000 because our suncatchers would be hanging in the outdoor elements. We thought that maybe hot glue would work because that’s what we were most familiar with, but we figured we would try the heavier options first. Long story short, we found that the hot glue works best. It sets much more quickly than the other glues, and that ended up being the deciding factor. If I had to rank the glues in order of best to worst, I would probably say hot glue was best, then E6000, then GemTac. When it comes to longevity and durability, I will make sure I come back and update you guys on how well the hot glue lasts. I could see GemTac being good when you’re trying to embellish a piece of clothing or something, but when you’re sandwiching two beads around a thin line, hot glue is really your best bet. We used Aleene's Ultimate Glue Gun which isn't available on Amazon, but this one is similar. The reason I like it is because of the long thin tip, which is easier to use with beads and rhinestones:
Craft Wire. We used Beadalon Supplemax monofilament illusion cord. .016 in, 0.40 mm. I don’t think it really matters what you use, you could probably even use just fishing line. The most important thing is that it’s clear and that it’s not elastic.
Scissors to cut line.
I would say this DIY project is pretty easy unless you find it difficult working with hot glue or small beads. Here's the tutorial:
Make sure you have all your materials. Lay down some cardboard and aluminum foil to protect your work surface. You may even choose to lay out a bead design. For some of my designs I just went for it and made it as I went and for others I laid out the look I wanted. Keep in mind that whatever beads you choose for your suncatcher, you’ll have to lay out a duplicate as you want the suncatcher to be double-sided. And when I say duplicate, I actually mean just duplicate size. You can use different colors on each side, you just want the shape to match up. We found that the craft mirrors provide the most sparkle and reflection of the sun, so make sure you add some of those. If you don’t have craft mirrors, that’s totally fine, they just add a cool effect when the sun hits them.
Measure how long you want your suncatcher to be. I mostly estimated, but I would say we measured ours out to around 30 inches each due to the fact that there is a loop created at the top for hanging. I made some longer and some shorter, but keep in mind that it’s easy to trim the bottom of the suncatcher so making it shorter at the end is easier than making it longer. In other words, make your initial cut longer than you think you’ll probably need.
Grab your first bead and the end of your line. I recommend your first bead being one of your craft mirrors OR a larger bead. This will make it easier to sandwich your line between the two beads. You are going to make a loop and hot glue it to the back of the bead, leaving some of the loop hanging out of the top of your bead. Try to line up and glue down the line at the center of the bead top and bottom. You want your suncatcher to hang vertically and straight so this will prevent any wonkiness. Add another hot glue strip and place the other matching bead on top of the loop and bottom bead. This loop step is probably the hardest part of the whole DIY!
Start to place your beads in the pattern you created down the line. Since you don’t have to create any more loops, just glue the backside of a bead, place the line on top, and smush a new bead on top. We did some experimenting with this, and you can also take a bead and place it under the line, glue it and then smush the other bead on top. Find the method that works the best for you! You can play around with the distance from the previous bead. I did a few close together and a few more spaced out. I think after making a few, I ended up preferring the ones I made that were closer together. They just look a little more colorful and sparkly because the colors play off of each other.
When you get to the end of the pattern and you are happy with the results, trim the excess line off. I usually leave just a little because it’s clear anyway, but you can trim as much as you want off!
Once you’re done, just pick off any hot glue strands and hang wherever you want, I have some hanging in my backyard in trees, in my windows, the possibilities are really endless. They’re the prettiest when the light hits them!
As you can see I need to pick off some of the hot glue, but look at how pretty they look in the light! So much sparkle!