Repurposed Craft for Summer, Sun Catchers…

Summer is in full swing here, the cicadas are chittering, vegetables are growing…We are spending lots and lots of time outside these days imagining, story telling and playing.  With all this time being spent outside, why not decorate the outside just like we decorate inside, right? Outdoor suncatchersHere are two DIY suncatcher projects that are great for the outdoors, but also, of course, would work equally as well inside.  Each are made with items that I repurposed from my own home.  Marble suncatcherMaterials used:  marbles, glass bottle, monofilament, origami paper, canning rings, hole punch, mod podge for outdoors, hot glue, foam brush, and bottle cutter.

To make the glass bottle suncatcher…

Begin by carefully cleaning your bottle in warm water and a small amount of vinegar, making sure to remove all glue.  IMG_7544
Next carefully score your bottle with the bottle cutter, make two score lines approximately two inches apart… IMG_7552We watched this video carefully before starting to get some bottle cutting tips. 

In the end what worked for us was 5 seconds in a pot of boiling hot water, 5 seconds in an ice cold water bath, and a run under the tap and then repeat until the bottle came apart. 

*Please note:  the glass does not shatter and does break or crack cleanly and fairly safely with little chance of harming you, but we did wear safety glasses while doing this.  Also, I would recommend that this part of the project be done by an adult, not children I will say, though, that the kids found it extremely fascinating and were eager to observe!  IMG_7583Once your ring is cut, carefully smooth the edges with medium grit sandpaper.  Next, add a small amount of hot glue to one marble and press it firmly onto the inside of the glass ring, repeat with the rest of the marbles until you have the design you want.  Loop monofilament through the ring, tie and hang… IMG_8419
outside or in… IMG_7627As much as we wanted to believe that bottle cutting was going to be our new favorite hobby, I have to be honest…it takes practice!  It is easy in theory, but takes lots of practice, it seems, before it actually gets easy.  But, we are looking forward to the practice, who knows what we’ll make next! 

In the meantime…here is an easier and more child friendly suncatcher that can be made using canning rings… IMG_7835We have several spare canning rings floating around our house, because while I do occassionally use my mason jars for applesauce or jam, I am also just as likely to use them as drinking glasses, so I won’t miss a few rings.  You could also use small embroidery hoops for this project.  

Cut two circles from your origami paper to fit inside the canning ring.  Punch a hole near the top of your circles (I forgot to do this until after, oops!).  Paint a small amount of mod podge around the inside of the canning ring.  Place one piece of origami paper inside the ring with the right side facing down, paint mod podge all over the back of the paper. IMG_7837Place your second piece of origami paper on top of your first, this time with the right side facing you.  Paint over top with mod podge, flip canning ring over and carefully paint the front of your first piece with mod podge.  Let dry.  Feed monofilament through your hole and hang… IMG_8404Now you’ve added some whimsical decorations to enjoy outside and in the winter they can come inside. 

Wouldn’t these be fun to give to the host of your next outdoor gathering, to add some extra cheer to the space!


  1. Dear Jane,

    We have cut bottles before with a bucket of cold water, some cotton string, alcohol, and matches. You soak the string in alcohol, tie it tightly around the bottle, light it on fire, and dunk it in the water after a few seconds. If you’re lucky, the bottle will just fall into two pieces.

    It sounds easy, but I must have gone through about 10 bottles before I got one that was perfect, although I’m sure that has something to do with the quality of the glass.