Creating flower suncatchers is a fun way to get kids’ hands on the different parts of a plant, especially the flowers. It’s also a great way to celebrate the spring equinox or summer solstice.
After learning about the anatomy of a flower in Parts of a Flower I, II, and III the vocabulary is tossed around a lot more easily. Many kids like to show off their vocabulary skills by pointing out the various parts of the anatomy to an adult or to other kids as though they’ve known it their whole lives.
This always makes me smile.
Making flower suncatchers is also a great way to focus on sensory when feeling the textures of the petals and leaves, hopefully opening up questions like,
Why are these petals softer than those?
What is all this fuzzy hair stuff all over the leaves?
Why doesn’t this flower have any sepals but this one has like, a million?
If you’re using ferns as a part of your suncatchers, the kids may notice little spots running along the backs of the fern leaves, thus opening up a great lesson (or at least a study-up note to self) on sporophytes. For older kids, this could get into vascular and non-vascular plants.
The finished products are beautiful and they look like natural stained-glass windows when the sunlight really shines through.
I love pointing out the veins in the leaves as well as different shapes within the petals. Similar to cloud gazing, we could easily call this petal- or leaf gazing.
Objective: to create a suncatcher using the parts of a plant.
Deeper Objective: to create a suncatcher using the parts of a plant while bringing our awareness to the moment and to the sensorial aspects of the plant’s anatomy.
1. transfer/contact paper, or self-seal laminating sheets
2. colored paper
3. whole flowers and leaves
**Note on the plant parts: If you are looking for a suncatcher that will last a long time, consider pressing the plant parts first, then using them for this project. Using live plants has it’s benefits but it is a temporary decoration as the parts will start to wither and decay. This is also a good Zen lesson in letting go.
Make the exterior of the frame by tracing a plate.
Make the internal opening circle by tracing a smaller plate inside of the larger circle.
Cut the out exterior/larger circle, fold in half, then cut out the interior circle. Now you have your frame.
Cut two pieces of the transfer paper into squares for the frame to fit inside then peel the backing off of the ONE square of the transfer paper to reveal the sticky side. Later, you’ll be cutting away the edges of the transfer paper, so you only need to cut enough to cover the whole frame. You’ll also be waiting until the very end to seal your suncatcher together with the other square.
Press the frame evenly onto the transfer paper so there are no bubbles made on the frame. The inside of the frame is now ready to decorate.
Prepare your materials in a specific area. I like going outside as this gives the children fresh air and natural inspiration. At this point you may have planned ahead and dissected the plant parts. Perhaps you even went ahead and made a rough design of your suncatcher. I have found that some kids like to have their ideas already planned out, and some prefer the spontaneous method. There is no wrong way here!
Begin the design process! Get creative, and let the kids use their own imaginations with as little – or no – suggestions from an adult, unless a child is having a minor meltdown.
You may have tons of leaves and petals leftover. If you do, cut out long or fat strips of the transfer paper, add some plant design onto ONE HALF, then fold the other side over to cover and enclose the design.
Press down very firmly, and all over the suncatcher. Nudge out any bubbles that may have appeared.
You can also do an impromptu frame from extra paper by folding the circle twice and then zig-zag or swerve your scissors to make a fancier frame.
Lay the frame on one half side of the transfer paper, create your design, then fold over as shown before.
Press down all of the remaining squares of transfer paper on top of the finished designs and press firmly.
Cut the edges of the transfer paper away from the frame.
I often use a spatula to make sure the transfer paper is stuck well to the frame and to the flowers. Be careful rubbing the edge of the spatula over the plant parts, as it will smudge and cut them.
Hang up your beautiful artwork and admire!!