This rainbow DIY sun catcher is the perfect way to teach colors and develop fine motor skills to your toddler! The bright colors and touch of sparkle will bring the sunshine to any rainy day.
I’ve been seeing crayon melt art on Pinterest forever, but have never tried it. Aaliyah even got a kit for Christmas that we never opened. But to be honest I don’t own actually own a hair dryer, a fact I didn’t realize until I tried to do a crayon melt. Then I saw a tutorial for a DIY sun catcher and remembered the bag full of broken crayons I didn’t have the heart to throw away. I was sold… well almost.
I tested out the crayon melt during nap time. Typically I don’t do this, but because this isn’t a painting gone wrong that she can just paint her own way after, I wanted to try it out before letting her join in. After I was grateful I did because it was an epic fail. I burnt the wax paper AND didn’t pay attention to the colors so I ended up with a burnt brown sun catcher.
Ready to start round two, I decided we would abandon the idea of a spring DIY sun catcher like I had originally planned. I decided to instead create a rainbow DIY sun catcher, still springy but I could keep the colors separate. Aaliyah’s current favorite book is “Peek-a-boo Rainbow” and she is finally starting to acknowledge colors outside of BLUE!! so I thought the rainbow would be perfect.
- broken crayons
- wax paper (not parchment!)
- pencil sharpener
- glitter glue and sponge brush
- wood dowel
- needle and thread
I found the bag of broken crayons and started picking out colors. I love finding ways to recycle craft supplies, especially because a lot of times these crayons are broken accidentally with toddler strength, not through long term use. What I learned with my first is that this is a GREAT lesson in color theory. While Aaliyah is still identifying colors, this would be a great time for older kids to learn the color wheel. Have them use color shades, warm or cool colors, mix primary colors, or have them discuss what happens when you mix complementary colors together. Choosing colors is really important because they will mix when melting!
The tutorials for DIY sun catcher I saw used a cheese grater to grate their crayons. The one I tried had small holes and I was never able to even get crayon dust! So I found a handheld pencil sharpener and started sharpening the crayons. I used small containers for each color and used a dark and light shade of each color. It only took about a half of each color to get a good amount.
Once I had my crayons ready I plugged the iron in on the lowest, seriously put it on 1 no steam or it will burn! I moved her craft table close to where the iron was plugged in so that I didn’t have to move the wax paper once it was covered in crayon. Then I cut 14 strips of wax paper the size I wanted my hearts to be, about 3 inches wide. I definitely would wait to cut until you have everything set up because the wax paper wrinkles and leaves a line wherever it creases.
Once we had all of our supplies for our DIY sun catcher prepped, I set out a piece of wax paper shiny side up and grabbed the red container. I asked her what color it was, and we listed other red things we could think of. I then showed her how to sprinkle the shavings onto the wax paper, and she really enjoyed pointing out the lighter pink against the red.
When she was satisfied with the red, I placed the second piece of wax paper on top shiny side down. With a scrap piece of fabric protecting the wax paper surface from the iron, I moved the iron around for about 30 seconds. You can left the fabric up and make sure all the crayon has melted underneath, I even squished some thicker areas down with my finger to help mix the colors. We repeated this process for the rest of the colors until we had a rainbow of wax paper strips.
Now we took out the glitter glue, a new material for her! As I squeezed some out onto a plate I watched her eyes grow bigger and bigger. She was so excited I barely even had to show her how to brush the glitter onto the rainbow crayon melt strips. “More please mama more more!” We even painted the dowel because everything else was covered with gold!
Assembling the DIY Sun Catcher
Unfortunately Aaliyah is still a little young to tie knots, so I waited until she went to sleep to finish the DIY sun catcher. I took the opportunity to spend some mom time, and turned on Netflix and got comfy on the couch. I started by cutting a pattern piece heart shape out of scrap paper, and cut each strip into 3 heart shapes. Aren’t the colors and glitter beautiful? They look marbled!
Then I cut a two foot long piece of thread, and used the needle to tie it to the dowel. I then threaded the crayon melt hearts by going from front to back on top, and back to front on the bottom. Once I reached the purple heart I tied the thread off using the back thread. I repeated this process two more times, but placed the middle strand so that it would hang longer than the rest. With another piece of thread tied to each dowel end, our DIY Sun Catcher was complete!
I love the way the rainbow DIY sun catcher looks hanging off of the wall in her room. Her reading nook was just finished and I love the way it looks together. This is the perfect place to display her art, and I think I will be making the whole wall into her art gallery!
I think we will be making a few of these in different color schemes. Won’t they make the perfect gift?