DIY Sun catcher/Wind chime.

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DIY Sun catcher/Wind chime.

This project was inspired by another bloggers post, which I can’t find again on Pinterest, so will have to edit it back in later when I can find it.  Anyway, I ended up doing something completely different to hers, because I couldn’t get my hands on the right kind of cups.  The original mobile was created with plastic (recycling number 6) disposable drinking cups.  I hunted high and low however, the only ones of them here were solid colours, so I had to settle for these shot glasses.  The shot glasses are a lot thicker though, so the entire method required adjusting.  As you can see in the gallery images, melting these at a low heat basically make little plastic globs that would only be good for playing jacks with.   Eventually I worked out that by turning the heat up enough, I could get them to melt flat.  However, they did emit a nasty smell at this temp, so I took the project out to the BBQ.  

Adding the next colour

Adding the next colour

After melting the first cups, I added another cup, so there was enough plastic to cover the base of each muffin hole.  I was not too worried about thickness, some ended up with 3 cups, I broke a few cups up to splash some other colour around.  The BBQ was set to 220C with the lid down.   After cooling, this is what you get; 

The finished disks

The finished disks

 

They actually set really hard and when clicked together sound like glass rather than plastic.  Makes them perfect for a wind chime.  Just like with my previous sun catcher, I drilled holes in the sides of each piece using a normal drill bit.  None of them broke this time, which was an extra win.  Then we threaded some fishing line through, held each end together and threaded random shiny and transparent beads along the 2 lines. Admittedly I do have a ridiculously huge stash of beads and stones accumulated from over the years, but you can pick up cheap beads at $2 shops that will still make the project inexpensive if you were starting from scratch.  The first line was 11cm, then I continued along making each one 1cm longer, there is 17 in total.  My darling partner tied them on to the pre made metal loop (from spotlight – and much to his disappointment, he is not a crafty person).  Once they were all tied on, I just slid them around until they were spaced evenly.  And done! 

Close up

Close up

 

** Please note, breathing in the fumes from melting plastic is probably not a very good idea.  So if you do try this at home, try to use the BBQ or make sure the room is well ventilated, and preferably don’t be near the oven while its all happening.  It not like burning tyres or anything, but it sure doesn’t smell like something you should be breathing in! 

 

56 responses »

  1. I love the idea! I want to try it – did you use any sort of non-stick spray on the muffin tin, or did the cooled plastic just pop out?

    • They are silicone trays, so have their own non stick properties – they just popped right out when cool. Try to use ones with a smooth surface though, if it has any texture, that will transfer to the finish and won’t be as shinny. Will still work though.:)

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    • I like that very much, will have to try, I take my toaster oven out doors and it works great, the smell is so bad if you don’t. I never tried the cups I used old beads. But this would be a lot cheaper. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. This looks like fun! I can’t wait to try it with my daughter. For Christi who is looking for a metal hoop, I am going to use the wire hoop from an old lampshade. I am planning to just take the lampshade apart and use the top circle hoop. I might have to cut some bits of wire off but I think it will work. If someone else wants to try this and doesn’t have a lampshade at home, inexpensive ones can be found at garage sales or Goodwills.

  5. this is really pretty and I’d like to make one – LOVE the little discs – but can’t figure out what the plastics are that you melted – where would you get those little cups and those other little figures you melted? I’m old – and these must be some new modern things – thanks!

    • Just any $1 store or even the party supplies section at the supermarket should have them. They are usually in a pack of 40 for a couple of dollars. They are disposable shot glasses.

  6. hiya:) came across your page as i am DIY window shopping atm…..i love, LOVE this idea, would look sooo very pretty in my garden….i just wanted to ask, is there anything else you could use besides the plastic shot or party cups?!?!? i’m just thinking of some cool colours:)
    love your page & i look forward to hearing back from you….Jo x

    • Plastic beads work. If you go to sun catchers on my side menu you’ll see another one we did with beads. I think it’s all about the melting temp and plastic number. Might have to do some experimenting:)

      • I am wondering if the regular sizes of #6 plastic cups would work??? Longer time in oven I would imagine but I think I will break one up and give it a try. Has anyone out there tried using thicker #6 plastic cups? If so please share your experiences. Thanks.

  7. hello, as with all your followers, i love those plastic disks in the wind chime. can you give me a ball park figure of how long does it take to melt the plastic items in the muffin tins? i don’t want to over melt them to burning point. thank you, Nancy

    • ohhh, you know it was so long ago now I really don’t recall. Maybe 20 minutes? It was not too long as I didn’t venture far from the BBQ. Also keep in mind my heat it celsius not fahrenheit. Had someone confused by this on another tutorial!

      • I have just started making some of these and I find that if I have the toaster oven on 220C, 20 minutes isn’t quite enough to get that glassy look that I think makes these look so lovely. After 20 minutes, I would check them every 5 minutes until they were all melted. I did find that if I left them in too long, they began to smoke so take care to keep an eye on them after 20 minutes. The smell is horrid!! So glad I can do these outdoors!!

      • I just can’t figure out how your discs are so clear and the colors so melted together. This is my first attempt so any advice would be really appreciated. I am using a table top oven at 220C – should I try a higher temperature?? I have left them in for up to 35 minutes and still have not got that lovely look that yours have. Thank you,

  8. I just love these – they actually look like glass! I live in Europe and need to find out if our recycle numbers are the same as the USA. I have #5 plastic glasses now but …. not sure if they can be used. Any advise?? Thanks so much for your well written tutotial!

      • Did you end up using the ‘fail’blobs? Just curious if they could be remelted or not. Can’t wait to make some of these this summer. Will definately use my table top oven – outside!

      • I am wondering if the regular sizes of #6 plastic cups would work??? Longer time in oven I would imagine but I think I will break one up and give it a try. Has anyone out there tried using thicker #6 plastic cups? If so please share your experiences. Thanks.

    • I am not really sure. I have done a similar project with metal cookie cutters and it was a bit trickier to get out. You might just have to test with one first.

  9. How do you get the disk out of the pan? this is the 3rd time trying and im not having any luck. (First time evaporated in flames lol)

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  11. I was inspired to try out an idea that I got while reading the comments. When I realized that the plastic would stick to metal that was not non-sticking I thought to break up plastic and put the pieces inside of a metal rim from a can. I then placed that on a piece of baking paper and it turned out so cool – it is as if the melted plastic has a frame around it. I can’t wait to do more so I can make a mobile! I plan on painting the rims with metallic paint so they are brighter.

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  13. I just started making these with melted beads. I use a toaster oven on my porch at 400 degrees for 20 mins in muffin pans different sizes. Doing outside takes care of the smell. I sell these with my jewelry that I make. Makes a very nice yard sell. I am going to try the plastic cups. I think those little red solo cups would work great. Going to try them this weekend.

  14. Pingback: Sun Catcher Wind Chime Project | Do It Daily

  15. Does the color eventually fade out from being out in the sun? Also, if I used my toaster oven outside, can it be used for food again or is it contaminated from the fumes? Thanks for your time in responding. Holiday Blessings, Sue

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