DIY Sun catcher/Wind chime.

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! 


138 responses »

  1. I did a trial run last night with the cups and love it. Excited to get home this afternoon and cook shot glasses lol. Question – I have the ring but what did you use to hang it? It looks like ribbon in the pics.

  2. Just what I was looking for! Even before I read the post I laughed aloud at your mission statement! Wonderful! Thanks for doing all the experimentation. The plastic blobs are actually very pretty and could be used as beads! Well done!

  3. I love your project. How did you manage to get it to balance so well? So the hoop is horizontal. I made a suncatcher with 4 evenly spaced strands (without the melted discs) and I couldn’t get it to balance to save my life! It tipped every which way!

    • How many strands did you hang it from? It’s to do with the stability above, not below. You need at least 3 if not 4 string above the circle so it can’t pull in one direction. 🙂

  4. Very creative! I love windchimes and this is the prettiest I’ve ever seen.I want to try this.What size cup is suppose to be used,instead of shot glasses? Did you add food coloring to give the cup disc such a beautiful hue?

    • Hi. You would just need to experiment with different sized cups if you can’t get your hands on the shot glasses. They are already coloured so no extra colouring required.

  5. You got my creative juices flowing. Love this idea! I will be looking for the plastic shot glasses. The comments and answers were quite helpful.

  6. I tried this and love them! I made the hole with a toothpick after they were melted and just starting to cool. Worked great

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    • Just from a sewing and craft store. The one I went to in Australia is called Spotlight. In hindsight I wish I had made a triangle out of sticks though. Think it would have looked nicer. 🙂

  8. Are the fumes really toxic? I just found som plastic glasses I can use. Also the glasses I found are a little larger. Can I break them up a bit and then melt them?

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  10. Love this idea, I’m playing with all sorts of wind chimes and hangings and the moment – to the extent my adult daughters laugh at my ardent collection of nice shaped sticks! One thing – what size ring did you use? It’s hard to gauge by the pic.

      • Maybe a wooden embroidery hoop??? I see them all the time for really cheap prices at the thrift stores. BTW , really nice project, and kudos for being a stay at home mom. Mine are grown now, I’ve no regrets having stayed with them when they were little.

  11. I tried this and although it works mostly, I did run into a few issues. I preheated my bbq & tried to get it to about 220. It took a lot longer to melt them than 20 minutes. And I ended up doing them in 2 batches. Most of them were started yesterday then finished today because they weren’t completely melted. Re-melting them worked fine. The 2nd issue is that some of them stuck. And the 3rd issue is that you have to have perfectly spotless, clean, no non-stick pans. So far mine have all come out with black residue on them. Maybe it’ll come off when they are hung up outside. Also it depends what size of muffin tins you have how many cups you do. I have some that are smaller and some that are larger. My next batch I’m going to do in silicone liners so I can just flip them out easily.

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  16. Where did you find the shot glasses? I would think a portable toaster oven would work. You may have to use a smaller muffin pan.

  17. This is sooo cool. So many people just 100% copy someone else, and that’s why it’s hard to find anyone posting about melting any plastic other than #2 HDPE, which is useful for things but would never be glass-like, always softer and opaque. Thanks so much for your inspiring post. I came here when I saw the translucent, glassy disks held up catching the sun.

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