It has been entirely too long between entries. Life gets like that though I guess. I actually made this wind chime back in May, but have not had a chance to blog about it. Pretty sad when you can’t find a spare half hour in 7 months… but hopefully I will make up for that over the next 3 weeks while my schedule is not so hectic.
I am really happy with the way this project turned out, but it may not be something everyone can make at home, as you will need access to a kiln for the baking of the clay. I am lucky enough to have that access 🙂 The discs were made from potters clay, available from any good craft shop, about $30 for 10kg (it’s really heavy when wet!). I rolled some clay out to around 5mm thick, then cut the circles out using a metal egg ring. I then used a variety of leaves and flowers from around the garden, laid them over the clay and rolled over gently with a rolling pin, just enough to create the patterns as you can see.
Clay circles with leaf and flower prints.
Once baked and cooled, it was time for assembly. Mr 5 and Miss 6 were happy to help decorate the pieces of fishing line with some chunky transparent glass beads I had in my bead stash.
Threading the beads on fishing line before assembly
We then went on a hunt for the perfect stick, attached it to a chair and began assembly. I wanted the discs to taper down, so this was not something the kids could help with.
Once I was happy with the positioning of each string, I tied them in a few more knots and decorated the top hanging twine. Cut off any loose ends and it’s done. As simple as that.
Each disc touches the next ever so slightly, making a lovely sound in the breeze, without being too noisy.
Clay and glass bead sun catcher
Beads in the sun – sun catcher wind chime
Everyone loves a sun catcher – well according to Pinterest they do! This is basically the same concept as the Valentine Hearts we did a few weeks back, but instead of random shapes, we used a punch to make stars and circles etc from the cellophane. Once laminated, we cut out smaller shapes and hung them from a branch with some beads.
Ms 5 cutting out the shapes with a punch
Sprinkle over the laminating sheet,
All spread out
Ready to go through machine.
Trace out some shapes with a marker then cut out.
Hang on fishing line or string of your choice
we added some beads for extra colour
Sun catcher kids craft.
This is yet another almost impossible thing to photograph, it looks so much more bright and colourful in real life. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself, or maybe I just need to do a photography coarse, or even read the instructions for my DSLR…
Maybe I should rename this blog ‘101 alternate uses for Christmas Baubles’, lol. Here is something we put together this afternoon. It took about 45 minutes and stands over a meter tall. As usual, I struggled to take a photo of it, I really need to learn how to use my camera properly.
The sticks are those ornamental ones you buy from home decor shops, I think these ones actually came from The Reject Shop as around $4 a bundle. We cut them to size with secateurs and glued with hot glue, I reinforced the corners with zip ties. The stem is glued on – it is not weight bearing! Then starting at the top we glued the bead string to one side, worked out the length needed to reach the other side, cut the string, threaded on some baubles, and glued the cut end to the other side. Repeat, working your way down the tree. To create the zig zag look, the strands are 12cm/5cm apart down each side.
Once upright, I shortened each string on the baubles by just tying another knot in them. Glued on the star (came with the pack of baubles, $8 for the lot), and we are done.
What you’ll need
The tree frame
Mr8 helping glue
Glue the beads to what will be the back of the frame
Work your way down.
Christmas Tree Wall Art
Everyone was making all sorts of cool glass baubles last Christmas, but by the time I tried to source the actual baubles to do anything with, they were sold our or $6 each – errr, nah. But I found some in Spotlight in August this year and grabbed them so I didn’t miss out again!
I got the 2 different sizes available at spotlight, but for this project we just used the smaller ones. The process really is so simple it barely requires explanation. The beads are just plastic pony beads, you can find them in either the craft section or the ‘girls’ toy section of most variety stores. The ones that turned out the best were about 2/3 transparent beads and 1/3 solid colours. We did one with just transparent beads, but it ended up all kind of mixing together and turning brown, which was disappointing. If you don’t have a well ventilated kitchen, it would be a good idea to do these outside on the bbq, but the beads surprisingly don’t let off much fumes compared to other melting plastics I have played with. I had the oven set to just over 220c. You will need to keep checking on them every 5 – 10 minutes and turning as desired to create the marble effect. We used a silicone muffin and chocolate tray to position them after each turn and plastic tongs to handle them with. I ended up adding some extra beads to a few half way through the process, and just used a tea towel to hold them while they were hot.
Ms4 filling up her ‘rainbow’ bauble
Ready for the oven
Blue green and yellow combo
In the oven
The finished products
Green and Red – Christmas colours
Tie die baubles
Christmas tree decorations
DIY Christmas decorations
As they cooled down out of the oven, they did make a popping sound, which I thought was the glass breaking – but it was just the plastic separating from the glass inside a few of them. There you have it, marbled Christmas baubles.
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
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
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!
** 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!
Ready to melt
Thats more like it.
Adding the next colour
Use the BBQ, so you don’t fill the has with toxic burnt plastic smell.
The finished disks
Ms 4 helping bead the strings
Beading the strings ready to hang
DIY sun catcher
In bright light
Sorry if the beads are getting old. I really made this up as I went along. I wanted to use the rings I had bought to make Christmas Wreaths but never got around to. I thought this was something we could all do together and the results are pretty cute, although would do it differently next time.
We threaded some plastic jewels with beading wire, to make the ends. Then created patterns with different coloured beads, around 20cm long.
Finish off the ends by wrapping the wire into a loop around some needle nose pliers. The loop needs to be big enough to not let the beads slide off, and to allow you to thread more string on in the next step.
Then I just tied them around the ring, suspended it with some gift ribbon and suspended a glass sun catcher in the middle. All pretty straight forward. Ms 4 wants to hang it from her light, but as she has a light fan combo, there is nothing to hang it from.
What you need
Twisting off the end of the wires
Ms 4 threading
The other end of the wire
Twist around a pencil to make a spiral
Attache to mobile frame
Beading is hardly new as a way to entertain the kids and improve fine motor skills, but I have never let them try it with memory wire before. For those who don’t know what that is, Memory wire is tempered wire that “remembers” its shape and retains its coiled form. You can pick it up really cheap on ebay and then just cut to desired length as required. Due to the fact its wire rather than thread, it also makes it much easier for the little ones to get the beads on.
Once cut to length, just turn the end over with some needle nose pliers into a loop big enough that it wont allow your chosen beads to slip over, or in the case of really big beads, as I have done above, making sure no sharp ends will dig into their little arms.
The kids just made single loops today. Mr 7 experimented with patterns and Miss 4 went random.
Memory wire cut to length
Mr 7 threading some beads.
Ms 4 threading onto the wire
Mr 7s own design
Ms 4 modelling some bracelets.
I have a stupid amount of beads that I have collected over the last 20 years and the kids love playing with them. I picked up these ‘diamonds’ on ebay for just over $4 each including postage.
Sun catcher, miscellaneous beads and crystals, string or fishing line, scissors.
The kids couldn’t help themselves and had to smear their slimey little hands all over them as soon as we opened the mail. They are available in 9 different colours. I ordered these just for me and Layla, but now I have had to order another green and clear one for the boys.
Layla demonstrating that it’s child’s play. She added bells, crystals and beads. Butterfly beads of course.