How to Make a Beautiful Autumn Leaf Mobile
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Our latest 30 days of fall blog party post comes from Gail at Growing Healthy Kids. Use some of your spare beads and create some beautiful autumn decor with your kiddo’s.
We were given the idea for this craft from a friend and it quickly became a new obsession for us this Autumn.
As soon as we had the idea, we couldn’t wait to get started so the kids spent a few hours lazing around the garden making their first designs with a big box of pony beads and a cocktail stick.
You can just toss the beads in the dish if you’re not looking for a specific design or sit for hours getting your design just right.
This makes it a perfect craft for all ages and abilities. It’s wonderful to practice fine motor skills as well as our artistic side.
After we finished our sun-catchers, we decided they’d came out so well we were going to do more! Check them out here.
We were amazed at the bright colors and the possibilities were endless.
So we decided after the success of our Summer sun-catchers that we wanted to make an Autumn leaf sun-catchers too, so we could capture the low autumn sun.
So, Here’s How To Make Autumn Leaf Sun-catcher With Melted Pony Beads.
Sticks to help you place your beads.
A metal cake tin or baking tray -an old one preferably as the beads contain chemicals you wouldn’t want near food.
Shaped metal cookie cutters we used some metal leaf shapes.
Pony beads in your desired colors.
Wire or thread
Gas or electric grill (preferably outside but you can do it indoors with very good ventilation)
Some sand paper can be helpful too
INSTRUCTIONS: To start your sun-catcher.
Firstly, lay out your cake tin or tray somewhere flat. Then lay your chosen cookie cutters on the top of the tray.
Take your pony beads and sort them into the colors you’d like to use. For us we used autumnal colors, red, orange, yellow, browns and the odd green and purple.
Then place the beads in a few at a time and arrange them where you need them or toss them in for a random design.
Make sure you fill the whole shape with beads, especially in the narrow edges. Insert extra beads into any spaces you see and don’t leave any gaps but don’t over fill the shapes to high.
The beads will melt to fill the spaces, so you need an even layer, plus about half as many in the gaps so the shape is the same thickness all over.
(They will contract a little when they cool and pull away from the sides. You don’t need any grease-proof paper or oil as the metal pans are non stick)
Heat your stained-glass sun-catchers carefully
It’s recommended to bake these for 5-15 minutes at 200°C
I used an electric oven indoors when everyone was out and I had extra ventilation and doors open, but you can also do these outdoors with a BBQ.
This makes the plastic bubble slightly, so air bubbles are trapped inside but this is a nice effect too.
The melting time will vary depending on the size of the stained glass and the temperature.
I set my timer for 10 minutes but the leaves actually needed 20 in my oven at 200°c
While your waiting, you could check out some of these other fantastic Autumn crafts and activities
Note: The fumes from melting plastic are not good to breathe, which is why we do the melting on the BBQ outside or with really good ventilation.
Cool Down your Melted Pony Beads
After the pony beads have melted and are smooth. CAREFULLY remove from the oven.
I was worried the plastic would be runny and we would lose the patterns but the mix was still quite thick and stable.
We remove the melted pony beads from the oven and put them on the path outdoors away from everyone to cool.
Let them cool completely which only takes around 5 minutes
The bead shapes started making a popping cracking sound almost immediately, which was just the plastic condensing back into its solid shape and coming away from the metal tins.
Our Stained-Glass Leaf Sun- catcher Looks Amazing!
Who Knew These Could Be Made From Simple Pony Beads!
Once the leaves were cooled. We removed the cookie cutter by gently pressing out the shapes.
If your creations get stuck, gently tease the mould outwards and this should release the plastic shape.
We used a small drill bit to drill a hole in each piece and tie a length of thread to each one all different lengths.
Then the kids used rough sandpaper to take off any rough edges to the shapes and hole before we hung our plastic leaves from a knobbly branch we found in the woods. We decided to set it over the window.
When the low Autumn sun shines through these leaves my kitchen now fills with an amazing multi-colored glow.
A perfect craft to start our Autumn and the kids learned so much as well as having fun using their fine motor skills.
I hope you enjoy this craft. Please drop us a comment and let us know what you think of our leaves. I’d love to know what other designs you come up with.
Don’t forget, if you’re looking for more outdoor activity ideas. You can now purchase our pack of 52 activity cards crammed with all sorts of activities to keep the family entertained.
They’re also a handy pocket-size pack so you can pop them in your pocket and off you go for adventure!!
Check out our Facebook page for loads more ideas too!!
Till next time …
About Gail – You can find Gail blogging over at Growing Healthy Kids. Gail is a mother to 3 beautiful kids and provides a fun in home daycare service for other little’s. She loves walking her big fluffy dog, growing organic fruits and vegetables and creating fun crafts with the kids. Follow her on Pintererst and Facebook or tune into her blog for fun and simple ideas to grow healthy kids.
I hope you are enjoying our fall blog party. If you are looking for more decoration ideas, check out this post from our fall blog party and make a leaf mobile.