It’s no secret that kids crafts are not my forte. I genuinely believe that creativity is NOT all-encompassing. For example, you might be great at painting, but terrible at sewing. Just because I’m ‘creative’ doesn’t mean that organizing a fun craft for my first graders is something that I’m good at, let alone enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, I let them paint scraps of wood, or sand a piece of old furniture in the garage with an oscillating sander, or glue pinecones to the dog… but gathering supplies for an organized activity?
It doesn’t happen often.
And that’s one of the reason I’m so lucky to have a mom who IS the ‘kids-crafts-type-of-creative’ (she’s an art teacher!) and loves her grandbabies enough to send them a craft each month. Y’all, it’s complete with all the supplies AND instructions typed out. I keep telling her she should start a subscription service for these art boxes.
Here are a few crafts from ‘Grandma’ that the girls have done in the past! (click each image below for the corresponding tutorial)
Today’s craft was a huge hit with the twins. They love getting their hands dirty!
Supplies for Salt Dough Suncatchers
(enough for two kiddos!)
- Mixing bowl
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters (optional)
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheet
- Drinking straw
- Pony Beads (<<affiliate)
We started out mixing the flour, salt, and water in a mixing bowl. At first we used a wooden spoon, but then once it was more doughy, I let the girls roll up their sleeves and get at it. Once it’s ‘formed’, divide into two and roll them into balls.
Roll out the dough to about 1/4” thickness.
At this point, you can either press a cookie cutter in to the center, or press your (child’s) handprint into the center. If you decide to go the handprint route, have an adult gently cut around the edges of your handprint with a sharp knife.
You should totally save (and bake) the inside piece too! I’m thinking Christmas ornament?!
This next part is IMPORTANT! Make sure you lay down parchment paper on your cookie sheet before you transfer your salt dough over! I forgot for a minute, and had to backtrack and fix it. If you forget and bake without the parchment paper, the melted beads will bake ONTO your cookie sheet, and remain for all of eternity.
Start adding the pony beads!(<<affiliate). You can get creative and make a pattern, or embrace randomness. There’s no right or wrong! One of the reasons that this craft is so fun for all ages!
Poke a hole in the dough with a drinking straw in the location that you’d like to hang it with a ribbon. Don’t get too close to the edge with this or it will be very delicate. Loosely lay some foil over the salt dough suncatchers and place them in an over that’s been preheated to 375. We baked the inner pieces of the star and handprint too! But that’s optional. Bake until the beads have melted together to create the suncatcher! It will take 1.5-2 hours in the oven, and the dough part will be quite dark when you’re done, but that’s ok! We’re going to paint on elmers glue and sprinkle on glitter!
Add some ribbon and hang these sun catchers up on the window!
The girls are pretty obsessed with these.
So cute, right? As always, if you try one of our crafts or projects, be sure to send us pictures! You can either email me at beth@realitydaydream, or tag us on Instagram or Facebook… we’re @RealityDaydream on both!
Go forth and be creative!
Thanks for pinning!
Really cute idea!
If we want to keep the dough the natural color and not so dark, would you think to pre bake the dough for a bit before adding the beads?
Hey tell you’re mother if she is interested in the subscription thing, I would gladly pay someone every month to send me something to do with my kids. I try being creative, but being short on time and ideas, it doesn’t often happen. I would gladly market it to my other mom friends too, its a great idea.
Hey so the salt dough part is super brittle after baking and some even cracked. 😕 I wanted to give these as Christmas gifts but don’t want them to break shortly after giving them. Any advice??? (We made handprints)
Bethany Sy says
Oh no that’s so weird! I wonder if you’re rolling out the dough too thin?
They were between 1/4-1/2in thick. 10 out of 12 had cracks in the salt dough after baking. I live in AZ so maybe the dryness affected things? 🤷🏽♀️
For anyone else who ends up with this problem: I broke off the big chunks of burnt clay, soaked the plastic hands in water to soften the burnt bits between the fingers, then cleaned them up. Next, I removed the backs off some picture frames, flattened the little tabs with a butter knife then glued on the handprints. So now I have 3 handprints per 8×10 frame that can hang in the window. 😃 I wish I could include a picture but I hope I was detailed enough to help anyone else who runs into bumps. 😉
You can do the same thing with cookie dough and crushed up hard candies.
Paul Temple says
So I just tried this and it works but……
I had to crank the oven up to full power to get the beads to melt. Gas mark 9 sorted them out.
Could you use perler beads instead of pony beads for a shorter cooking time?
Bethany Sy says
I’m not sure! So sorry! Try a google search?
I don’t think so. They are not translucent. You would not end up with a sun catcher.
What is the ratio of flour, salt, and water? I didn’t see quantities listed in your post but maybe I missed it.
De Knutseljuf ede says
Wow, great results! I like it very much. Creative greetings from The Netherlands! 🙂
I have melted beads inside cookie cutters many times and it doesn’t take 2 hours for them to melt. Is it because they were in the dough that it took so long?
Bethany Sy says
I have no idea, but I was surprised too.
real recipe says
I love this recipe. Easy with fast prep!!! Perfect!
I love that your mom sends monthly crafts! What a great way to keep those bonds and lines of communication strong. I bet your kiddos love waiting for Grandma’s surprises to arrive!
Bethany Sy says
They DO! They love it soooo much!
Sam jennings says
Hi these are fab! I love em just wondering though do the beads give off any fumes while melting thanks
Bethany Sy says
Good question! I didn’t notice any fumes at all! I threw my kids outside to play while they were baking just to be sure. 😉