A simple and unique way to add a gorgeous pop of colour and prehistoric fun: these dinosaur sun catchers are an easy craft to make with your little dinosaur fan. Better yet, you only need a few things to make one and there are only 6 simple steps.
TRIXIE’S DINO CRAFTS TO TRY
Title: Beautiful and fun dinosaur sun catcher
Craft: A sun catcher in dinosaur form
Dinosaur: Whichever dinosaur you have cookie cutters for
Best for: Kids windows, nurseries, gifts for fellow dinosaur lovers
Ease: 5 out of 5 – make some to enjoy the sun this summer!
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Why you need to make these dinosaur sun catchers
These dinosaur sun catchers are so easy to make and spread prehistoric love and light around the room. They really are quite gorgeous, the way the sun hits them, and each one is unique.
These DIY dinosaur sun catchers are based on an idea from The Artful Parent. Of course, ours are dinosaur-based and much smaller. Whether you make dinosaurs or not, they are still a great DIY craft for kids.
Has your little dinosaur used Perler or fuse beads before? You can buy dinosaur-shaped bead boards or plain square boards and create a dinosaur picture out of the beads. (The Smithsonian even has 3D dinosaurs to make out of Perler beads). Likewise with these dinosaur sun catchers: we have gone the easy route and used dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters to make our dinosaur forms. You could also use a larger baking dish, such as a round 6-inch cake tin and use the pony beads to make a dinosaur imag in the tin.
Step 1 – Set up Dinosaur forms and fill with beads
To make a dinosaur sun catcher you need a non-stick baking dish. Preferably, it will be an old one – you can often find some at your local charity shop. Just make sure it is one that is relatively flat and not warped. If you need to use one that you want to use again, for safety, line the baking dish with aluminium foil.
If you are using aluminium foil, try and use some that does not have any brand markings on it. I used one that had the brand logo on it periodically and in some spots, you can see it (if you know what you are looking for).
You will also need some dinosaur cookie cutters. You probably already have some from making our festive sugar cookies, right? In this case, they need to be heat resistant, so don’t use any with plastic on them. Choose whichever and as many dinosaur cookie cutters as you wish and lay them in the baking dish.
Fill each cookie cutter with a layer of pony beads. It sounds obvious, but in order for these to function as a sun catcher, it is important that you use the translucent and not the opaque pony beads. We found the glittery ones worked well; the pearlescent ones left interesting rings – I wished we’d either used more or none of these in each dinosaur.
You can make a pattern or use colour blocking, or just randomly place the beads. Our LDA liked the colour blocking approach, but I referred the look of a bit of random placement.
Step 2 – heat
Carefully (so as not to move the beads around) place the tray with the cookie cutters and beads in the preheated grill. It should be preheated to between 200 and 230°c (400-450 °F). Heat for about 10 minutes or until the beads are melted and no longer lumpy. Check on progress after about 8 minutes.
It goes without saying that adults should take care of this step, right?
If possible, heat the beads in a barbecue or grill outside. Yes, you can heat them in the oven, but the smell of the melting beads is quite strong and unpleasant (and possibly toxic). If you do need to melt the beads inside, make sure you air the room well.
Step 3 – Remove the dinosaurs from the cookie cutters
Now comes the moment of truth – what do your dinosaur sun catchers look like?
Allow the dinosaurs to cool for a few minutes (so that you can touch them), then carefully remove each dinosaur from their form. I found if I carefully went around each dinosaur, pulling the form away from the beads just slightly, the dinosaurs came out quite easily.
When the dinosaur were removed, there was a little line of plastic around the inside of each form. I ran them through the dishwasher then removed the remaining bits simply by scratching it off with a finger nail. I will give them another wash before using them for cooking again, just to be sure. If they were a set that was regularly used for play dough or salt dough or other activities, I would not bother.
Step 4 – Drill a hole
This is another step that you will probably need to do for your little dinosaur fan.
Using an electric drill and a fine drill bit, drill a little hole where you want your dinosaurs to hang from. Don’t make it too close to the edge. D-Rex (Daddy-Rex) actually did the drilling for us, but he used my pink drill.
(I think every woman should have and use a drill. It does not have to be pink, but why not. Ours is because it was a good set for a good price when we went to buy one.)
For best results, place the dinosaur on top of a block of wood while drilling. Stick a small piece of masking tape where you want to make your hole and drill through it. This will help prevent your dinosaur from shattering as you drill.
Step 5 – string and bead
String a piece of fishing line (or any thread you like) through the drilled hole of your dinosaur sun catcher that is double the length that you want. Move the dinosaur to the middle of your string. Thread more pony beads (or other decorative beads) onto both ends of the fishing line. When you have enough beads, tie both ends of the fishing line together with a couple of double knots.
Step 6 – hang
And let it catch the sun!
Turn your suncatchers into a mobile!
For an easy sun catcher mobile: Make at least 3 dinosaur sun catchers and make an additional larger shape (e.g. using a small round cake tin). Drill small holes (equal to the number of dinosaurs) close to the edge at equal intervals around the larger shape to attach each dinosaur. Drill additional holes to attach your thread or ribbon to hang your mobile.
Thread additional pony beads onto your fishing line to balance the dinosaurs and make your mobile hang straight.
- Translucent or glitter plastic pony beads
- Fishing line
- Additional beads
- Aluminium foil
- Dinosaur cookie cutter
- Metal pie dish
- Gas barbecue
- Electric drill with a small drill bit
- Block of wood
- Line your pie dish with aluminium foil. Place the selected dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters on your baking tray. Place a single layer of beads within the cookie cutters. This can be a random or more deliberate pattern.
- Heat your gas grill to 200-230 °c. Place the tin with the filled cookie cutters in the centre of the grill, close the lid, and heat for about 10 minutes or until the beads are melted and the surface is smooth.
- Once the shapes have cooled, carefully press the melted bead shapes out of the cookie cutters.
- Place the shape on a block of wood and drill a small hole in the beaded dinosaur where you would like it to hang from.
- Thread a piece of fishing line through the drilled hole and then bring the two ends of the fishing line together. Thread more pony beads over both ends of the fishing line until you have the look you want. Tie the two ends of the fishing line together with a double (or quadruple) knot.
- Hang your dinosaur sun catcher in a window and enjoy!
If you can, melt the beads outside in a gas or electric grill. Some have even used a toaster oven outside. If you need to use the oven inside, make sure you air the room well.
Only 6 steps to a dinosaur sun catcher: make yours today!
Our little dinosaur fan loved making these dinosaur sun catchers. She loved working out what pattern to do and watching them transform from beads into sun catchers. We think we’re in love! They truly are gorgeous and simple.