Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Make your own suncatcher!

This little project came about in a funny way. I pretty much just made it up as I went along, but I was relatively pleased with the end result so I thought I'd share. The title is a little misleading because it's not JUST a suncatcher. It's also a makeshift squirrel feeder! But before you think "Oh no, here she goes rambling on about the squirrels again", keep in mind that it is easy to adapt if you would like yours to be different.

Let me go back to where this idea began. My love and I decided to check out a place called Wild Birds Unlimited, a really neat shop specializing in bird feeders, seed, baths, houses, and tons of other fun outdoorsy things like fountains and hanging whirligigs (it's a magical place to walk through and yes, I did just say whirligigs). We went in to purchase gifts for our grandmothers, and we did end up finding the perfect mother's day presents for them. But we also found lots of things we wanted. If I had the money, I'd drop hundreds there. But on this trip, I found one small item I had to have. It's squirrel food!

It was $7 for a pack of two corn logs. The only ingredient is "dry mature sweet corn flour", but it's really compressed. The squirrels haven't done a whole lot of damage to the one that we've had out for almost a month. But here's the problem: There were holders for these logs at the store, but they weren't particularly cute and they were a little pricey. There is a hole drilled in the middle of the logs, so we just wrapped ours in wire and hung it from a string. It doesn't look very attractive, but the squirrels don't seem to mind.

It makes me so happy to see them goin' to town on their new treat, but it's such an eyesore! I have a small balcony, and I think that anything taking up space should at least look nice. So I made up a craft project using materials I already had available.

Here is what you will need:

-3 bamboo grilling skewers
-14 marbles, stones, or glass gems in complementary colors
-hemp twine
-fishing line or strong beading string
-craft wire (should be flexible for wrapping)
-super glue or other strong adhesive
-corn logs (if you want it to double as a squirrel feeder)

*Not all materials are pictured

1.) Wrap your stones in wire. Make a loop at the top and wrap the wire around itself. Wrap them as if you were making them into pendants. Make sure the wire is tightly pressed against every contour of the rock or they might fall out.

2.)Lay your bamboo skewers in a row and arrange the stones however you prefer them. I wanted mine to form a diamond shape, so I placed 4 on the top skewer, 6 on the middle, and 4 on the bottom.

3.)Using a long piece of fishing line or thin string (1-2 feet), tie a knot around the bamboo skewer. Wrap it around itself at least 10 times. Place your first stone on the string, attaching it to the bamboo skewer. Then continue to wrap on the other side of the stone. Wrap until you are nearly out of string, and then hold the string tightly and glue the entire wrapping of string across the back of the skewer. Use plenty of glue, covering every string and also on either side of the skewer. Hold the string tightly in place while the glue dries.

4.) Once the glue is secure enough to hold the wrapping (this is why I like super glue- it absorbs quickly), release the end of the string and trim near the glob of glue. Burn the excess string so that it singes up close to the wrapping. Add a dab of glue to the singed end. Repeat this with every stone until they are all securely wrapped and glued to the skewers.

5.) Allow the skewers and stones to dry for a while. You should have used plenty of glue, so it is a good idea to just let the glue harden before proceeding. Half an hour or so should be plenty if you used super glue.

6.) Trim off the ends of the bamboo skewers. You should leave about an inch of extra space on each end.

7.) Cut two long pieces of hemp twine. Tie your skewers together. If you want a diamond shape, you will have to arrange the skewers and the twine so that it will hang correctly. Make sure the sides are even with each other or the skewers be crooked while hanging. Tie the two strings together on the bottom and top.

8.) Glue the knots in the hemp. Make sure you rub the glue into the fiber and use plenty where the knots meet the skewers. Allow glue to dry.

9.) If you want yours to be a squirrel feeder, tie a keyring to the bottom strings of your suncatcher. I used a figure-8 keyring for easy removal. Hang your wire-wrapped corn log from the keyring. If you do not want the hungry-squirrel attachment, you will still need to hang something to weigh down the strings enough to form the bottom of the diamond. You may wish to wrap another stone and dangle it from the bottom. Other ideas are
- old cd's glued together so that it's shiny on both sides.
- pine cones
- a small hanging planter
- metal chimes

10.) Enjoy!


babalisme said...

Is that a real squirrel!! Wow!! I wish my home attracts squirrel too! but the animals my home seems to attract are mosquito and flies. Yuck.

SheezKrafty said...

Very pretty and inventive! Your balcony looks like a nice relaxing place to hang out :) My kind of balcony!

SheezKrafty said...

About the lesson plans, I typically do one day at a time although, towards the end of the course I'll plan out the last couple of weeks to make sure we have time to finish everything we need to! Since I don't teach everyday and lesson plans aren't required, I just do them the day before :) They REALLY do help though! Let me know if I can pass along any tips ever! Speaking of lesson planning, it's what I'm doing right now! ;)

byrheea said...

This is so creative of you. Those stones are great! Lucky squirrel.. I hope they don't steal the stones away. lol.


cabin + cub said...

He's so cute just munching away!.. what a lucky little guy!

lollywood said...

I still can't believe the balcony of your apartment attracts squirrels but that's so neat! Plus the view looks really pretty in that last picture. :)

LillyShayStyle said...

Thats wonderful and pretty!
I love it!

BellaCene said...

I know how happy comments make you so here you goooo! :) That's a cool craft project...

Audrey said...

That's too cool!! I'm sure my dog would be very happy if I put up a squirrel feeder - she loves to chase them! You are very nice to your squirrels.
The school bus run I have now isn't stressful at all (have had one like that though). The kids are great as are the parents!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, that's so cool! I love all the wrapped glass pieces too. Yay!


EJ said...

That's so beautiful! It so lovely to hang decors in a garden or outdoor space. How bout some wind spinners for your next project!