Garden sun catchers

Activity

Add splashes of colour to your garden, balcony or window using pressed flowers and leaves.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s):

Learning objectives

  • Use natural items as a form of art
  • Observe natural items up close
  • Create a decoration for your garden, balcony or window
  • Learn how to press flowers and leaves 

Preparation

Flowers and leaves need to be pressed before making the sun catchers. Check our resource for different ways of pressing them.

  • For best results: press for 1-2 weeks using the plant press or heavy book method.
  • For quickest results: place materials between two sheets of kitchen paper, place a heavy book on top and press down for a few seconds. Or use the iron method.

Ask your group or child to think about what design they might like to make. Do they have a colour scheme in mind?

Equipment

  • Natural materials such as flowers, petals and leaves
  • A bowl or sandwich bag
  • A way to press your materials
  • Laminator and laminating pouches or sticky back plastic
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers or toothpicks (only needed if using smaller, fiddly materials)
  • Hole punch
  • String or twine
  • Lolly sticks (4 per sun catcher)
  • PVA glue
  • Coloured pens or paint
  • Optional: sticks/twigs and a glue gun

Step by step

  1. Ask your group/child to walk around the garden with a bag or bowl and collect natural items such as small flowers, petals, leaves, seeds or grasses. Small children will find this activity easier if they choose larger items such as whole flowers and leaves.
  2. Press the materials using your chosen method (see 'preparation' for more).
  3. If using sticky back plastic, cut two identical squares from the plastic (approximately 11cm x 11cm or the same length as your lolly sticks).
  4. Place the pressed flowers, leaves etc onto one square of the sticky back plastic (leaving a gap around the edges to create a good seal) and place the other square on top, rubbing it firmly to get rid of any bubbles. If using a laminator, place your items into a laminating pouch and carefully put through the laminator making sure the items don't fall out.
  5. Use a hole punch to put two holes into the top of the sun catcher, thread string or twine through and tie at the ends.
  6. Use PVA glue to stick lolly sticks around the sides to create the frame and leave to dry.
  7. Once dry, decorate the sticks with felt tips or paint. A quick brush of PVA over the top will protect the decorated sticks from washing away in the rain.
  8. Once everything is fully dry, hang the sun catcher in your garden, on your balcony or in your window.

Hints & tips

  • If you don't have a garden, take a stroll around a park or woodland to find your materials.
  • If you are unsure about what plants are safe to touch, have a look at our checklist of potentially harmful plants.
  • You may wish to use scissors or secateurs to remove flowers or leaves - just remember only to cut them from plants you own or are allowed to cut from, otherwise look for fallen materials.
  • Use caution if using a laminator as the plastic can get very hot.
  • In place of lolly sticks, collect sticks from outside to give your sun catchers a more rustic feel. You may need a glue gun to attach them (to be used by an adult only) or you could punch holes in the platics, thread some string through and tie the sticks on.
  • Use petals and leaves to create letters that will spell out your school or group name when hung up together.

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Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
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