Friday, March 26, 2010

Crafts: plastic light catchers

I found this cool craft project in the Family Fun Digital Magazine, April 2010.

Pretty Plastic Light Catchers

By adding a very small amount of water to gelatin, kids can create a simple plastic that hardens into colorful window decorations. Gelatin is formed from collagen, a protein made of tiny fibers that’s essential for keeping cells stuck together. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind a product that is lightweight and strong but without any of the oil-based chemicals used in many factory-made plastics. The bonus: it glimmers and shimmers in the sun.

What you need:

  • Small saucepan
  • ¾ cup water
  • Small spouted measuring cup
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • Food coloring
  • 4 disposable plastic plates
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Parchment paper
  • Heavy books for weighting
  • Markers (optional)
  • String, ribbon or fishing line
  1. Boil 3 tablespoons of the water and pour into the measuring cup. Add 1 envelope of gelatin and a few drops of food coloring. Stir the mixture slowly until it’s combined. Let it sit for about a minute, then stir it again to minimize air bubbles.

  2. Pour the mixture onto the plastic plate. If you like, sprinkle glitter on top of the gelatin, or add one or two drops of different colored food coloring and swirl with toothpick to make a marbled pattern.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the remaining envelopes of gelatin, varying the shades of food coloring each time.

  4. Let the gelatins dry until hardened, at least overnight. Peel them off the plates, then cut them into shapes with scissors. Using a hole punch, make holes at the top of them.

  5. If your light catchers start to curl, wrap them in a sheet of parchment paper, then place them between two heavy books. When they’re flat, use markers to draw on them, if you like.

  6. Suspend each from a string, ribbon or fishing line and hang in a sunny window.

For younger children, I imagine you could lay various shaped or themed cookie cutters on the plates and pour the gelatin mix into them, creating the shape you want without needing to cut it in the end.

Have you tried this before? Any tips? Have any great crafts or craft resources? Please comment below and share. Or email us your crafts to post on the blog.


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