Make Your Own Suncatcher Paint

I spent last school year as the craft mom for one of my kid’s classrooms. I liked it because I like crafts and small children love making little arts & crafts projects so if you are the one letting them do that then they love you! At Valentine’s Day though I wanted to be able to do a nicer craft that the kids could present to someone as a little gift that they would always see. That was when I decided that suncatchers would be perfect.

Suncatcher Paint

Suncatchers themselves are very inexpensive and you can find all kinds at your local craft store and even Walmart in their craft department. They can range anywhere from $.29 to $.99 for a single one or you can order from someplace like Oriental Trading Company and get them in bulk really cheap. The problem you run into though is that the paint is what gets costly. You can get one of those strips of paint that has like 8 colors but the pots of color are really small so for a classroom you would need to buy one for every two or three students. That was when I got crafty. While roaming around my third craft store I happened to walk past the glue section and I thought, I wonder if I can use that. I then took home some good old-fashioned Elmer’s School Glue and added food coloring to it. The “paint” worked but with the white glue it was not as clear as I would have liked. So the next step was to try the transparent glue and it was perfect. I couldn’t tell the difference between true suncatcher paint and the make your own suncatcher paint. Then thanks to my daughter and her love of glitter I found you could add some glitter glue to your homemade suncatcher paint to give it some sparkle.

Suncatcher Paint

With all of the snow, gray and just general dreariness that has been this winter and spring I wanted to bring a little pop of color to one of my windows and let the kids make a craft so we whipped up some suncatcher paint and they got creative. Next week is spring break for them and daddy is on duty while I am on the Brandcation cruise so I think I may buy some more suncatchers because this is a project even daddy could handle for them.

Suncatcher Paint

Suncatcher Paint

School glue (transparent works best)
Food coloring
Paint palette, small containers, cups or bowls
Gitter glue (optional)
String, yarn or twine

Squeeze about 1/2 – 1 tbsp. of glue into a container and then add some food coloring. I used 2-3 drops of color for each. Stir the glue and colors together and stir in glitter glue to any of the colors you want. Let the little artists in your life paint. When the suncatchers dry you can hang them up with some string, yarn or twine.


Do you have a favorite rainy or snowy day project that you make with your kids?

This craft was featured on It’s a Long Story blog along with a lot of other great no-prep kids craft ideas! Be sure to check them all out.


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Jennifer is a mom to 5 boys, 1 girl and 1 husband. Her kids range in age from 8-24 so things are always crazy with everything from school life, to autism and to college and beyond. She tries to bake, craft, travel and blog her way through all of the chaos and craziness that life, her kids and her husband throw her way.

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  1. Thank you so much for this awesome idea! I have been wondering how to create the effect when painting on plastic sheets without having to purchase the suncatcher paint.

  2. I just LOVE this idea! I am wondering if I could use this paint recipe on clear, plastic CDs? Have you ever tried using them? CDs make great sun-catchers and I have loads of old CDs on hand.
    I was also wondering how color-fast your sun-catchers are? Does the color fade out when put into a sunny window?
    Last thing – I live in Europe and don’t know if I will be able to find clear Elmer’s glue. Can any clear school glue work?
    Thank you so very much for taking the time to post your tutorial. My little students are going to love making these!!

    • I have not tried using it on clear CDs but I love the idea and I bet it would work.

      I have some finished ones in my window from 1 and 2 years ago. The color has faded some but is still there.

      If all you can find is white school glue then that can be used too. I have done it using that and the paint is a light, creamy color then when applied.

    • I have never stored it but that’s not to say you couldn’t. It is made of glue so if you just made it the glue containers it should be fine but may need to be shaken to get it mixed well again.

  3. How long did this take to dry? We’re thinking of doing some suncatchers for our church Easter Egg Hunt, and we’ve found that many of the commercial paints are poor quality and/or take 8-12 hours to dry…

  4. Thank you!I am making suncatcherfor my sister in law,I have some paints,just not enough colors,was afraid I would have buy the more expensive stuff,but you saved me thank you!

  5. I’m doing this for VBS and when I made my sample after it dried it peeled right off? Do you have any suggestions? My husband thought maybe wiping them with rubbing alcohol first would help.

    • Mine has never come off right away. Alcohol might help and it’s a good suggestion from your husband. I will have to give it a try. The paint will eventually come off but it’s been months and months before that has happened to me. Did you use the clear or white glue? While the white glue is not as bright I find I like how it lasts better.

  6. After some trial and error, I discovered that Mod Podge works nicely, too and does not separate and pool on the surface of the plastic like Elmer’s does. It dries in 15 minutes. I love that you posted this. Thanks.

  7. Pingback: 61 Outstanding Sun Catcher Craft Ideas – FunMaza