Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Wind Catcher

a.k.a., not-a-fourth-of-July summer craft.

I said to myself this week, "Self, get on Pinterest or put on your thinking cap or recall some childhood project and come up with a fourth of July craft. And do it quick, because you can't post a time-sensitive craft like that the day before the holiday. You've gotta give people time."

So I did. I looked through Pinterest. I put on my thinking cap and I tried to recall some good old American crafts. But I either came up blank or, honestly, just didn't like anything I found. I rediscovered through this whole process (because I already knew this about myself) that I actually don't really like cutesy crafts. At all.

Is that awful?

Well, it is what it is. So I scrapped the fourth of July craft idea and decided to just celebrate summer instead.  Here's what I came up with:

Summer Wind Catcher

First of all, this is an inspired project. I found the original idea at The Craft Train, and I loved it because the idea was so basic that the artist could take it in all kinds of different directions. Here's what we did.

Materials (what you see here are the materials needed to actually assemble your wind catcher):

1. One gallon milk or water jug (not pictured)
2. fabric
3. sea shells
4. wooden beads
5. jingle bells
6. paint markers (not pictured)
7. fabric stiffener (not pictured)
8. hemp or jute rope
9. fishing line
10. stick (not pictured)
11. scissors
12. hole punch (not pictured)
13. paint brush (not pictured. Make sure it's a messy brush; it's for the fabric stiffener.)


I'm not gonna lie. This project was a bit more involved than I anticipated. Once all the prep was done, then it was super quick and easy. But there was some prep work involved. Your kids, depending on their age, can help with some of it. You'll have to do the rest. All right. Here we go.

First, cut your gallon jug into little pieces. Then hole punch each piece two times. Here, I've only hole punched them once, but I quickly discovered that they needed two holes. Trust me.

Set them aside. Then cut your fabric into pieces that are similar in size and shape to the ones above. After you've got them all cut, brush a layer of fabric stiffener over each piece and let dry. This was actually a pretty quick step and it's important! After they're dry, go ahead and hole punch them twice as well and set them aside.

While you're fabric is drying, take your gallon jug pieces and your paint markers outside. I showed my kids how to use the markers to paint each piece. 

Daniel painted two pieces and Natalie painted several pieces. Then this happened:

Why, yes. We were all outside in our jammies. That's how we roll around here.

After you've finished painting the rest of the pieces because your kids lost interest, go inside for awhile. Let them dry. Have breakfast and put the baby down. Then you can finish your wind catcher.

The first thing you need in order to assemble these little guys is a hanging stick. I brought my kiddos back outside and they each chose one that they liked. This might have been Daniel's favorite part of the whole project:

The boy loves sticks.

After we were back inside, I tied pieces of hemp onto their sticks. Daniel asked for 2 strings and Natalie asked for 4 strings, so that's what they got. Then I showed them how to thread our various objects onto the strings. I didn't give them directions after that. They were allowed to add as many or as little of each of the pieces in whatever order they wanted. 

Daniel loved the wooden beads. Natalie used all the objects and threaded them on her strings in what appeared to be random order. 

I am a little sad that they weren't all over the fabric pieces. I was especially fond of them. Natalie did use a couple, but I would've used the whole lot. This was an exercise in restraint for me. I kept wanting to shove a piece of fabric in their hands, and I kept having to tell myself to back off and let them create their own wind catcher. 

We did end up using two different kinds of string - the hemp was used for the pieces with larger holes. Plus, I liked the look of it - very natural. Then, they each wanted some fishing line to thread smaller things, like our jingle bells and sea shells. 

Once they were finished, I tied a hanging loop on each of their wind catchers, and we hung them on the front porch:

Summer Wind Catcher
Daniel, age 3

Summer Wind Catcher
Natalie, age 4

Briefly. After that, they decided that they wanted to give them to some friends. So down they came. And boy, were they excited when they gave them away! It made me happy :)

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  1. Gosh I love it! Love the fabric covered pieces. Yes, I did a fair portion of our version too ;-) But the kids think they did it all.

    1. Thanks again for the idea! It really was such a fun little project :)

  2. What a great project! Love the shells and nature theme. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks! I love adding "the outside" into our projects, and the kids love it it's free. Can't beat that!

  3. Replies
    1. It was a lot of fun! I might have to make one myself...still have all those fabric pieces that the kids didn't seem to care for.

  4. Very Cute, I'm visiting from the Monday Parenting Pin-It Party. I'd like to try this with my daycare kids this summer. Pinned this to my summer board!

    1. Cool! If you guys do end up trying this, please let me know! I'd love to see them!

  5. Such a great idea and so pretty! Thanks for sharing with the pin it party. have pinned to our main board and to my kids summer fun board. I am

    1. Yay! Glad you liked it. Send me a link if you guys do this and I'll come check it out :)


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