Use mosaic tiles to make a beautiful heart suncatcher to display in the window for Valentine’s Day. Also a great light table activity!
I set up a quick version of a DIY light table about a month ago (after years of saying I would make one) and it has been absolutely wonderful during these past few weeks of snow days and illness. The kids have gravitated toward it again and again.
The light table is simply a large clear plastic storage bin with a string of white Christmas lights inside. It’s the easiest and cheapest light table possible, yet the kids would call it Fun with a capital “F” and I would call it a sanity saver.
Most recently Maia and Daphne made a heart suncatcher with some of our translucent mosaic tiles. They are really quite gorgeous!
What began as a mosaic design and symmetry activity on the light table became a lovely heart suncatcher when we sandwiched the lightweight tiles between sheets of contact paper. Here’s how we did it.
How to Make a Heart Suncatcher with Mosaic Tiles
- translucent mosaic tiles
- transparent contact paper
- clear storage bin
- clear white lights
- washi tape or colored masking tape
1. Assemble light table
As you can see, our “light table” is one of those under the bed storage bins with wheels. I picked it up at Target for $14.99.
The string of white lights was purchased on clearance after Christmas and works well to light the table. The cord is thin enough that I can close the lid over it securely as it snakes out the top to plug into a nearby outlet.
2. Lay contact paper on light table
Maia and Daphne had used the mosaic tiles on the light table before, but had gotten frustrated when a small bump would move the tiles out of their carefully laid designs.
So this time I taped some transparent contact paper face up on the light table, thinking they could create their designs as before but that the sticky plastic would hold the tiles where they wanted them.
I knew it would still be easy to pick the tiles back up and move them around as their ideas and design changed form.
3. Draw heart shape
But, on a whim, I drew heart outlines on the contact paper rather than leaving it plain as I had initially planned.
They woke up recently to to this invitation on the light table—the contact paper with heart outlines and an assortment of the translucent mosaic tiles—and dove right in.
4. Create designs with tiles
Maia made symmetrical designs on her heart with the colorful tiles. Daphne mostly picked out her favorite colors to fill her heart.
When I saw how pretty they were on the light table, I asked the girls if they wanted to try them in the window as suncatchers. Maia declined, wanting to pull her tiles off and make more designs instead, but Daphne was enthusiastic about the idea.
5. Add additional layer of contact paper
I helped her add another layer of the contact paper over the top to sandwich the mosaic tiles in between two sheets of the sticky plastic. Then we admired the heart suncatcher in the window with the light shining through it.
6. Trim edges
She was totally fine with it as it was, but I thought it might be nice if we cut off the extra contact paper from around the heart and she was game.
I drew a larger heart around the first, creating about an inch-wide margin of the contact paper (to hold the tiles securely in place), then let her go at it with scissors.
7. Add washi tape border
We added a border with purple washi tape, Daphne cutting the pieces, and I helping to wrap them around the heart’s tricky curves.
8. Hole punch & add ribbon
Then Daphne punched a hole at the top of the heart with a paper punch, we looped a pink ribbon through, and Daphne hung up her new suncatcher.
It worked so well!
The colorful mosaic tiles of the heart suncatcher really glow in the light!
Once Valentine’s Day has passed, we’ll likely dismantle this heart suncatcher and return the tiles to the light table. But for now, we’re loving how it looks in the window!
A note about the tiles:
I bought our mosaic tiles from Discount School Supply. When I started writing this post about the suncatchers, I thought I’d be able to say that you can get these sorts of translucent plastic tiles anywhere—even the dollar store. But I haven’t seen them in the stores. Does anyone know where you can get something like this? I recommend the DSS tiles without reservation, but was hoping to give you another option in case you didn’t want to order online. (I know you can get glass tiles and gems at craft stores and they are great for the light table, but would likely be too heavy and bulky for a contact paper suncatcher.)
Update: We’ve used these translucent pattern blocks on the light table (although they wouldn’t work as well for the suncatchers that you hang as they are more 3D).
Do you have a light table? Is it a real one or a DIY version? I’d love to hear your favorite materials or activities for it. Leave a comment below!
Want more ideas? Click here for 30 Valentine Crafts and Activities for Kids (with a FREE printable list!).
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