How to Make a Heart Suncatcher with Mosaic Tiles

How to Make a Heart Suncatcher with Mosaic Tiles

Use mosaic tiles to make a beautiful heart suncatcher to display in the window for Valentine’s Day. Also a great light table activity!

How to Make a Heart Suncatcher with Mosaic Tiles

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.

Heart Suncatchers 40

How to Make a Heart Suncatcher with Mosaic Tiles

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INSTRUCTIONS

Heart Suncatchers 16

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.

Heart Patterns and Suncatchers on the DIY Light Table

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.

Heart Suncatchers 13

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.

Heart Suncatchers 21

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.

Heart Suncatchers 27

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.

Trimming contact paper on a heart suncatcher

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.

Putting a washi tape border on a heart suncatcher made with mosaic tiles

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.

Heart Suncatcher Made with Mosaic Tiles from the Light Table

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.

How to Make a Heart Suncatcher with Mosaic Tiles

9. Admire!

It worked so well!

Heart Suncatchers 40

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!

30 Valentine Crafts and Activities for Kids

Want more ideas? Click here for 30 Valentine Crafts and Activities for Kids (with a FREE printable list!).

Pin It For Later

Mosaic tiles and a light table make an engaging kids activity. Also try turning these mosaic tiles into beautiful heart suncatchers to display in the window for Valentine's Day. #valentinecraft #valentinesday #kidscrafts #kidsactivities #suncatchers

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Leah
    February 4, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Looks like a lot of fun. We’re having a kid in 5 months. I know it won’t be able to do this from the start, but I enjoy reading your page to help me look forward to everything I will be able to do.
    There’s lots of science enrichment you can do here too. You can talk about color blending, because that’s different with light than with paint. You’d need some gel filters, or tissue paper might work. Or maybe colored plastic wrap? In any case, the light mixes differently because light transmission through filters only lets that one color go through the filter, so you don’t have blue wavelengths anymore once you’ve gone through a red filter. I’m pretty sure (it’s been awhile since I’ve done this) that you can’t get to purple if you put a blue filter over a red filter. Worth trying out!

  • Reply
    Lyn Zalk
    February 4, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    MY friend built a light box from 1×4 attaching lucite across the top…. and mounting from underneath a small under the counter type florescent fixture….. the bottom remains open with a small noticed out area for the cord to settle into.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Thanks for the ideas, Leah! Where do you get gel filters? I have some colored film paper that may be similar and that I’m looking forward to trying on the light table. I like the idea of playing with color blending in this way.

  • Reply
    Laura
    February 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Your light table idea is awesome, and we have been playing all afternoon. Good thing I STILL haven’t put my Christmas stuff up in the attic. And fortunate that I have a clear under-bed storage container that was easy to empty. Without mosaic tiles, we used tissue paper to make a simple suncatcher, and then we played with some dry alphabet noodles. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Whitney
    February 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Some teacher/school supply stores sell little discs like this. They are often with manipulatives or as counters in the math section. I have some for my Pre-K classroom that are also magnetic (small metal outline around each circle) which adds another dimension. Those are fun to play with using magnet wands. I also have plastic colored squares with a small handle (like a flat magnifying glass but it doesn’t magnify) that are fun and act just like the tiles but they cover a larger surface. Mine are about 2-3″ square. Sorry that I don’t know where those are from.
    I have a similar DIY light box at home and my girls love playing with magna tiles on light. They are available through DSS but I got mine through Amazon for less.
    Thanks for the ideas!

  • Reply
    Leah
    February 4, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I’m not sure where to buy them, honestly. I had them in my classroom. You could try a camera store, actually, as there’s all sorts of filters used there. Theatre supply places would have them, and science supply stores might too.
    These are pricy but could be fun. This is the basic idea: http://www.adorama.com/ROCEK.html?gclid=COHTvL_Ts7wCFfFDMgodnQcAHQ
    These would work too: http://www.amazon.com/Rosco-Strobist-Collection-1-5×3-25-Strobes/dp/B002SWIOOM/ref=pd_sim_sbs_p_4

  • Reply
    Darah
    February 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Does your box have a totally flat lid? I keep looking at them to make a light box, but it seems like I can only find ones with bumpy lids. But maybe that wouldn’t bother my kids like it would bother me!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 5, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Great idea! That sounds super easy and inexpensive! Where did he/she get the lucite? Is it something you can pick up at a place like Lowes or Home Depot?

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Yay!! Thanks for the comment, Laura! I love it when I hear that an idea I shared inspired action! :) So glad the diy light table was such a hit!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks Whitney! Sounds like I’m going to have to get myself to a teacher supply store soon!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks, Leah! I’ll keep those in mind!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    February 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Mostly flat. There’s a slight depression across the center of the lid, but it doesn’t seem to bother the kids (or me).

  • Reply
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