At the end of a bloody winter, find ephemeral beauty with these easy-to-make homemade ice suncatchers. These mini ice sculptures, which you can fill with berries, seeds, leaves, cut fruits or even materials from the craft box, reflect the light like short-term, sun-catching crystals. You can make and freeze them outdoors in appropriately cold temperatures, but they can also be made in your freezer.
Ice sun catchers can be constructed in almost any size and shape. An aluminum cake plate creates a large, round, flat ornament. A Bundt pan creates a wreath-shaped ornament that can be hung on heavy branches outdoors. Silicone ice cream molds, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, offer three-dimensional sun catchers. You can also use cookie cutters for different shapes (wrap the bottom of the cookie cutter in plastic wrap so the water stays in place when it freezes). For a family activity, use a muffin pan and do six or twelve at a time; This way, each family member can design their own.
Gathering the materials to freeze in the sun catchers is part of the fun. Outside, look for natural materials like pine needles, small sticks, acorns, pine cones, dried leaves, and holly. Use the backyard or local park as a source and choose items with plenty of color and texture.
In your home, thinly sliced citrus fruits, fresh cranberries, and even dehydrated apples or pears are worthy substitutes for refrigerators and pantries. (However, avoid foods like raisins, which are toxic to dogs and dried beans, which are toxic to birds.) If you prefer man-made materials, consider sequins, buttons, rhinestones, pieces of ribbon, and even glitter. Using non-natural materials in them, put the finished sun catchers in places where you can easily collect the items when they melt.