Scented Light Catchers | a 10-Minute Project

Creating doesn’t have to take a lot of time – or a lot of tools – to be meaningful & fun – that’s why we’ve created 10 minute projects.

Scented Light Catchers Cover image I’ve started to notice a beautiful shift in the light – it’s coming in at a new angle, a lower angle, casting beautiful shadows and a special glow through our home. Sure night is falling a little sooner, and the the morning sun coming a bit later, but I’d prefer to focus on the beautiful quality of the autumn light.

The past few months we’ve been having a lot of fun in our home discovering new creative tools and art supplies. We have also been continuing to enjoy exploring scent – we go on scent walks (which can be particularly… ummm… exciting living in a city!) to see what fall smells like, or rain, or the lake breeze. We’ve been experimenting with new combinations for scented play dough. And we’ve been cuddling in with our scented comfort pillows.

So for this month’s 10 minute project, we wanted to find a way to combine these themes in our life right now – the light, new art materials, and scent. The result has been these beautiful scented light catchers. For the little ones, it’s a process project – coloring and painting with scented oils. For the grown-ups, a bit of cutting and stringing, and you have a lovely bit of decor – seasonal or otherwise.

You Will Need

supplies for scented light catchers via craftingconnections.net Construction paper
Leaf stencil printouts (optional)
Markers, crayons, charcoals, or pastels
Scented oil
Mineral oil
Paintbrush
Scissors
Needle & thread

What To Do

Start with your dry materials – your markers, crayons, pastels, etc. You can color in some autumn leaves, or just cover full pages of construction paper with color.

IMG_3130 IMG_3135 Once you’re little one is satisfied with their art, it’s time to add some scent! Combine 1/4 to 1/3 cup mineral oil with a few drops of scented essential oil. No essential oils? You can use flavorings that are suspended in oil, like peppermint or almond (vanilla won’t work since it is water and alcohol based).

Let your little ones choose with their nose – do you have a scent that smells like fall or spring? Like love or flowers? Like something else? What words do your little ones use to describe what they smell?

Stir the oils together and then let your little ones paint the oil across their paper. The oil will make the paper translucent. Watch what happens to your drawings – some materials will mute and combine, others will enhanced into bright jewel-tones.

IMG_3152 IMG_3154 Once your little ones are done painting, wipe their drawings to both remove excess oil, while making sure that the whole paper is covered with oil so that it will catch the light once hung.

Cut out your light catchers. If you have a scissor-savvy little one, invite them to work with you. Cut around the shape of your leaves, or cut circles or other shapes from your painted construction paper.

Thread your light catchers together, hang them in a window, then sit back and enjoy the beautiful seasonal light streaming through!  double image scented light catcher IMG_3191

Explore More

What if you use a colored piece of construction paper? What happens to the paper when you paint on your oil?

How about using something different for your initial coloring? If you used markers, try crayons and so on.

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Make Connections

Look around, does your home have anything else that catches the light? How does it work? Does it have a story behind it? Talk with your grown-ups to find out!

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Andrea! Your activities are so creative! This is so engaging from many different angles. I really appreciate the sensory aspect and creativity! Thank you for sharing today! =)

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you so very much Heather :) When working with little ones, I like coming at a project from a couple different angles – you never know which one they will really gravitate towards.

    [Reply]

  2. says

    Wow, how lovely is this?
    What a delightful project for your kids too! Love how you got the little one involved.

    The final product is just beautiful for so many reasons.

    saw your link at the HFH hop and came over.

    Thanks for sharing…will def be trying this!

    Have a great day!

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Chris!

    [Reply]

  3. tameka says

    This looks fun! You are very creative!! I have never bought or used mineral oil. What is the purpose of it in this project? May I use something else in its place? If not, is there a specific type/brand you recommend? Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Great questions! I used mineral oil because it’s what we had on hand and I knew it wouldn’t spoil or smell “off,” which could happen if you used something like olive oil in its place. The mineral oil I used was some that we have for oiling our cutting boards so they don’t dry out. You could also use something like baby oil or unscented massage or body oil. As for brand – if you’re only getting the oil for this project, I say go for the cheapest you can find!

    The purpose of the oil is to make the paper translucent so that the light can shine through and enhance the colors. Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  4. says

    what a wonderful idea! I’m thinking we can do this for every season, to make our home smell welcoming and add some fun and festivity. Thank you – pinning!

    [Reply]

    Danielle

    Danielle Reply:

    It would be fun to do each season – changing up the colors as you go! Have fun!

    [Reply]

  5. says

    What a fun idea – and you could use this year round with so many different shapes and patterns!! I would love to have you join up with the PreK & Kindergarten Community on my site and share your ideas each Friday. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jolanthe for your kind words, and thanks for letting us know about your Friday shares as well :)

    [Reply]

  6. says

    Stopping by from Pinning for Play. This is such a delightful idea! It’s beautiful, and I love the scent aspect. Already pinned this to try out later. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Wonderful – we’d love to see how your scented light catchers turn out!

    [Reply]

  7. says

    What a great sensory crafting experience! I’m pinning this to my (CarlaINHouston) Craft Ideas board–thanks so much for sharing!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you! I’m glad we provided some “pinspiration” for you!

    [Reply]

  8. says

    These are some wonderful projects to help teach about light, color, refraction and the like. The added bonus is that they are so cute too! Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop.

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jill – I have some hanging in our front windows near my kiddos’ art area, and the rest up in my office – and they do make me smile, every time :)

    [Reply]

  9. says

    Just beautiful! I look forward to trying this with my kids :) Thanks for linking this up to the Kids Co-Op. I’ll be featuring your post in my colourful play roundup this week. xo P

    [Reply]

    Danielle

    Danielle Reply:

    Thanks, Pauline! Hope your readers enjoy the project!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Pauline – we’d love to see your light catchers when you and your little ones make them!

    [Reply]

  10. says

    I love the organic style of the children’s drawings contrasting with the hard cut edges of the circle shapes. And then the light shining through just lifts the whole project. Well done!

    [Reply]

    Danielle

    Danielle Reply:

    Thanks so much, Miya! The sure do look beautiful in this changing light!

    [Reply]

  11. says

    These are absolutely beautiful! So simple and yet so lovely. I’ll be featuring this on my Tuesday Tots post tomorrow. Thanks for linking up!

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Thank you Ness! I smile each time I see them hanging both in my and my little ones’ work & play spaces :)

    [Reply]

  12. Kaly says

    This looks wonderful! We have got to try this. It’s hard to find a good window in our house to do things like this though, as we face north, and we don’t have any side windows. But we’ll try!
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    That’s the beauty of these light catchers Kaly – no matter how much (or how little) light you get through your windows, they light catchers will glow – it’s really quite pretty :)

    [Reply]

  13. kathy says

    I am going to do this with my daycare kids . We have been doing rubbings and this will display them well. ( we use glue on cardboard for making shape and letter rubbing mats)

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Great idea! I love it when one creative project inspires another :)

    [Reply]

  14. Chris says

    I am a grandma to a two-year old little man who loves to craft with me. This project is quick, easy and beautiful; plus it will teach him about senses and art. He will love hanging the strings of color in his family’s windows. Thank you for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Danielle

    Danielle Reply:

    So glad you like the project, Chris! It really is so simply beautiful!

    [Reply]

  15. says

    Very pretty, I love sun catchers and adding a scent to them is brilliant! I have featured this on The Crafty Crow today :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh thank you so very much Cassi! I kept them up for months – I think it may be time to create some more wintry ones, especially to catch the limited winter light :)

    [Reply]

  16. Annette says

    I did this project with a group of 10 year old girls yesterday as an art activity. They loved it. To make it more appropriate for that age group I got them to thread lightweight beads between each shape.

    [Reply]

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