How to Make a Holiday Star Sun Catcher

Jennifer Ormiston shares her glass-etching process for her star sun catcher.


Materials and Tools:

clear window glass
20-gauge copper wire
colored beads, butterfly bead
jingle bell
glass etching cream
contact paper - adhesive-backed paper
stickers of various shapes (circles, stars, hole reinforcements)
glass grinder, glasscutter and breaking pliers
hand-held rotary tool with pointed grinding bit
24" ruler
fine-tip permanent marker
craft knife and scissors
old stiff bristle oil or acrylic paintbrush
rubber-grip garden gloves
narrow-nose pliers with wire cutter
sink with water
rubber gloves
paper towels
safety glasses, leather or suede safety gloves, earplugs, long-sleeved shirt




1. Mark four 4-1/2-inch strips on a pane of glass with a ruler and marker.

  • Wearing safety glasses, score the glass with a glasscutter along the marks.
  • Hold the ruler in place where the line is to be cut.
  • Pull the glasscutter across the glass, keeping it against the ruler to score a straight line.
  • Break the glass along the scored lines with breaking pliers.


2. Cover one side of the first strip with contact paper. Cut wavy lines in the contact paper about 1/4-inch apart with a craft knife. Peel off every other strip of contact paper.



3. Cover one side of the second strip with a pattern of star stickers.



4. Cover one side of the third strip with a pattern of circle and hole reinforcement stickers. The fourth strip remains clear for the sun catcher design.



5. Apply a coat of the etching cream on the three patterned strips with an old paintbrush (wear safety glasses and rubber gloves for the etching process). Leave the cream on for 2-5 minutes and then rinse it off with water at the sink.



6. Remove the stickers and contact paper from the glass strips and wipe clean with paper towels.



7. Draw designs on the backs of the patterned glass strips with a rotary tool fitted with a small pointed tip. Wear safety glasses while working with the rotary tool.



8. Mark off 1-1/2-inch increments on both of the long sides of each strip with a ruler.

9. Hold the glasscutter in the top left corner and pull it down to the first mark on the bottom edge, making the hypotenuse of the 4-1/2" x 1-1/2" right triangle.

  • Make a cut straight down from the first mark on to the first mark on the bottom.
  • Then make a cut from first mark on the top to the second mark on the bottom.
  • Continue all the way down the strip so you have the strip divided into right triangles.
  • Score all the strips.

10. After all the strips are scored; separate the triangles with breaking pliers. These will form the star points.



11. Grind the edges of the glass pieces using a glass grinder. Wear safety glasses, safety gloves, earplugs and a long-sleeve shirt during the grinding process. Clean off the points after grinding.



12. Pick five points for the star — three patterns and two clear points.

13. Cut a two-yard piece of copper wire.

14. Hold the points in one hand and arrange them in the shape of a star, alternating the patterned and clear glass pieces.

15. Place the piece of wire on top of star and hold it in place with your thumb. The wire should be placed diagonally across the star with a 12-inch tail extending outward.

16. Pull the wire between two points, behind and back to the front on the opposite side.

  • Then pull wire down between the next two points, behind and back to the front.
  • Move the star around until there is wire between all five points.
  • The wire forms a star in the middle of the glass points.
  • Keep the wire tight so glass stays secure.

17. String 12-14 beads on the long end of the wire. Continue wrapping the wire between points.

  • Position two beads on top of star the first time around.
  • Position two to three beads on top of star the second time around.
  • Position one or two beads the third time around.


18. When four to five beads are left, begin wrapping the wire around one of the clear points. Place beads on top as you move down the point.



19. Go back down the point to the middle and across to the other clear point. Position the remaining beads on top of the glass as you move to the tip of the point. Wrap the wire back to the middle.

20. Turn the star over and loop the end of the wire under wire crisscrosses on the back. Loop around a couple of times to secure.

21. Now the star should have two tails of similar lengths.

22. Pull the first tail you left under one of the crisscrossed wires on the back of the star.

  • String on two to three beads.
  • Fold the wire over, making a loop about the length of one of the points to hang the star.
  • Twist on the back to secure the loop.
  • A 4-inch tail should remain.


23. String a jingle bell on the 4-inch tail. Form a spiral with pliers at the end to secure the bell. Bend the tail in a whimsical fashion.



24. String a butterfly bead on the other tail. Make a spiral at the end with pliers. Bend the wire in a whimsical fashion and orient it to one of the points on the bottom of the star sun catcher.

Holiday Star Sun Catcher by Jennifer Ormiston from Lincoln, Neb.



Newlywed Jenny Ormiston is a native Nebraskan. Her father is an art teacher and she credits him with her love of arts and crafts. It was while working in a frame shop that she became inspired to create her glass sun catchers. At the end of one day the staff was cleaning up, throwing away piles of glass scraps. She looked at the scraps and didn’t see trash but art supplies. She gathered the scraps and began creating her art pieces.

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