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Winter Break Wonders Activity: Suncatchers

Homemade suncatchers

Today’s Winter Break Wonders activity is inspired by Frederick Eversley’s sculpture, Big Red Lens. Learn more about this sculpture, then create your own lens by making a suncatcher!


Look Closer:

  • Look at the shape of this artwork. Examine what you see from different angles. How does what you see change as you move around? Why do you think Frederick Eversley used a circle for his sculpture? If you were the artist, what shape would you design?
  • Big Red Lens is stationary, but as you look through it, it creates movement. The shapes of people, the work’s surroundings, and light are distorted because it is a parabola (a curved “u-shaped” surface). Do you have any parabolas at home? Try to find items such as glasses, a magnifying glass, or the bottom of a clear cup. Look through these objects. How do they change your point of view?
  • Look at the color of Big Red Lens. Why do you think the artist chose red? How does the color affect how you see through it? What color would you choose if you created your own version? Why?
Big Red Lens by Frederick Eversley
Frederick Eversley, Big Red Lens, 1985, cast polyester, 40 × 40 × 6 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2010.66.

Activity: Make Your Own Suncatcher

Materials Needed:

  • Contact paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Yarn
  • Optional: ruler, cellophane, glitter
Small pieces of colored tissue paper and cellophane


Step 1: Cut up small pieces of colored tissue paper and cellophane.

Contact paper, pieces of colored tissue paper and cellophane

Step 2: Peel off one piece of contact paper and tape it to a table with the sticky side facing up.

Step 3: Add pieces of tissue paper or cellophane to the sheet. If you want a little extra sparkle, add a small amount of glitter! Optionally, use a ruler as a “paper weight” so the contact paper doesn’t stick to your hands while you are decorating.

Step 4: Peel another sheet of contact paper and place the sticky side down, covering your decorations.

Step 5: Take your suncatcher off the table and remove the tape. You can use your scissors to make your suncatcher into whatever shape you want. Then cut a small hole in the top and tie on a piece of yarn.

Step 6: Use the yarn to hang up your suncatcher in the window. What can you see through your suncatcher? How does making your own lens change how you see the winter season?

Homemade suncatchers

Explore more works with lenses and reflections in the collection:

Reading Recommendations:

Want to learn more about color and shapes? Here are some books we recommend for further learning!

  • Perfect Square by Michael Hall
  • Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds
  • Check out the artist’s website:

Have fun!

Written by Marie Hofer, museum educator, Crystal Bridges.


Special thanks to our sponsors:

Youth and Family programming is supported in part by AMP Sign & Banner, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Juan, Marcy and Joaquin Camacho, The Coca-Cola Company, iHeart Media, JTH Productions, Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Pinnacle Car Services, Procter & Gamble, Gordon and Carole Segal, The Simmons Family Fund, and ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

Education and Learning is supported in part by Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, The Northern Trust Company, Pamela and Wayne Garrison, Doug and Shelley McMillon, Jack and Melba Shewmaker Family, Neff and Scarlett Basore, Galen and Debi Havner, Lance and Sharon Beshore, Cardinal Four Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Harry Cornell, Cox Communications, Dorothy Hurt, J.M. Smucker Company, Kimberly-Clark, Nice-Pak Products, Inc., The Russell Berrie Foundation, Stephen and Claudia Strange, Felix and Margaret Wright.