DIY: colorful discs for the light table in preschool

Explore color in your classroom in a fun and unique way with this simple DIY!

I am not so lucky as my sweet friend Leeanne over at Kreative Resources who managed to find a free set of plexiglass discs to use on her light table. In fact, I don’t even have a light table! But after reading several ideas from others, I was inspired and have managed to make my own discs and light table. This post is about the discs and my next one will be a little tutorial on the light table so stay tuned…

Gathering Your Materials

These colorful discs are a spin off of a “not so nutty” idea for making a rainbow suncatcher shared by “Life in the Nuthouse“! As soon as I saw how to melt plastic cups, I went on a search for the perfect clear, colorful plastic cups…

The cups alone made for some fun play on a light table so I saved some and melted the rest. As you can see (in the photo below) each colorful cup is sitting on a melted down plastic cup (now what I call a colored disc)…

The How-To

To melt the plastic cups, you first need to know that not all plastic clear cups are the same. Some do not melt and others do. “Life in the Nuthouse” talks a little about the difference between cups but I still ended up having to learn this the hard way.

I bought the red and blue cups (shown above) from Meijer and Garden Ridge and they melted fine. The purple and green cups (shown above) came from the dollar store and didn’t budge! So make sure you buy the right type of cups. Later I found a set of brightly colored cups from Meijer. They were in the birthday party supplies and they melted down perfectly…

To melt the cups, you need to preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit first. Then set the cups on a baking pan covered with some parchment paper and pop them in the oven for about 3 to 5 minutes (time depends on your oven and your cups)…

I used a spatula to flatten the cups or shape them a bit while they were still in the oven. The cups soften under the heat but as soon as they hit the cool air they harden and there is no changing them after that…

Light and Color Exploration

I did not cut the bottom out of the cups out like “Life in the Nuthouse” did because I wanted to see the full circle for the light table.  Here are a few of my finished colored discs on my homemade light table.

Not every disc turned out perfectly flat and round but it didn’t matter, they are all really cool to play with and very durable (I dropped a few and they didn’t break or crack).


More Inspiration for your Light Table

Here are some other light table toys you can read about…

Colored water bags on a light table from Kreative Resources

Light table ideas from Strong Start

Exploration light table from Pink and Green Mama

Picture of Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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