Cherie Langlois
November 10, 2010

Maple leaves
Photo by Cherie Langlois
Fall, with its maple trees ablaze, is the perfect time to do crafts with leaves.

On a visit last week to our town library, I parked next to a line of ornamental maple trees ablaze with brilliant, sun-struck foliage. Beneath them, a riot of scarlet, crimson and orange leaves covered the ground, free for the taking. (Or so I assumed.) So I  grabbed a shopping bag from the car and stuffed it full, a little guiltily—as if I were pilfering rubies instead of dead leaves. 

Back home, I swept our porch, sort-of-artfully arranged our own stubborn green pumpkins and the two beautiful orange Cinderella pumpkins bought from a local farmer, then gleefully scattered my leafy treasure around. Inside, I strewed them as autumn decorations here and there, and pressed some between two paper towels in a big telephone book for a future card-making project. 

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Doing all of this reminded me of how much my daughter and I enjoyed leaf crafts when she was young, so I thought this week I’d share two simple ones so you and your kids can have some leafy fun, too, if you haven’t already. Both are adapted from a nature crafts book called Snips and Snails and Walnut Whales: Nature Crafts for Children by Phyllis Fiarotta (Workman Publishing Company, 1975).  (Used with permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York.) 

Make Leaf Rubbings

  1. Gather a variety of leaves with different shapes. (They can be any color). 
  2. Place the leaf on a covered work surface, with the more heavily veined side facing up.
  3. Place a sheet of paper over the leaf. 
  4. While holding the paper in place, use crayons, colored pencils or pastels to firmly rub and color the paper until the leaf and its intricate veins appear. 
  5. Try making a collage picture of different leaves in various colors, or cut leaves out, punch a hole in the stem part, and use ribbon or yarn to hang them.

Print with a Leaf

  1. Gather a variety of leaves with different shapes. (They can be any color.)
  2. Cut a piece of cardboard slightly larger than each leaf.
  3. Spread some white glue on the top, smooth side of the leaf, and glue the leaf onto the cardboard. (The veined underside should face up). Let dry.
  4. With a paintbrush, paint a thin coat of poster paint on the entire leaf. 
  5. Place the painted side of the leaf down on a sheet of paper and press firmly. Lift up the cardboard carefully and admire your “inked” leaf design. Repeating this without adding more paint will make a lighter design. 
  6. Try making leaf-printed cards from cardstock paper or blank store-bought cards.


~ Cherie

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