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.
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
- Gather a variety of leaves with different shapes. (They can be any color).
- Place the leaf on a covered work surface, with the more heavily veined side facing up.
- Place a sheet of paper over the leaf.
- 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.
- 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
- Gather a variety of leaves with different shapes. (They can be any color.)
- Cut a piece of cardboard slightly larger than each leaf.
- 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.
- With a paintbrush, paint a thin coat of poster paint on the entire leaf.
- 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.
- Try making leaf-printed cards from cardstock paper or blank store-bought cards.