If you are looking for a beautiful craft with fall leaves to do with children I got a wonderful little art project to share with you. It is a rather simple, but very beautiful forest craft. And it requires minimal supplies that don’t come from the forest, and could be easily done in an outdoor setting.
Over at our school cabin we usually have various logs and old branches left from pruning of the trees, or from dead old trees that got taken down. I had a stash of slices from an old aspen trunk and this craft was a perfect use for them. If you would like to try this craft, but do not have a slice of wood handy, you can use a piece of cardboard from one of your latest Amazon shipments. 🙂
What you will need
Here is a full list of supplies you will need. And below you will find a little bit of information about each one of them and a recommendation for a substitute if need be.
- Fall leaves. I prefer using pressed leaves for this craft, as they are already flat and will stay so. But you could use fresh leaves also.
- A slice of wood (sustainably obtained) or a piece of cardboard.
- An electric drill or an eyelet screw hook.
- A small tube of dark blue or dark purple paint to create a beautiful contrasted background for the leaves.
- A small brush.
- A jute rope or a thick string. Consider only using a cotton thread/string, so it would be biodegradable.
- White glue.
- Optionally, beads and any other pretty forest finds. We found a feather and also some pieces of evergreens thrown on the ground by the squirrels. 🙂
- A damp rag to wipe the paint or glue of kids fingers.
Using sustainable supplies
About slices of wood
I encourage you to not buy slices of wood from Michael’s or other places, unless you know with certainty it came from an already dead tree. Deforestation is a severe plague of our time, and it’d be a shame to partake in it (even in a small way) by supporting such trade. A piece of cardboard instead of a slice of wood would also work well.
I used a small tube of Windsor acrylic paint. A small amount goes long way in this project. At Michael’s you can find acrylic paint in small metal tubes, where only a small cup is plastic vs. an entire tube being plastic. This way you have the smallest amount of waste as byproduct of your project.
The process is really quite simple. If you are using a slice of wood then first drill a hole through it where the future string will thread through. Next paint it and give it a few minutes to dry. When painting my sample for the children I left the bark unpainted to a serve as a frame. The kids chose to paint it all! 🙂
Using small amounts of regular white glue glue your leaves onto the slice of wood. It helps to lay it out the leaves first without the glue to plan the arrangement. Picking up the dried leaves by their stems helps to not break them. Although some of our young artists chose to intentionally break the leaves into pieces and then arrange pieces into design.
And at last put the rope, string or wire through the hole and embellish it with beads, or other nature finds as desired.
You could glue the leaves on a slice of wood directly. Our slices were close in color to some of the leaves, and so to give it more contrast I used the dark blue paint to give it a striking complimentary background. Dark purple would also work beautifully, as it is also a complimentary hue for the yellow and orange palette. On the photos my sample slice has brighter blue than the slices painted by the children. We used the same paint, but theirs were freshly painted and may be had a bit more layers of paint over it.
If you use paint and child gets it on their hands — use a piece of some old damp rag to wipe it off. That way it comes off quickly without making a lot of mess.
The leaves are simply glued onto the painted slice of wood. We used fingers. Try reminding children that they only need a little bit of glue and it is not necessary to slather the leaves with it. They may adhere to your advise, or may not. 🙂 If the glue gets onto the leaves it will leave white marks on them. Although, it didn’t seem to bother any of the children. :))