There are many crafts using the colourful leaves of autumn. Most work better with leaves that are first pressed and dried so that they are flat and the colour and shape are better preserved. I press and dry my leaves the traditional way – between the pages of a phone book. Place the leaves inside. Set the phone book under a few heavy books and forget about the leaves for one or two weeks. When you take them out they should be flat and dry. You’re ready to get crafting.
LEAF DOODLES Leaves prove to be a lovely seasonal canvas for small drawings and doodles
WHAT YOU NEED Autumn leaves pressed and dried; Metallic sharpie markers; Wax paper; Foam brush (a regular paintbrush will work ok too); Mod Podge
1 Doodle and draw on your leaves with the metallic sharpies. Try tracing the veins, drawing pictures, writing words or making mandalas.
2 Spread your leaves out on a sheet of wax paper.
3 Brush a layer of mod podge over them. Let them dry. Turn the leaves over and brush a layer of Mod Podge across the underside of the leaves.
4 Let the leaves dry completely, them use them for autumn decorations or gifts.
TO MAKE MANDALAS Wall putty or a glue stick; Doodled leaves from the previous activity or plain dried autumn leaves
1 Use little pieces of the wall putty to stick doodled leaves on the wall—or dabs from a glue stick to adhere leaves to a window—in a radiating mandala design. (Wall putty can be easily removed and it leaves no stain; glue washes off windows easily.)
2 Reposition the leaves as desired over time to create new mandalas and other designs.
PAINTED PAPER LEAVES
Waterproof tablecloth or newspaper; Droppers or paintbrushes; Leaves cut from paper; Liquid watercolours Use droppers or brushes to transfer the watercolour paint to the paper leaves. Try more than one colour per leaf and watch as the paint colours spread and merge. Let the leaves dry.
VARIATIONS • Draw veins on the paper leaves first with crayons or oil pastels, then paint over the picture for a watercolour-resist effect. This technique is especially effective with a white or light crayon and a darker paint. • Do a leaf rubbing on the paper leaf first with the side of a crayon (place a real leaf under the paper leaf), then paint. • Use a dropper to paint a leaf with watercolour, then sprinkle it with salt. Leave the salt until the leaf is dry, then rub it off.