Thanks to Brenda Hyde from Seeds of Knowledge for this article
Autumn leaves are wonderful! Nature has given us beautiful colors to work with, no painting necessary! I also find the green leaves of ivy, herbs and other plants are beautiful as well.
Collect nice whole leaves and press them between two clean sheets of paper in a large book like a phone book or dictionary. After 2-4 weeks they will be dried and flat. Here are some things you can do with them:
Buy white poster board and cut several bookmark shape rectangles out with scissors. I usually cut them about 2 inches by 8 inches. You will need smaller leaves for this project. Ivy leaves work will or thin long tree leaves. Place the leaves on the bookmark with a touch of glue. Allow to dry for a few minutes. You may decorate with marker too, or simply write the person's name on the bookmark at the bottom or top, or in between the leaves. You can also use dried flowers for this.
Cut a section of clear contact paper that is twice as big as your bookmark, plus some extra. So, mine would be about 5 inches by 17 inches. Lay your bookmark upside down very carefully on one edge of the contact paper so you can fold over the rest of it on the back of the bookmark. Carefully smooth down the contact paper so there are no bubbles then trim the contact paper to the edge of the bookmark. You may put a hole in the top with a paper punch and tie a ribbon through the hole. This makes a wonderful gift for friends or teachers!
MORE LEAF CRAFTS
Leaves are wonderful to use for tracing! You can tape leaves to a pumpkin and trace the shape to the pumpkin with a pen or marker. Then, cut out the leaf shapes. Place as many as you can on the pumpkin, and you will have an unusual neat lantern to light up at night!
A leaf mobile is the perfect decoration for the fall season! Trace outlines of five leaves onto white foam sheets; they should all be close to the same size. Foam sheets are bought like poster board and can be found in craft supply stores. Cut out the shapes, and punch a hole in each cutout. You can now sponge paint your leaves! Use yellow, orange and red paint. Dab your sponge lightly into the paint and then onto your leave shape and press the sponge all over both sides. While these are drying you can make the mobile. Glue two sticks together so they are crossed at the center. You can use twigs, or craft sticks. They should be about 5-6 inches long. Tie raffia ribbon or twine to each leaf through your hole and then knot the other end onto end of each stick and the fifth one in the center. Balance the mobile by adjusting the length of each leaf if it hangs crooked. Tie a final ribbon or piece of twine to hang the mobile!
You can also make leaf magnets the same way as above by gluing a small magnet on the back of each leaf instead of making the mobile. You can write each family member's name in the middle of the leaf after sponge painting.
Use your imagination, and you will find so many uses for leaves of all colors, shapes and sizes.
Brenda Hyde is a wife, mom to three, a freelance writer and editor. Visit her at http://www.seedsofknowledge.com where she brings old fashioned traditions to modern families.