Saturday, 31 October 2015

Leaf Art and a gift idea

More often than not a little collection of things finds its way home in a pocket after a walk. And there are rich pickings at the moment - conkers, pine cones, acorns and stacks of colourful autumn leaves. 
Leaves are great for simple craft projects - just don't forget to press them quickly, before they start curling and crinkling up. 

This is when I miss the old telephone directories, because they were perfect for the job. Still, a large book works fine. Put a few leaves between pages and weigh down with some other heavy books for a couple of days, until you’re ready to use them.

But what to do with your leaves? A few years ago we made bookmarks which worked brilliantly - they were useful, looked pretty good and made perfect presents. 

The thing is, just about everyone we know in the whole wide world has been given one. 

Time for something new..., this is the other idea - a leaf art/collage notebook.

Make sure you’ve got a good selection of leaves - colours, sizes, shapes.

I got the plain notepads from Asda. Only 45p. They’re spiral-bound ones, but any kind would do. If there’s some writing on the front, cover with a piece of white paper cut to size (glue down with a glue stick)

Arrange your leaf design first, and when you’re happy, start sticking. We found it was best to brush a thin layer of craft glue on the back of the leaves. Lots of inspiration online or try with your own pattern.

Then cut some clear sticky back plastic - you'll only need a piece to cover the front, with a cm or so extra to fold round the 3 edges.  

Start at the bound side, peeling a little of the backing paper off at a time, and smoothing out air bubbles and any wrinkles as you go. 

Then wrap the extra sticky back plastic neatly over the edges.

Quick workshop update - it was such a full on day, with 3 sessions fairly close together and more kids than expected! And even though I wished I'd brought something like a hair dryer because it was too cold for the paint to dry quickly, and what I planned to fit into the hour was massively overambitious, everyone seemed to enjoy it - lots of impressive making anyway! For me it was just lovely seeing the animals come to life and watching the kids come up with their own ideas about how their lions/penguins/giraffes should look. Sure that's what it's all about.

I'm kicking myself I didn't take more photos - there are a few here, on the MYOZ Facebook page - I'll definitely take more at the Hay workshop at the end of November. And now I've had a bit of practice and learnt a few lessons, I'm feeling much more confident about that one!


  1. Wonderful idea. I usd to do a lot of pressing and I even had my own flower press. I do like the notebooks.

    1. Thanks Marilyn :) We do have a flower press, just not sure where it is! Using an old book is a quick and easy alternative - always good when crafting with kids!

  2. I love the leaf fish and the idea to decorate bookmarks and notebooks. I wonder if there is a way to cover them in something that is biodegradable though as I try to avoid disposable plastic if at all possible...

    1. it's a very good point. I've had a quick look and couldn't immediately find any eco friendly transparent covering, but have in the past put a few coats of water-based varnish over leaf collages which preserves and protects pretty well. Not as hard-wearing obviously as the sticky back plastic, but could work as an alternative? There are a number of more natural varnishes available.

  3. I love your books and books marks, both are favourites here too and things we have been doing this season at Coombe Mill. However I've not worked with sticky backed plastic before. It does give your leaves a lovely finish so I'm going to look into buying some to try.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #Trash2Treasure and I good luck with the Hay Workshop.

    1. Thank you Fiona - the Hay workshop has actually been and gone and all went well! Sticky back plastic can be a bit tricky, but it does give a lovely finish. I think it helps if you spend a minute or two cutting the SBP, making sure the lines are nice and straight, and take your time when you start peeling off the back cover. Anyway, a few wrinkles here and there just give it a bit of character :)

  4. It came out lovely. I have a huge collection of pressed leaves and flowers. I will try this for a picture frame.#Trash2treasure