Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Fun with Leaves!

Leaves! I LOVE them!

I cannot wait until we have a yard one day and can pile a big bunch of them for Cutie Face to jump into. I remember how much fun the twin and I had with leaf piles...but, since we don't currently have a yard, I still wanted Cutie Face to have fun with the gorgeous autumnal leaves that are blanketing our parks and sidewalks.

I wanted to get really creative with this project and make animal shapes out of leaves, like so:

Sadly, I can't think outside an original shape so I settled on making a leaf crown and a leaf mask for Cutie Face.

What I came up with is certainly not original nor creative! Oh well! I'll still share our little project.

Side note I think this would be an EXCELLENT project for young kids that are old enough to help--they could get really into it. Cutie Face is a bit too young to be a helper (she'd more likely be a destroyer) but I think that next year this project would be really fun for her to create.

Start by collecting pretty leaves--this is the part that Cutie Face helped me with. I loved the bright reds and yellows and oranges and mainly found them at the base of maple trees. Oak leaves aren't bad either, though!

Once you've collected enough leaves, you need to press them so that they'll be nice and flat and easier to work with. I chose to use a book that hasn't seen much light of day since J's law school days:

Basically you just want something heavy! I placed leaves throughout the book, making sure that the edges of each leaf lay flat. You can definitely place blotting paper in between the leaf and the page to get the moisture out more quickly but (this book at least) seemed to work well without any extra paper layers.

I let our leaves hang out in books (with really heavy books on top of them for added pressure!) for ~2-3 days.

Once you are ready to make your project, carefully retrieve your leafs--they should be flattened and "crisper" (not sure if that is the actual word i'm going for but hopefully you know what i mean!)

Leaf Mask:

To make the mask, I cut a strip of poster board out and then cut out two eye holes and a nose indent.

Side note: I actually did NOT line it up with Cutie Face's face before I did this--I guesstimated and it worked out just fine! After staring at your child's face for every minute of the day I guess you just get a good idea of where their eyes and nose are :)

Strategically place your leaves around the eye holes and nose area. You want it to be really leafy so fill in those white gaps as much as possible!

Once everything was placed, I used Rubber Cement to glue each leaf down. I also glued some leaves on top of each other to fill in the white areas.

Feel free to cut out the leaf parts that were invading your eye holes--you want your kiddo to be able to see!

I then tapered the edges of the mask, like so:

Since my posterboard wasn't long enough to wrap around Cutie Face's head, I cut a strip of elastic headband material to close the gap.

The important thing to remember about elastic is that it stretches so make sure you cut a smaller piece than you really need!

I didn't have a stapler so I used tape to keep the elastic pieces in place. Tape held it together surprisingly well, even when Cutie Face tugged on it quite a bit.

Leaf Crown:

I wanted to make a finial maple leaf crown--J kept talking about how cool they were but I couldn't find the patience (or the creativity!) to do that so I just stuck my leaves on another strip of posterboard like so:

Don't forget to place them and then glue them after you've found the perfect order. Your kiddos should have a lot of fun designing and figuring out where each leaf would look best.

Just like the leaf mask, I taped a piece of elastic headband material to the sides.

The finished leaf crown:

the finished leaf mask:

and the crown and masks from the back:

Sadly, Cutie Face wanted NOTHING to do with either finished project so we put them on poor, unsuspecting lambie:

obviously, the eye holes were not designed for him!
Lambie was a good sport, though, and wore his crown with pride:

Well, he does look a little "sheepish" but he is a lamb afterall!

There are SO many other great leaf projects out there...check them out!
  • Great leaf ideas (like the first leaf project pictured above) and great ways to turn this craft into a learning experience can be found at Blissfully Domestic.
  • You can find a MUCH cooler mask tutorial than mine--it actually puts mine to shame so i hesitate sharing it :) Check it out, though--so fun!
  • My bloggy friend, Christine, came up with a great idea for an harvest placemat activity with her boys
  • To be truly leaf-inspired, check out Lois Ehlert's gorgeous works of art using leaves!

4 people think...:

Tiaras said...

love all these creative ideas!

Melissa G. said...

You are so creative!

Kelly said...

"Well, he does look a little "sheepish" but he is a lamb afterall!"

ahahahaha! : )

Southern Belle said...

Oh my boys would love to do this craft! I'll have to try this out next year. Thanks for sharing the idea. Glad you liked the harvest placemats!