(Guest post by Kristin Belt)
Don’t let the thought of raking leaves get you down.
Fall-based craft projects are a wonderful, creative way to spend time with your children. If you’re looking for a few new projects to tackle before the first snowflakes fall, here are some autumn-themed crafts you can make with just a few basic supplies.
Do Some Leaf Rubbings
This project from Simple As That gives you and the kids a way to make beautiful prints you can display throughout the autumn season. Gather some interesting leaves, a handful of fall-colored crayons and several sheets of paper. To make the rubbings, place a leaf under a sheet of paper. Then unwrap a crayon, press it onto the paper, and rub it back and forth to color over the leaf.
Make Leaf Bowls with Salt Dough
If you’ve collected a few large leaves, then this tutorial from Meaningful Mama will show you how to make bowls with them. Start by making some salt dough with a 1/2 cup of salt, 1 cup of flour and enough water to give the dough a clay-like consistency — no more than a 1/2 cup. To make the bowls, you’ll need the following:
- Rolling pin
- Paring knife
- Cooking spray
- Oven-safe bowls
- Craft paint in fall colors
- Paint brushes or sponges
Roll chunks of dough out so that they’re about a ¼-inch thick and then press the leaves into the dough. Use the knife to cut the dough around the edges of each leaf. Peel the leaf away from the dough, spray the outside of an oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and then place the dough on the bowl. Let the bowls bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or until the dough is dry and hard. Once cool, remove the leaf bowls from their molds and paint them in your favorite fall colors.
Turn Pinecones into Owls
With some acorn caps, googly eyes, leaves and craft foam, you can transform a simple pinecone into this adorable pinecone owl from Broogly. To put everything together, you’ll also need a circle cut from heavy cardstock and a hot glue gun.
Start by gluing the card to the base of the pinecone so that it will stand upright. Then, cut two feet and a beak from the foam and glue them into the appropriate places. Glue the googly eyes into the acorn caps and then glue the acorn caps onto the pinecone. To finish the owl, glue a leaf onto each side to make a set of wings.
Make Fall Foliage Picture Frames
If you need frames for fall-themed photos or artwork, try this picture frame from Twig and Toadstool. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Mod Podge decoupage glue
- Paint brush or sponge
- Colorful pressed leaves
- Picture frame
Use the Mod Podge to coat the leaves completely on both sides and then arrange them on the frame. Make sure that you also cover any exposed parts of the frame so that when the Mod Podge dries, everything has a uniform finish. Don’t hesitate to put a little extra glue on the leaves — once it dries, the Mod Podge will make the leaves stiffer and more durable. When your project is dry, use it to frame a photo or your child’s favorite piece of artwork.
Carve Some Apples
Why not make some shrunken apple heads to go with this year’s jack-o’-lanterns? According to Martha Stewart’s tutorial, you’ll need:
- Some apples
- A pencil
- A paring knife
- Lemon juice
Peel the apples, cut out the cores and then let your kids draw faces on them. Make sure the faces are large enough that the eyes, nose and mouth don’t disappear as the apple dries.
Once the kids have finished drawing faces, use a paring knife to carve the features. Don’t hesitate to cut deeply — the deeper the carving is, the more each feature will stand out. When you’ve finished with the carving, soak the apples in a solution of lemon juice and salt for about 30 seconds so that they don’t mold as they dry. Keep the apples in a warm, dry location until they’ve shriveled up. Once the apple heads are completely dry, your family can use them with the rest of your Halloween decorations.
Not only will you create a few treasured mementos with these five projects, but you’ll also come away with a trove of happy memories!
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Kristin Belt works as the head of FastFrame in Austin, Texas. Day to day, Kristin assists clients with custom framing solutions to complement their space. offers framing solutions for residential homes and commercial spaces.