Kid DIY: pressed leaves

11/17/2011 at 3:11 pm | Posted in DIY, Small Fry | 4 Comments
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I am a sucker for craft time with the three-year-old.

Lily is always game for anything, especially when she’s allowed to make a mess (see: here). So with all of the pretty leaves on the ground — this fall has been particularly spectacular in North Carolina — I decided we’d try an old school craft from mommy’s childhood: pressing leaves.

Leaves (The more colorful, the better. And make sure they haven’t gotten too dry or begun to curl.)
Wax paper
Iron & ironing board
2 kitchen towels
Optional: scissors, hole punch, ribbon/yarn

Lily gathered a bushel of leaves from our backyard. And after careful deliberation, she whittled it down to about 10.

Two of the finalists:

Then she lay them carefully onto a sheet of wax paper, making sure that none were touching.

Pleased with her work. Because, of course.

Then I lay the second piece of wax paper on top and managed to lift the whole lot WITHOUT DROPPING ANYTHING and place it on the ironing board, on top of one of the kitchen towels.

I covered it with another kitchen towel and began to iron, pressing lightly at first. After a peek to be sure the wax had begun to melt, I really dug into the ironing. And more ironing. And then some more.

Lily was fascinated with the results, especially how the wax melted and trapped the leaves. Our creation turned out a little more bubbly and ridgy than I’d hoped, but it still looks neat.

Now, here’s the optional part. My idea to cut out each leaf (leaving a small border so they stay sealed inside the wax) and hang them in her playroom windows got poo-poo’d. Lily wanted a giant leaf placemat. So I slapped a piece of masking tape on it, had her sign her name, dated it, and voila. Leaf placemat.

And no Lily photo session would be complete without her signature I’m-tired-of-having-my-picture-taken grimace.

I have a list of projects for us to try. Next up is a turkey craft, and soon after, my personal favorite: the macaroni necklace (with a twist).

What are your favorite craft projects from childhood? What should we try?



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  1. That looks like fun! I love the picture of her with the two “finalists” and the one where she’s pleased with her work (of course!). Can I quit a few of my responsibilities and just do artwork with Lily?

  2. But of course. The pay is great.

  3. What a great idea – I love the art as a placemat. I might try that this weekend. I appreciate the ideas for us artistically challenged parents 🙂

    • Totally! I see all these neat projects on Pinterest, and they’re just so complicated … not for the 3-year-old … for me. 🙂 Thought I’d start things off by keeping it simple!

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