Sunday, October 28, 2012

DIY: Flattened Fall Leaf Fantasmic

You can find two other leaf-craft posts on this here blog. There's Leafy Prints post and the Leaf Relief project. Since you've got those leaves collected, why not try these other two crafts?
Happy fall, ya'll! 

It's autumn here in Tennessee complete with brilliantly colored leaves, chilly mornings  and a constant craving for hot apple cider. Every year I forget just how beautiful and brilliant fall leaves are. And every year I collect dozens of them to be pressed and used for craftasticness.  I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite fall projects which I've been calling Flattened Fall Leaf Fantasmic (guess who was just at Disney).

My arrangement of leafy-ness hangs above my rarely-used because it's often too-stacked-with-stuff desk.
 Dude, if you are looking for a simple fall craft, this is the one for you. You'll just need the following:

  • Leaf Press....you can find these for about $10 at any craft store. Or you can just use a telephone book and some heavy weighted books to stack on top.
  • Leaves...if you pick them up off the ground, be sure they aren't so dry that they crack and break when you bend them gently. These should be freshly fallen leaves.
  • Canvas
  • Modge-Podge
  • Paint
If you are handy, a leaf press like this one would be simple to make. You'll need to change out the cardboard every now and then as it will wilt from the dampness of the leaves. I just cut cardboard scraps from the recycle bin to fit my press.
  1.  After you've collected your leaves, press them immediately. If you use a press, you'll need to tighten the screws every day to help flatten the leaves. A telephone book also works great and can old more leaves. Simply stack more books on it daily.
  2. After a week or more, the leaves should be ready. They should no longer be damp and they should have held their flattened shape and kept their color.
  3. While waiting for my leaves, I began to work on a background for my canvas.
You can see by the year that this one was created several years ago. I was very surprised that the leaf kept it's brilliant color after all this time.
 4.   I wanted my canvas to have an antiqued look, so I used a coffee dye. I really had fun playing around with some different textures. Sometimes I let the coffee drip down the canvas. Other times I pressed the damp surface of the canvas with a paper towel. I also used a doily as a stencil as seen on the canvas above.
 5.   Once the canvas was dry and the leaves were flattened, I began to play around with the composition. I used Modge Podge to adhere the leaves to the canvas both under the leaf and on top.
This is the canvas I used the paper towel on. I loved the delicate pattern it left behind when I lifted the towel.
 6.   From there I began lightly drawing in my design in pencil. I used black ink to paint my design as it seemed to flow better on the canvas and give me a hard edge. I wanted the painting above to look like a cameo necklace.
I love all of the different colors in each and every leaf.

For this one, I used a doily in the back ground and many leaves from the same tree. To connect them, I painted a tree branch.
Once complete, I covered each canvas with a thin layer of Modge Podge. I wrapped the edges in black ribbon and hung them up as a grouping together. So easy! 

If you happen to give this craft, or any of the other leaf projects a shot, please let me know! I've gotten several emails from folks that have tried out both the Leaf Relief and the Leaf Prints projects with success. I'd love to know what you think of this latest leaf-y project.

Happy Fall!

5 comments:

  1. Mallory10/28/2012

    Those are beautiful! I love the print the paper towel left behind.

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  2. Some lovely ideas here. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Stunning, and so sophisticated.

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  4. These are wonderful. I will have to modify it if we decide to do them since I have no talent for painting.

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  5. These are wonderful. I will have to modify it if we decide to do them since I have no talent for painting.

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)