At Home: Creating Home Accents with Leaves

Loving Leaves
Colorful autumn leaves are nature’s irresistible playthings. Before tossing all your leaves in the compost pile, encourage your kids to pick out a bunch of the prettiest ones and have some fun with fall’s colorful foliage.

– Make coasters. Think ahead to the gift-giving season and make a bunch of these easy coasters.

Pinch off a ball of self-hardening pottery clay (about a 2 1/2-inch ball) and roll it out on waxed paper into a 4-inch square ¼ inch thick. Gently press a leaf into the clay with a rolling pin to leave a clear impression. Don’t press too hard or the leaf will get stuck or tear when you pull it out. (Plus, you want a relatively flat surface for the coaster.)

Let the coaster dry according to clay directions, then coat it lightly with matte acrylic varnish. When dry, lightly sponge on white paint so the impression stands out, then give it one last coat of varnish.

– Set your table. This project is quick and easy. With an iron set on warm, gently press leaves between two pieces of waxed paper to coat them lightly in wax. Discard the wax paper.

Cut a complimentary piece of a solid-color fabric the size of a placemat, and cut two laminating sheets slightly larger (about ½ inch bigger all around).

To assemble the placemat, lay one piece of laminate sticky side up. Put your fabric on top, then arrange the leaves on top of the fabric. Place the second laminating sheet, sticky side down, on top and smooth to seal.

– Make a maze. This is another classic leaf activity every kid should do at least once. Rake the leaves into a yard-sized maze with plenty of dead ends and a giant pile to jump in at the end.

– Invent a new pal. Stuff old clothes with fistfuls of leaves, add a pumpkin head, and let your scarecrow pal hang out in a chair on the front porch to welcome visitors.

Kathleen Reilly is a Triangle-based writer who enjoys the outdoors with her family.