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Autumn crafts

Autumn craft ideas

Get crafty in the forest with seasonal foliage this autumn. Collect fallen leaves to make a leaf bracelet, table-top display or leaf placecard. Use our handy tips to help preserve your autumnal creations.

Make a leaf bracelet

Follow these 3 easy steps. NB: you'll need some duct tape!

  1. Tear off a piece of duct tape large enough to fit around your child’s wrist.
  2. Turn the sticky-side out and wrap around their wrist.
  3. Encourage your child to begin sticking various colours of leaves on the tape as you walk around outside. Use the opportunity to talk about the colours and types of leaves you see.

Table-top woodland display

  1. Take a cardboard tube and paint it the colour of a tree trunk.
  2. While it dries decorate a sheet of card with leaves to create the ‘ground.’ This will be the base of your tree.
  3. Once dry, cut 3-4cm slits into the cardboard tube and bend back sections to create your branches.
  4. Take a glue stick and stick your collected leaves to the branches.
  5. Attach your cardboard tube to the card base to create your tree display.

Repeat steps 1 and steps 3-5 to add additional trees to your display.

Leaf placecards

  1. Use the silica gel method (see below) to dry out some of your collected leaves.
  2. Paint or spray your dried leaves in a colour to suit your table display.
  3. When dry use a marker pen to write the names of your guests on each leaf.

Preserve your autumn decorations

Prevent leaves from drying out using glycerine

NB: glycerine can easily be obtained from a chemist.

  1. Mix one part glycerine and two parts water in a disposable pan
  2. Add 3 to 4 drops of surfactant (available for gardening centres).
  3. Place the leaves so they’re submerged and keep them in the solution by weighing them down with small pebbles or stones.
  4. Leave them like this for 2 to 5 days in a dry location away from children and pets.
  5. When ready remove them from the solution and dry gently with a paper towel.

NB: some types of leaves don’t react well with glycerine so a variety should be collected just in case. Check the progress of your leaves regularly.

Retain leaf colour and shape using silica gel

NB: Silica gel is available from most craft stores.

  1. Pour the gel into a microwavable container so it covers the bottom by about an inch.
  2. Space out the leaves on top of the gel and then slowly pour more gel on the surface until the leaves are completely covered.
  3. Place the container in a microwave with a glass of water on medium power for 1 minute intervals until the leaves are dry. It will take 2-3 minutes. (Alternative: If you don’t have access to a microwave you can cover with an airtight lid and leave them in a dry location away from children and pets for 2-7 days.)
  4. When dry, gently remove the leaves from the container and brush lightly with a paintbrush to remove the solution.

More autumn craft ideas

Check out our autumn Pinterest board for even more craft ideas.

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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.