Fun With Fall Foliage

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By Adrianna Zampieri

With the temperature cooling down and the leaves beginning to change color, fall is finally in the air. It brings to mind apple picking, hay bale climbing, and giant piles of leaves – but leaves aren’t just for jumping in. Here are a few leaf-décor tutorials to jumpstart your fall decorating in time for Thanksgiving.

leaf preservationPreserving Leaves

Leaves are transforming into the brightest of colors right before your eyes: burgundy reds, amber oranges, and even dark purples. Here’s a simple trick you can do to preserve these vibrant bits of nature and use them in decorating. Hang them on the wall with a little bit of double-sided mounting tape; cover your dining table or mantle with a selection of these leaves in the spirit of fall festivity, or place in a glass vase to be displayed.

What You Need:

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable glycerin
  • Colorful leaves
  • Gallon Ziploc bag

How to Do It:

  1. Gather colorful leaves. Be sure to selects ones that are not browning or brittle, still have the stem attached, and have no signs that insects have gnawed on them for a meal.
  2. Place the leaves in the bag, laying them flat and not bunched up.
  3. Mix up the solution of 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of vegetable glycerin and pour into the bag. You only need enough of the solution to cover the leaves.
  4. Seal the bag, pressing out the excess air. Let the leaves soak in the mixture for three to four days.
  5. Remove the leaves from the solution and pat dry with a paper towel. Do not rinse.
  6. Decorate to your heart’s content.

leaf paintingPainting with Leaves

Looking for a fun craft to do with your kids or younger sibling? Look no further: painting with leaves is an activity that will capture their imagination. Use fall colors or neon colors or Aggie colors. Do a single-leaf print or cover the canvas in a multitude of different shapes and sizes and color patterns. Let their creativity run wild.

What You Need:

  • Leaves in various shapes in sizes
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paper or canvas
  • Paint in the desired colors

How to Do It:

  • Coat a side of leaf with a thin layer of paint in the colors desired.
  • Lightly press the paint-covered side of the leaf down onto the canvas or paper.
  • Pull back the leaf slowly as to not smear the print left behind.
  • Hang the finished products on the wall as part of your fall decoration.

leaf candle holderLeaf Candle Holder

The fall season is the season for candles. Create your own autumn-inspired candle jar with this tutorial from “Spark & Chemistry.” Things might get a little sticky, but the end result is worth it. Place a small votive candle, tea light, or battery-operated candle inside the finished jar for a glowing effect.

What You Need:

  • Clear glass jar
  • Fake or real leaves
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge brush
  • Rafia, twine, or ribbon

How to Do It:

  1. First, clean the outside of your jar with rubbing alcohol because the leaves won’t stick if the jar is oily or dirty.
  2. If you’re using fabric leaves, iron them first to loosen the fibers. This makes them more pliable, and they will easily bend around the curves of the jar. For real leaves, dampen them slightly to unstiffen them.
  3. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge on the outside of the jar, and when it becomes sticky, place your leaves on top. Make sure to smooth out the leaves against the jar to get rid of any air bubbles.
  4. Layer the jar with as many leaves as you want until the desired look is achieved.
  5. Finish with a thin layer of Mod Podge over the leaves. This will seal everything together.
  6. Once dry, tie some rafia, twine, or ribbon around the top of the jar for a finishing touch.

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