This year we had a long and beautiful fall here in Colorado’s Front Range, and so we have collected a lot of leaves during our times in the mountains where boys attend their forest school program. We called them ‘forest jewels’.
In this quick post I wanted to share with you one of our crafts with those beautiful fall leaves. It is very simple. We made this craft with kids both indoors and outside, although having a windy day would make it challenging. This craft is also low waste — it uses forest finds such as leaves and sticks, and the only other supplies needed are a small amount of regular white glue and a bit of biodegradable string or twine.
Both dried pressed or fresh leaves work great. Fresh leaves will somewhat curl as they dry, which gives a natural feel to it. You can see in the above photos a few curled leaves are mixed with dried pressed leaves which are perfectly flat. Some people like preserving their leaves with wax, but we use just regular fall leaves and it works beautifully.
White glue and a small brush
It helps to have the white glue being rather thick and not watered down. And if you don’t have a brush handy — just use a finger or a stick 🙂
A bit of twine or jute string
Consider only using biodegradable twine or string, such as those made out of cotton or jute.
The process is most simple. Here is our step-by step and some tips:
Tie the pieces of twine of desired length to your stick. We did a longer piece in the middle and 2 shorter ones on each side.
Start gluing the leaves. We found it easier starting from the stick and moving away from it.
Put a leaf with the less colored side up, then put twine on top of it. Arrange as desired and apply small amount of glue to where the string overlays the leaf. See photo. It doesn’t need to cover the entire leaf, just a little bit will do, as the leaves are so light. Also, leaves might turn their back side when mobile is hanging on the wall and you don’t want there to be a whole lot of glue on the back.
The white glue will dry to be almost invisible, so don’t worry if it seems like you got too much of it here or there.
Once all leaves are glued let the mobile dry without moving it until glue is fully set. We live in a dry climate and it only took 15 minutes or so.
Tie another piece of twine or string to the stick in order to hang it on a wall.
When doing this with young children
I wanted to mention that if you are doing this with young children keep the pieces of the string you cut short and do just 3 of strings. Although it is more beautiful the longer the strings with leaves are and the wider the whole arrangement is, children do best with a shorter version of the craft. It takes a good deal on concentration on their side to apply that glue and hold the leaf and string in place while doing it. Keeping the project short makes it fun and creative without being too long and exhausting for them.