Admittedly, there's no autumn leaves here in Phoenix until around Xmas time. My poor mulberry tree, however, has had a hard summer and is spitting out huge 10" wide yellow leaves and I cherish each one as it falls on the ground (sigh). Dreaming of the old days when I could gather every color imaginable, I thought I'd share some past crafts I enjoyed and some new ones I just discovered.
1. Leaf t-shirt. Take a medium to dark-colored t-shirt and lay it on the ground. Put a bunch of layers of newspaper inside of it to keep the front from bleeding through to the back. Put bleach in a spray bottle. Lay the leaves around the t-shirt in any pattern you like. Spray the front of the shirt as much as you like. Let it sit 5 minutes. Rinse in water. The t-shirt will be paler everywhere you sprayed and the leaves will remain dark.
2. Halloween mask. Get a plain white mask found in the craft store. Layer and glue on the Halloween leaves you’ve collected.
3. Scarecrow. Use piled up leaves to stuff your scarecrow.
4. Preserving. Place leaves between sheets of waxed paper and put a dishtowel under it and another one on top of it and press with a hot iron for a minute or two to preserve them.
5. Wreath. Cut out a cardboard wreath and glue them onto it to make an autumn wreath.
6. Stamp. Find leaves that are still healthy and not crumbled—preferably from off a tree. Press them inside a heavy book overnight. Hot glue the smooth front side of the leaf face down on a piece of construction paper so that the vein-y underside faces up. Now, paint the underside of the leaf only and not the construction paper. Turn it over onto whatever card or paper you want to decorate and use it as a stamp, rub the construction paper to help be sure the paint adheres from the leaf. Can reuse the stamp.
7. Gifts. Consider picking the best and brightest leaves and preserve them with waxed paper and then fold a piece of construction paper and stamp the front of it with a leaf. Put it in an envelope and mail it to a friend to share the wealth and welcome fall. When they open the card, they’ll get a happy surprise that connects you—sharing your autumn with theirs.
8. Décor. Gather tiny branches with leaves of different colors and place in a pretty glass vase with filled with rocks or pine cones as a dried arrangement.
9. Photo. Go for a walk, take your time, get some pictures of your favorite leaves, wet branches, mossy ground, and best of all-your feet in a pile of leaves—take off your shoes—do it barefoot!
10. Luminarias. Get some lunch bags and keep unopened and flat. Place leaves around the front of them and mix half water/half acrylic paint color in a spray bottle and spray. Let dry. Remove leaves. Put sand in the bottom and a candle.