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Thursday 4 December 2014

Clay Leaf Ornaments

Autumn is almost over but here in the Bay Area it's finally in full swing. The trees are golden, the sidewalks are covered in leaves and the cooler, rainy weather is finally upon us.

Autumn is my favourite season for being creative. Actually, it's my favourite season in general. I really enjoy creating crafts with Autumn leaves and I'm lucky that I have two little helpers who are just as keen. Ava and Lola love to collect colourful leaves as we walk to and from school and they're always excited to make something with them - although admittedly most do end up crushed in the bottom of the stroller!

Most of the crafts we make with leaves are temporary. At some point down the track the leaves get crumbled and whatever we've made ends up in the trash. I thought it would be nice to make something with leaves that lasts a little longer, so inspired by the nature impressions in clay that we made over the Summer (which you can see here on Popsugar) we got to work pressing leaves into clay.

The girls and I have worked on all sorts of leaf crafts in the past but this one has to be my favourite.
I'm really happy with how well they turned out. They really do look like leaves. I hung them up in the living room for Thanksgiving but I'm actually thinking of just leaving them up as they look so pretty.

Here's a look at how you can make your own clay leaf ornaments.

What you'll need
Air drying clay
Assorted leaves
Water spritzer
Rolling pin
Craft knife &/or scissors
Acrylic paint
String or ribbon

To begin with you'll need to choose the leaves that you want to work with. Leaves with large veins work best as they'll leave more of an impression. You'll also need to make sure that the leaves aren't too dried out or curled upon the edges. Freshly fallen (or freshly picked) leaves will work best for this project.

Once you have your leaves selected you can get to work with the clay.

Roll the clay out to a thickness of about 5mm.

Spritz the side of the leaf that you'll be pressing into the clay with a little water. This will help the leaf stick to the clay and ensure that it stays flat while you cut around it.

Gently press the moistened leaf into the clay. Make sure to use enough pressure to make an impression with the leaf but not so much to also leave finger prints.

Gently roll over the leaf with a rolling pin. This will flatten the leaf onto the clay and make it stick securely.

Using a craft knife or scissors cut around the edge of the leaf. I found it easier to use scissors on the curved leaves but the craft knife worked best on the leaves with lot of straight lines and points.

Once the leaf is cut out carefully remove it from the clay. Start at the base and slowly peel the leaf back revealing the impression in the clay.

If you'd like to hang your clay leaf as an ornament punch a hole in the base with a straw.

Leave the clay leaves to dry for a few hours, or as directed on the pack until they harden. I had limited time and needed the clay to dry quite quickly so I cheated and baked them in the oven for about half and hour on 300F. If you decide to bake the clay please check the directions on the pack.

Once the clay leaves have dried (and cooled if you bake them) you can paint them if you like. I chose a metallic copper paint to give the leaves a nice autumnal shine.

If you'd like to hang your clay leaves tie a ribbon or string through the hole once the paint has dried.

And now your clay leaf ornaments are ready to hang on display.

This craft really is so simple but the outcome sure is effective. Even though we made these with Autumn and Thanksgiving in mind I think they'd work really well for Christmas too. Imagine a Christmas tree covered in golden leaves or a group of clay leaves clustered around candles. Maybe even a wreath made of clay leaves. I'm also thinking that smaller leaves would look great tied onto gifts. I love it when the packaging itself is part of the gift.

Time to get out there and collect some lovely leaves to work with before they're all gone for the season!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Can you tell me what type of paint you used? Thanks!


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