by Ana Morlier

Natural Crafts

Happy autumn, readers. As we settle into this cozy month of natural beauty, let’s make the most of what we have! Rather than visiting expensive craft stores, you can simply use surrounding flora and fauna to make stunning accents to your home. All projects here are family-friendly, so grab your kids for some decorative fun. Here are my top favorite (and relatively easy to make) natural crafts!

Pinecone Rose Bouquet

You’ll need: pinecones; twigs (sturdy enough to hold the weight of one pinecone on top of it); paint; hot glue gun and glue; newspaper/spare paper (to be used as a protective surface when painting the pinecones).

Before painting, ensure excess seeds are removed by blowing on the pinecone. A hair dryer can be used for any particularly stubborn seeds, and it’s not a big deal if there are some present when you paint. A flat paintbrush will be the most helpful to cover more surface area and any nooks and crannies that are easy to miss. Since you’ll be working with an outdoor object, try to use an older paintbrush, as the pinecone will wear out some of the bristles of any kind of brush. Cut the twigs as long as you need to fit the vase, 7-9 inches works best for most vases. You can paint the twigs green or keep them the same color. Once all paint has dried, hot glue one end of the twig to the base of the pinecone. Repeat to make a bouquet.  Deposit in a vase and enjoy! (Visit Creative Green Living for visual reference.)

Leaf Lanterns

You’ll need: leaves; parchment paper; base: cardstock box, the bottom half of a soda bottle, the bottom half of a milk jug, or any other base; glue (preferably liquid, like Elmers); tealight candle.

Collect leaves that will fit your jug, and rinse and dry before using. Dry the leaves by putting them between sheets of newspaper for better absorption. Try to compress the papers together by placing books on top of the papers for at least an hour. Once dried and compressed, staple or hot-glue the parchment pieces to the exterior of your cardstock box. Cut out two sheets of parchment paper that will wrap around and fit your base. Cover one sheet in glue dots. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as the leaves you’ve collected will securely hold to the adhesive. Place as many leaves as you’d like on the glued sheet. Try to make sure they don’t overlap, as it is more aesthetically pleasing and lets more light through. Add a thin layer of glue dots to the top of the leaves or other areas that are lacking adhesive. Then place the second parchment sheet on top. Flatten the whole sheet with books and let dry overnight. Once dried, wrap and hot glue the leaf parchment sheet to the base you chose. Place tealight inside the base and voila! You have yourself a beautifully-themed lantern. (Visit Kids Craft Room for visual reference.)

Maple Seed Dragonflies

You’ll need: maple seed wings: helicopter-like seeds; small twigs (3-5 inches); paint; paint brushes; hot glue gun.

Make sure maple seeds are dry before painting. You can stick with a solid color paint scheme for the wings. Or for a realistic, stunning effect, go with a multicolored color scheme (ex. Light blue, purple, navy). Paint on newspaper or parchment paper to avoid any paint spills. Let dry, then select two pairs of maple seed wings. If the seed pods have split in two, simply hot-glue them back together. Place a glue dot on the twig’s upper part, leaving enough room for the second set of wings (that will be glued under and above this first set) and a head. Let dry. Place a new glue dot on the back of the glued-on wings, connecting it with the twig (the wings will overlap slightly). And your craft is finished! You can glue them on planters, place them in your plants, suspend them as a mobile with a fishing line, string, or twine, or glue them together on cardstock and hang them on the wall. (Visit Church Street Designs for visual reference.)

I hope you attempt and enjoy these crafts! They provide the perfect opportunity to spend time with family, making unique, autumnal crafts. Enjoy some nice cider in the presence of your romantic, homemade lantern, or brag about your everlasting bouquet. Celebrate fall in all its glory with those you love!

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