Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

Fall Leaf Stamps  
Help your child create some unique seasonal crafts using a simple leaf stamping process.

 

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Fall Leaf Stamps
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Gerber Life Family Times Archive

FunNow that there's a chill in the air, the colors of autumn have started to spread. The trees are awash with the yellow, gold, orange, and russet colors that give such a warm glow to autumn days. Before long, the first snowflakes will begin to fall and another season will have come and gone. Before that happens, you still have plenty of time to undertake a fall project with your child that will help capture and preserve a special memory of the season. Why not let your child capture some of nature's magic at home with an easy leaf-stamping project? The end result can be easily transformed into a colorful seasonal decoration or creative placemats for a holiday dinner.

You'll need:

  • A variety of leaves
  • Sheets of construction paper (various colors)
  • Glue stick or craft glue
  • Acrylic or tempera paints (available at craft stores)
  • Disposable plastic cups or bowls
  • Newspaper
  • Paintbrush
  • White or light-colored craft paper
  • Paper towels
  • Heavy books

Begin preparing for this project by taking an autumn walk with your child to gather a selection of leaves. Choose leaves that have turned colors but have not yet fallen from the tree or dried. Choosing a pliable leaf makes it easier to achieve a clearly defined pattern with the stamp process. Once you return home, place individual leaves between two pieces of paper toweling and press them under some heavy books overnight. This will make the leaf as flat as possible so the paint will leave a strong impression on the paper when stamping.

Once the leaves have been pressed, you and your child can begin making the leaf stamps. To keep the mess to a minimum, lay out a layer of newspaper over your work surface. For each leaf stamp, fold one piece of construction paper in half. Apply a thin layer of glue to the front or smooth side of the leaf. Glue the leaf to the construction paper so that the veined surface is up (the veins in the leaf will hold the paint and leave the best impression). Allow the glue to dry thoroughly. Repeat the process for each leaf stamp you wish to create.

FunOnce the glue has dried, you can begin the stamping process. Place a small amount of each of your chosen paint colors into a disposable plastic bowl or cup (bowls with flat bottoms are more stable for young hands). Choose a piece of white or lightly colored construction paper as the surface for the project. Using a paintbrush, apply an even layer of paint to the exposed surface of the leaf. Once the leaf surface is covered, pick up the leaf by its construction paper backing, turn it over, and place it in the desired position on the white (or light colored) paper. Press down on the paper firmly, trying not to move the leaf back and forth (which will cause the image to smear). After the image has been pressed onto the paper, carefully lift the stamp up and away from the paper to expose an impression of the leaf. Repeat the process of applying paint and stamping with the same leaf or use a different shaped leaf for variety. Rinse the brush in clean water when changing colors. Allow the paint to dry slightly if additional images are going to overlap (this will help keep each impression from smearing).

When your stamping is complete, leave printed piece undisturbed for a few hours so that it can dry thoroughly. When the paint is dry, your child can make a variety of projects including:

  • Fold the leaf-printed paper in half and use it as a handmade holiday card.
  • Individual printed sheets can be used as placemats for a holiday dinner. If you have access to plastic laminating sheets, the placemats can be laminated to protect them for repeated use.
  • Using safety scissors, cut a frame out of construction paper approximately one inch larger than the project sheet. Place a small amount of glue around the edge of the project and adhere it to the frame.
  • Instead of construction paper, use plain gift bags as the project surface and create original packaging for holiday gifts.

Simple projects, such as this, are a wonderful way to spend some fun, creative time with your child. The end result, regardless of its final form, will serve as a reminder of those special moments spent with your child for many years to come!

Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.



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