I’ll be honest and admit that I am not a crafter. I want to be! I yearn to sew and knit and crochet. I want to be one of those moms who has a closet of craft supplies (which she knows how to use) at the ready. The mom who can make something beautiful out of a snippet of construction paper and a sprinkling of glitter. But I’m not.
I’m the mom with one small drawer of crayons, glue, and construction paper. Craft days are saved for “when we have time”…and we usually don’t. I don’t own a glue gun. And, until recently, mod podge was an intimidating foreign substance.
It’s not that I don’t like crafts, I love them. They excite me! However, crafts simply overwhelm me. Projects seem more complicated in my mind than they are in reality. However, I’ve learned a very special lesson that is helping me overcome my craft aversion.
Crafts are not about the project, the mess, the detail or even the outcome. Crafts are about making memories with your children.
When I look at it like that, crafts suddenly seem much more important. That’s why I’m making a conscious effort to add more crafting to our life. I want to make memories! So, for my first project, I decided to make an autumn keepsake with my son, not just another “craft”.
I love this keepsake craft for four very specific reasons. 1) It has variety! The different materials give it more depth. 2) It can be broken down into several smaller projects. We had 4 different days of crafting. 3) You can make this keepsake no matter what climate you live in, using whatever items you have outside. 4) It easily adapts to different seasons by changing the outdoor items you collect and paint colors.
Leaves or other outdoor items (autumn grasses, pine cone bits, pebbles, etc)
Books for pressing
Metallic permanent markers (silver, gold and/or bronze)
2 sheets white cardstock paper
Foaming shaving cream
Acrylic paint (autumn colors, red, orange, gold, green, brown)
Paintbrush or sponge
Frame (your choice of size)
Step 1: We started with a “leaf walk”. The kids had a blast walking our property and collecting leaves of all different shapes, sizes and colors. If you live in a hotter climate, or your leaves have already dropped, collect pebbles, wide-leafed grasses, etc. You can even use brown, dried leaves if they’re not too brittle. Don’t forget to collect a few green leaves for contrast.
Step 2: Press the leaves between the pages of the books, lined with waxed paper.
Step 3: When the leaves are sufficiently pressed, carefully color them with the metallic markers. Get creative with designs. The colors really pop! When you’re happy with your leaves, set them aside.
Step 4: Using scissors, cut leaf shapes out of the cardstock. You can do maple, oak, or freestyle it! This is about memories, not perfection, right?
Step 5: On a piece of waxed paper or in a rectangular dish, spray a layer of shaving cream and smooth it out. Next, add drops of the acrylic paint all over. Then, using the toothpick, swirl the paint until it has the design and pattern you like.
Step 6: Press the cardstock leaves face down into the shaving cream/paint mixture. Let is sit for just a moment, then carefully lift out the leaves and lay them paint side up on a piece of waxed paper.
Step 7: Allow the leaves to sit for a minute or two. Then, using your spatula, scrape off the excess paint and shaving cream. Allow your leaves to dry well.
Step 8: Once everything is sufficiently dry, arrange your varying leaves on another piece of cardstock in any design you wish. Then, use the mod podge to glue the leaves securely. Apply a very thin layer with a paintbrush or sponge. Also, be sure to coat the tops of your leaves with mod podge as well. It will enhance the colors and give them a bit of luster! Dry well.
All that’s left to do now is frame your masterpiece. Ours is hanging (on proud display) in our living room. My son likes to gaze at it every so often and comment on the fun we had making it. And that’s what crafts are all about. The happy memories!
Are you a crafter? How often do you incorporate crafts into your home?