Every October, my kids start their fall collections: colorful leaves, acorns, chestnuts, seed pods, pinecones and the like. They all fill their pockets every time we leave the house! While I too am sucker for the beautiful colors of fall leaves, I am also always at a loss for what to do with all the fall treasures that find their way home. So this project seemed like the perfect way to put those treasures to good use.
I love this project because it is so simple to make, even the youngest kids can help out and the finished prints can be used in so many ways. You can add holes to the prints and hang them as decorations, leave them whole to use as table decorations, or even give them a coat of modge podge to turn them into a set of coasters.
white model magic
Purchase a large package of white Model Magic. Model Magic is an easy to use, easy to clean up air dry clay made by Crayola. You can find it in most craft stores, Target and Staples.
Start by opening the clay packet and rolling the clay out into a large flat pancake about 1/4 inch thick. Let the pancake sit and dry out for about 3-5 minutes. This will help the leaves to not stick in the next step.
After the pancake has sat out for a few minutes it will start to dry a little on the the top. Have the kids select some of the fall treasures they would like to use to make their prints. Leaves work well but other treasure like acorns and pinecones can make fun patterns as well.
Have the kids gently press their fall finds into the surface of the clay pancake, covering the whole surface with textures and impressions. If they press too hard and their leaves stick they can always flatten the surface out and try again.
Once the whole surface of the pancake has been covered in textures and impressions then take a large cup or circular cookie cutter and press it into the surface to cut out circles. If you would like to hang your prints this is a good time to use a straw to poke holes into each circle.
Allow the circles to dry on a flat surface for 6-8 hours then flip over to let the other side dry.
After 12-24 hours the clay should be dry and almost foam like to the touch. At this point you can add color to your prints with watercolor paints or markers if you would like.
The very last step is to add a clear coat of Modge Podge to your finished clay prints. This step is not necessary at all but will help the prints and colors hold up over time.
Photos by Laura Black.