Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ID Mommy Project: Make a Fall Leaf Placemat!

My favorite time of year, fall, also happens to be the shortest season here in Minnesota.  So, knowing that snow is not far away, we try to take advantage of every nice day we have left!  Here's a great project that you can do with your kids that combines some outdoor fun with preservation of those pretty fall colors.  I came up with this project idea a few years ago as an activity to do while babysitting my niece.  Today I was out raking leaves with the boys, and thought I'd try it with Sammy!

First, collect some leaves.  This is a great opportunity to learn about different colors, different types of trees, changing seasons, and why the leaves turn colors. If you don't have a lot of leaves in your own yard, it's also a great excuse to go for a walk at a nearby park or nature center.

This part you can do inside the house, but since we were collecting leaves in the back yard, we did it on the back step.  Get a roll of clear contact paper, unroll about 18" or so, and peel back the paper to expose the sticky side.  (sticky side UP)  Use a couple rocks to hold down the corners if needed, to keep it from curling back up.

 Next, start sticking your leaves down!  I find it works best to put the most colorful side down, however, either way will work. Make a collage with your colorful findings!

 We stuck down the sumac branch and then took off the thick stem to get them all positioned like that, and then surrounded it with other leaves.  This part is fun for the kids, to arrange and flatten the leaves so they stick to the paper.

 Now, peel some more of the backing off of the roll, and fold the contact paper over so you are laying down another clear layer over your leaves, with the sticky sides together.  Peel away the backing as you roll.

 Now rub and press the 2nd layer of contact paper so it sticks to the leaves and all around the edges.

 Cut off the roll and trim around the edges if needed.  Now flip it over, hold it up to the sky, and watch the colors glow! 


 Now show your little brother what you made!!

We used this one as a could also finish off the edges nicely with some ribbon or colored tape.  These would also look pretty just hung on a window!


  1. Love it! You are much better with contact paper than me. We always end up in a fight and it usually wins, but I will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing! Kerri

  2. Ha ha...yeah, Contact paper has a way of doing that. I guess I have gotten so used to it over time because I use it when making my junk mail wallets. I think the key is to only expose some of the sticky part at a time...only what you're using. When ready to fold it over itself, I exposed only an inch or two more, made my fold, then peeled the paper back as I rolled across the place mat. Not sure if that makes sense, but maybe I'd be better off posting a video next time! ;-)

  3. I grew up doing this with wax paper. Lay out as described, put the second sheet of wax paper on and then go over with with a warm iron. We called them our stained glass windows.



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