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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Leaf It to the Kids!

By Christina Katz

Ready to get into the autumn spirit but can't afford a shopping spree on Etsy? Have no fear. Beautiful autumn d├ęcor is within reach with supplies from your own backyard. Send the kids out to gather dozens of freshly fallen autumn leaves while you pull out the craft supplies. In a couple of days, your leaves will be prepped to retain their color and shape, and you will be amazed with all the ways you can use them to transform your home for fall.

Leaf-Pressing Prep

Do this step first!

One or two days before you begin your project gather leaves--more than you think you'll need. Snip stems and spread leaves in thin layers between two sheets of plain white paper. Keep building up your pile, layering leaves and paper, until all leaves are sandwiched between sheets of paper. Use a stack of several heavy books to press the pile of leaves. To press as flat as possible, let your leaf stack sit for 24-48 hours, but not longer than two days. After they have been pressed, leaves are ready for crafting.

Leaf Lanterns

You need: Mason jars (or any old jars) with lids, Mod Podge Glossy, variety of pressed fall leaves (see above), foam paint brushes, glitter (optional), and battery-operated tea lights

Cover one side of a clean, dry jar with Mod Podge and apply one leaf at a time, slightly overlaying each leaf and coating each with a thin layer of glue as you go. Once the sides of the jar are covered, lightly sprinkle glitter in a complementary color, such as gold or copper, on the sides of the jar. Let lanterns dry upside down, then attach jar rim (without can seal) and insert tea light. These look great on a mantel or hutch; kids may like to have them in their bedrooms.

Author and journalist Christina Katz adores autumn so much she would do just about anything to make it last longer. And now she can.