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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Three Easy Fall Crafts

With fall in the air, autumn crafts are a fun activity to do with kids. Best of all, the warm fall colors can grace your mantel or entryway in early November, then become part of your Thanksgiving tablescape at the end of the month. 

Leaf Suncatcher

This project is a great way to preserve those beautiful autumn leaves. Combine this activity with a nature walk to collect the most beautiful leaves you can find.


• Paper plate

• Scissors

• Clear contact paper

• Hole punch

• String

• Pen

• Colorful fall leaves (make sure they aren’t too dry or crumbly)


1. Poke a hole near the inside rim of the paper plate and cut out the center of the plate, leaving the rim intact. If you use a white plate, kids can color or paint the rim. Or, skip that step and simply use a decorative paper plate in a fall color or pattern.

2. Trace around the outside of the rim onto the back of the contact paper and then cut out the circle of contact paper. Repeat so that you have two circles.

3. Flip the plate over so that the back is up. Remove the paper backing from the contact paper and center the contact paper over the plate. Adhere the edges of the contact paper to the rim of the plate. Flip plate right side up again.

4. Allow kids to arrange fall leaves on the contact paper and press down to stick.

5. When the leaves are arranged to everyone’s satisfaction, adhere the other contact paper circle to the front of the suncatcher.

6. Use the hole punch to make a hole in the rim of the plate. Thread a length of yarn, ribbon, or twine through the hole then tie the ends of the string together to make a hanging loop. Hang your creation in a window and enjoy!

No-Sew Fabric Pumpkins

These are not only easy to create, but make the perfect kid-crafted centerpiece. Choose a black and white palette for an elegant display, cute fall patterns for a whimsical look, or solid warm colors for a neutral arrangement.


• Fabric in fall patterns or colors. Cotton material works best. If buying fabric off of the bolt, purchase a quarter yard of each. You can also often find bundles of “fat quarters” in the quilting section of fabric stores. Fat quarters are simply a quarter yard of precut fabric.

• Stuffing for your pumpkins. A polyester stuffing such as Poly Fil works well.

• Toilet paper rolls, one per pumpkin

• Scissors

• Green pipe cleaners, one per pumpkin

• 3 to 4-inch long sticks (from your yard is fine)


1. Lay fabric right side down on work surface. Trim fabric into a square shape. For a large pumpkin, you will need approximately 18 x 18 inches. Cut smaller squares for little pumpkins. You can eyeball this, it doesn’t need to be perfectly measured or even have straight edges, as the edges won’t show when the project is finished.

2. Place toilet paper roll upright in the center of the fabric square.

3. Place stuffing all the way around the toilet paper tube. Don’t worry about adding too much or too little stuffing, you can adjust the amount if needed later.

4. Holding the toilet paper roll with one hand, bring one corner of the fabric up and tuck it into the inside of the tube. Repeat with the other three corners. Tuck in the rest of the fabric in the same way. If there isn’t enough fabric to tuck into the tube, remove some of your stuffing. Or, if your pumpkin isn’t plump enough, add some stuffing! Once all of the fabric edges are tucked into the tube and the pumpkin is stuffed to your liking, poke some stuffing into the top of the tube to hold the fabric in place. Put the stick inside the tube for a stem and then push the stuffing down into the tube so that it doesn’t show.

5. To make a vine, wrap a green pipe cleaner around the stick a couple of times, then curl the ends by wrapping the pipe cleaner around a pencil or your finger.

Clay Leaves

These pretty leaf trays can be used as decor, to hold tealight candles, or even for rings or coins.


• Air dry clay

• A shallow bowl, with a diameter about the same size or slightly smaller than your leaf.

• Large leaves. These must still be green, not crunchy. If it is too late for green leaves, you can use artificial leaves from the craft store.

• Butter knife

• Acrylic paints

• Spatula


• Rolling pin

• Clear coat varnish such as Krylon


1. Use the rolling pin or your hands to press clay into ½ inch thickness on your work surface.

2. Place leaf in center of rolled out clay and press leaf gently into the clay. Be sure to make an impression of the outline of the leaf and the veins. You may have to try one or two times before you get it right. To try again, roll clay into a ball then flatten again.

3. Once you have a good leaf impression, cut around the outline of the leaf with a butter knife. Remove the extra clay from around your cut out leaf and then pick up the clay leaf with a spatula (just like making cookies with a cookie cutter).

4. Place inside of the bowl, pressing the clay into the bowl gently so that the middle of the clay leaf sits on the bottom of the bowl, and the edges curve up with the sides of the bowl. This will help the leaf hold its bowl shape as it dries.

5. Allow to dry 24 hours, then remove clay leaf from the bowl, flip the bowl upside down, and place leaf (also upside down) on the upside down bowl to allow the back side of the leaf to dry. Allow another 24 hours drying time.

6. Once the clay is completely dry, paint with acrylic paint. If desired, you can spray the completely dry clay leaf with a clear coat of varnish. 

Tiffany Doerr Guerzon is an award winning freelance writer who loves anything autumn.