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Project

Leaf Alphabet

Introduction

Lovely leaf collages help smooth the transition from lazy summer days outdoors to life among the ABCs. Step outside and you'll find a palette of greens, reds, purples, and golds at your feet. Pick up a leaf and try to imagine what it could become--a butterfly wing, a flickering deer tail? Or think of leaves as nature's tissue paper, and cut them into appealing shapes before arranging them on a card or poster. Alphabet leaf collages make excellent classroom projects; the letters divvy up nicely so that each student can have one to illustrate.

Materials

  • Leaves
  • Heavy paper
  • Glue stick, white glue, or rubber cement

Steps

  1. Step 1

    ka99976_fal03_leafalpha_ht1.jpg

    Collect leaves, avoiding ones with any mold or rot. Lay leaves flat between phone-book pages or layers of newspaper, then weight them with something heavy. Allow one to two weeks to fully flatten and dry. If you live in an area without many leaves (or want to enhance your collection), you can buy them online already pressed.

  2. Step 2

    ka99976_fal03_leafalpha_ht4.jpg

    Arrange leaves on a page of heavy paper. Experiment with combinations of colors and shapes. If you are stumped by a letter of the alphabet, look in the dictionary for words to illustrate. Embellish leaves by cutting notches for parts like mouths, tails, and fins. From spare leaves, cut out details like eyes, wheels, hats, etc.

  3. Step 3

    ka99976_fal03_leafalpha_ht3.jpg

    Glue leaves into place with glue stick or white glue (kids older than 12 can safely use rubber cement). Lay a clean sheet of paper on top of glued leaves and rub gently to smooth and flatten. Carefully remove the top sheet.

  4. Step 4

    ka99976_fal03_leafalpha_ht2.jpg

    Label the artwork. An adult can use a pencil to sketch in guidelines for the letters and the word; a kid can then write them in ink. When it is complete, try to keep the artwork flat, because pressed leaves can be brittle. Display collages on a bulletin board or wall. If this is a class project, you can make a color photocopy of everyone's finished work and collect the pages to make a big alphabet book.

Source
Martha Stewart Kids, Special Issue 2003

Reviews (14)

  • meemaw1956 17 Sep, 2011

    I've done something similar with grandkids for placemats at Thanksgiving. Just laminate both sides (I use clear contact paper) and trim leaving about a 3/4 inch edge. You could use the scrapbooking scissors to really dress them up. Best if you use cardstock if making placemats. Be sure to have the kids sign back and date-you will want to know this 10 years later!!

  • TreeSong 16 Sep, 2011

    I love these simple crafts to use when the extended far fetched family comes to visit and our little girl cousins need an activity to get comfortable again with each other after a long stretch of not seeing each other.

  • eHomebody 25 Sep, 2008

    This would be an excellent project for teachers and mothers with children at home.

  • eHomebody 25 Sep, 2008

    This would be an excellent project for teachers and mothers with children at home.

  • Diegokid 22 Sep, 2008

    My Scout troop just loved this craft.

  • Ribbons 15 Sep, 2008

    There are 'sticky' laminate pages or clear shelf liner available that requires no heat. You have to be extremely careful when using them but if you peal off only as far as you need to fit a page, place each alphabet page carefully face down and then cover the back and trim the edges, you will have the alphabet set for years to come.

  • giagirl 15 Sep, 2008

    This is PERFECT for my preschool group! LOVE IT

  • BOBBY1 15 Sep, 2008

    How do you watch days?

  • PennyErvin 15 Sep, 2008

    Sounds like something the grandchildren would love!

  • PennyErvin 15 Sep, 2008

    Sounds like something the grandchildren would love!

  • sharethelovepaty 14 Sep, 2008

    I run a daycare and this will be great to do with them. It sounds like so much fun!

  • tajicat 14 Sep, 2008

    How cute! I agree these would be great for cards, as photocopies or originals. I would love more ideas like this with leaves or flowers. :)

  • santana 14 Sep, 2008

    This is a great leaf project. Never ever thought of it. Although I collect the mint flowers (purple) put them in the telephone books and keep it pressed. When they are dry and flat, I put them around my family pictures as a frame, oh boy its lovely. Try it. I am going to give it a try to this leave project, as I work around kids of 3 to 4 years in a montessori. I would love to have some more simple art/painting projects for my kids. Thanks.

  • Anna_Marie 14 Sep, 2008

    What a wonderful art project! These could make great greeting cards, too, if you used photocopies of the original pages. Also a thoughtful gift to take to a nursing home, or to shut-ins in the neighborhood who can't get outside to enjoy the fall foliage.