Leaf Print Tablecloth

Martha Stewart Living Television

In the fall, when fire-colored leaves in shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown light up trees and cover the ground, the woods seem to glow. Whether you are walking in the woods or raking the lawn, the world feels alive with color. Using leaves for craft projects is one way to capture the season's beauty. Fallen leaves can be used as stamps to decorate a tablecloth. Through using a simple technique, their raised, veined undersides can create wonderful designs on fabric.

Collect leaves of various shapes and sizes, and use only the best specimens. You'll need fabric paints in fall colors, such as brown, dark green, and deep red. You can customize your own colors through blending the paints.

To make your tablecloth design, experiment by moving the leaves around on the fabric. You can create a border, but covering the entire tablecloth with leaf prints is also lovely.

Tools and Materials
Light-colored cotton or linen tablecloth
Prewashed leaves of various sizes and shapes (make sure they are not brittle)
Fabric paint
Sponge brushes
Paper towel, parchment paper, or kraft paper
Brayer or rolling pin
Iron
Muslin or scrap fabric (optional)

Leaf Print Tablecloth How-To
1. Use a sponge brush to lightly coat the veined underside of your leaf with fabric paint.

2. Place the leaf, paint side down, onto the tablecloth. Cover the leaf with kraft paper, parchment paper, or a paper towel to prevent the paint from getting on the brayer or rolling pin.

3. Roll the brayer over the paper a few times, firmly pressing the painted leaf onto the fabric. Keep the paper as still as possible; if it shifts, the paint beneath the leaf will smudge. Lift up the paper and the leaf.

4. Repeat the process, using a different leaf and different piece of paper for each new print.

5. Before heat-setting the paint, wait 24 hours. With the pattern side down, press the cloth with an iron set at medium high. Protect your ironing board by covering it with a piece of muslin or scrap fabric first.

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