It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Autumn Colour Leaf Books

Lookit all the fall leaves!! Aren’t they pretty???

This is a craft I’ve meant to do every fall for the last five years at least. I’ve even gotten so far as to press the leaves once or twice, but never seemed to manage to follow through… This year was going to be different!!!

We gathered the leaves:

We spent a lot of time talking about the colours we would find, and tracking the colours we did find. We brought them home and counted and sorted. Fun, fun, fun! (This counts not only as science and art, but math, too!)

Then we prepared to press them.

First you lay them out on a few layers of newspaper…

and cover them with a few more.

(I lay my newspapers on a sturdy piece of board, because I knew I would need to move the stack of leaves before they were finished drying.) Because I was drying so very many leaves — enough for six of these books — I ended up with a layered tower: a board, a pad of newspapers/leaves, another board, more newspaper…

And when my tower was done, on went the pile of Weighty Tomes. (I am a dog-loving English major. Does it show?)

And that was that, for a couple of days. The stack of leaves/newspaper/boards was ferried about a bit as we needed the table for eating, or the kitchen counter for cooking, or the floor for playing. A bit cumbersome, but this is, as I have said many times in the past, a small house.

While the leaves are drying, you gather your other supplies, notably the cardboard for the pages. All my wonderful, helpful parents came through with a goodly stock of boxes of one sort or another.

Here are the supplies: cardboard, scissors, hole punch, loose leaf rings, cup of tea … wait, that’s not all of them.

Cardboard (now trimmed to tidy rectangles), scissors, hole punch, loose leaf rings, glue stick, duct tape, white scrap paper, cup of tea. And, damnit, I forgot the Con-tact paper. Yeesh. We also used clear Con-tact paper.


I used a quick and easy swiped ‘X’ on the white paper to stick it to the cardboard, both sides. No, the paper doesn’t match the cardboard exactly. It doesn’t matter. As long as the gap isn’t enormous, the edges will be covered with duct tape before you’re done, anyway.

Take a few leaves of each colour, and place them on the pages. The leaves do fade a bit as they dry, but the colours are more vibrant in the books than they’re appearing on my monitor right now. If you’re about ready to decide that Mary is clearly colour-blind, it’s probably just your monitor. (It could be that my poor middle-aged eyes are losing their grip… but I think it’s your monitor. Yup.)

Lightly secure the leaves in place with a dab of gluestick, then cover each page with Con-tact paper. Again, it doesn’t matter if the Con-tact paper matches your page exactly. The duct tape binding will hold it all together.

(Why the binding? I have made these sorts of books before, and Con-tact paper by itself does not grip well enough. (That’s not what it’s designed to do: as shelf paper, you want to be able to peel it up later. For a page laminate, however, peel-ability is not so much of a virtue.))

This page is pre-rub. After you’ve put on the shelf paper, you’ll need to rub it thoroughly to squoosh out the air bubbles.

Now for the cover. I sketched a very basic tree shape, then dotted a teeny bit of red and yellow finger paint across the top of it. The kids smeared it around to get the nebulous autumnal form, but I confess that they were hovered over guided a great deal more than normal, because I wanted the finished product to, you know, actually look like a tree. This level of concern with the product (rather than our normal focus on the process) meant that I also WHIPPED those suckers away when they were “done”.

Artus interruptus. I know, I know. I don’t often do that, but sometimes… sometimes a caregiver does what a caregiver’s got to do.

While the covers were drying, we finished the rest of the pages. I was going to give each book two binder rings, but I soon discovered that my new hole punch really, really, REALLY didn’t like going through cardboard.

Not even lightweight cereal-box cardboard. Yeesh.

I managed to manhandle the wimpy thing through the requisite pages once, at the end of which process the dents in my hands were almost as marked as the dents in the cardboard. I decided one hole would be quite sufficient.

See how wobbly and undisciplined the “yellow”s are? That’s the result of my my poor hands suffering from PHPTS. (Post hole punch trauma syndrome.) Mary of the shaky hands, that’s me.

And then, if you are an impatient person like me, you put the Con-tact on the front cover before the paint has completely dried, because you have spent quite enough time on this already, and you JUST WANT THIS THING DONE NOW, DAMMIT!

And then you stand back and feel very, very proud, because after five years, you finally got those things MADE! πŸ™‚

Advertisements

October 1, 2010 - Posted by | Canada, commemoration, crafts | , , , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. Very cute! Now, if I just remember to pick up clear contact paper, I could imagine making these with just my two. You’d think I’d have some, wouldn’t you? But I don’t… yet.)

    See, it’s exactly that sort of thing that prevented me from doing it years ago. One year I’d have the contact paper, but then there’d be a giant windy rainstorm that would blow the last of the leaves off the trees and clear to Kamloops. Another year I’d gather the leaves, but leave them to curl into dusty frills on the dining table because I’d forgotten to pick up a newspaper. You can see how it went…

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | October 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. (Ok, lost the left parenthesis on that one. And by “some” I mean contact paper, not children. Sheesh. Maybe it’s an early bedtime for me tonight.)

    You and me both, sweetie. I can edit my comments. (Yours too, for that matter!)

    Oh, and p.s. You didn’t offend me at all with the rainbow advice. I had actually thought that I needed to find out what order to put the colours in, but then it was snack time, and then I had a diaper to change, and then someone spilled their milk, and then the dog started horking something up in the front hall… and then I decided that if I didn’t just put the thing together now, it was never going to happen. But Roy B Giv, huh? I’ll remember that. And one day I might even get around to rearranging that rainbow!

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | October 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. What a great craft!

    (And as an aside, I have a Canadian Oxford as well. History major, though!)

    Thanks! And you know what? Now that I think about it, that particular dictionary might have originally been my husband’s — for his degree in Law and Government Policy. So there!

    Comment by tuesy | October 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. Artus interruptus is going into my professional vocabulary!

    πŸ˜€ I liked it!

    Comment by jwg | October 3, 2010 | Reply

  5. Thanks I’ll do this with my sons, we do something like this every year but it usually falls apart and I end up picking up dried leaves all over the house, the contact paper and duct tape will solve that.

    Maybe I’ll use a drill to get through the boards rather than the hole punch πŸ™‚

    This one is more work, but inarguably more durable, too. My old hole punch would have done it, but this new one is feeble, feeble I tell you!

    Comment by Boliath | October 3, 2010 | Reply

  6. Very Nice πŸ™‚
    I will be your subscriber.

    Comment by Rustam | October 3, 2010 | Reply

  7. I love this craft. Now if we could only get some good fall leaves here in perpetual-summer-SoCal…

    I saw a nice craft by a woman in Arizona, another place where they don’t really get fall leaves; she made leaves with old paper bags. I’ll see if I can find it… Yes! Here it is: paper bag leaf garland. Isn’t it pretty? For a lighter, brighter craft, here are some wax paper leaves you could try! (I’ve done the same craft for Valentine’s Day. It’s very versatile!)

    Comment by Emily | October 3, 2010 | Reply

  8. […] self down to the far reaches of the back of beyond where the laminator is, or with my much-beloved Con-tact, which is in the […]

    Pingback by Halloween … hangy thingy « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | October 18, 2010 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: