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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kids Art: Fall Foliage Placemat, Greeting Cards

fall foliage place mat kids crafts
About a decade ago, being a single grad student got me invited to Thanksgiving dinners with the family of friends in town or nearby. During one such nice meal, one of the kids in the host family was thrilled to bits about setting the place for the dinner because as it turned out, she had made the placemats herself: Fall leaves trapped in clear contact sheet with thick paper backing. She was very happy to share the technique. And the placemats were for us to take home after the meal.

I saved the placemat in one of the many boxes that still remain snugly packed with old notes and books from my student days that I haven't had the heart to sort through and toss out, and promptly forgot about it.

Anyway, in a recent newsletter from Kids Crafts Weekly, this project was listed and it brought back memories... and inspired me to make these place mats with Ana.

Plus, serendipitously, on our walk to the park last Saturday, Ana managed to find beautiful autumn leaves and pebbles and twigs and fairy dust (possibly sand with glitter that some kid was playing with) that she meticulously tucked away in her little back pack she brought along - a new hobby of hers. Sorting through her rocks and twigs and leaves and flowers and mud and walnut shells and dandelions and what-nots is a secret indulgence for me...

Moving on, as long as materials are handy this is simple enough, but, not easily doable by a 4-yr old alone. The clear contact sheet is tricky to handle as it is sticky and likes to curl up on itself if not properly weighted down after peeling off the backing. So, I helped her with the technicalities that she can't handle alone.

Usually, I have a few rolls of clear contact sheets in stock. At about a dollar a roll it seems rather inexpensive, especially as it has many craft uses - one of which is actually to sort of "laminate" Ana's little art/drawing and attach adhesive magnetic strips at the back to make them into little fridge magnets. A neat way to save and display her current favorite art work, and easily recycled when she has forgotten about them ;)



Items Used: Clear contact roll (forgot to note the yardage in a roll*), fall foliage or anything else interesting, scissors, some cello tape, card stock or heavyweight construction paper.
*we managed to make 3 placemats from a roll, slightly smaller than 8x11 inches rectangle each

We had some pressed poppies and other foliage from last year's fall crafts and decided to use them here as well.

fall foliage place mat kids crafts


  • Cut the heavyweight construction paper to the required placemat size. If making a greeting card, consider making the 'laminated' art the size you want and tape it to the front of the greeting card.
  • Cut the clear contact sheet such that there is enough to fold over and have about 1 inch margin all around, which can be trimmed away if needed - easier to trim away excess than find it short
  • Peel away the backing of the clear contact sheet part-way and weight it down at the corners so as not to allow it to curl up and stick on itself
  • Place the fall foliage or other interesting things on the exposed sticky side of the clear contact sheet to desired pattern, face down
  • Place the heavyweight construction paper already cut to size on top of the pattern of foliage arranged
  • If preferred, make this a double-sided place-mat and arrange foliage on top of the construction paper too
  • Peel away the rest of the backing from clear contact sheet, fold over the paper and press down on all edges to make it stick together, with the paper and foliage sandwiched inbetween
  • Trim away edges for a uniform margin all around
  • Voilá!

I am a bit stingy with craft and art supplies, so, I just cut enough of clear contact sheet to fold the edges over about an inch and used another smaller sheet to cover the back, rather than cutting enough to fold over as above,and used some tape to secure the pieces and the edges :) Probably why we managed to get 3 placemats out of a single roll of clear contact sheet.



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