DIY Autumnal Placemats

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Autumn is arriving in gusts of wind courtesy of Storm Ali where we are. The trees are heaving with nuts and berries for the squirrels, birds and critters to fill their stocks up before Winter and the tree’s offerings for crafts are infinite. One of our favourite things to do this time of year is to go out foraging. There is so much to be foraged and if you follow us on Instagram @the.rainbow.tree.blog then you will already know our feed is full of nature at the moment.

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Being outdoors so much at this time of year means that we come home with arm fulls of shrubbery, sticks, branches, acorns, pinecones, conkers, you know name. As a result I am always thinking of ways to put them to use with our crafting. Using them as teaching opportunities and thinking of how to preserve these beautifully artistic patterning and colours of the leaves changing.

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So, enter DIY Autumnal Placemats. If you haven’t used Contact Paper before, my friends, you are missing out on a whole world of fun with Little Feet. It can be used in so many different ways. The most traditional is covering books to protect them. I remember my mother volunteering in the school library back when I was in Primary School. She would spend mornings covering book after book, after book in contact paper. However, this is just one small function in what you can use it for! And as you will see making placemats is one of them! It is a really fun way to entertain your Little Feet. Making placemat can be done on any kind of paper and is a great way to entertain little ones, for example if you are waiting for food!

This seasonal craft is one you can do, year after year, you can use it as a teaching tool by doing one type of leaf per placemat and do it again and again throughout Autumn as the leaves keep changing colours. I totally love Autumnal colours. There is so much inspiration with a pile of different colour leaves. The range in colour astounds me every year, as if my brain had forgotten the shots of colour that adorn each tree. All the way from green to purple to pink to yellow.

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So join us for the ‘how to’ on making DIY Autumnal Placemats below.

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What you will need:

  • A bucket

  • To be somewhere that is in Autumn and are leaves

  • Some heavy books to press your leaves

  • Glue, we used stick glue

  • A3 white paper

  • Contact paper

  • Scissors

  • Kitchen paper (optional)

Process in pictures

Instructions:

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  1. Take your bucket or bag out on a walk and collect Autumn leaves. Try and get as many different coloured leaves as you can. You’ll be surprised how many different colours you can find.

  2. If they are damp, dry them off with kitchen paper. Gently place your leaves on a sheet of paper, and place some heavy books on top of them. This will press the leaves flat and make them easier to stick on to paper. Leave them for 12- 24 hours.

  3. Get out all your leaves carefully and place them on the table where you will be doing the craft.

  4. Place your white A3 paper in front of your preschooler/todder and get them to glue the entire page with the prit stick. Help them if they need some assistance.

  5. Show your Little Feet that they should stick the leaves on to the paper. Now let them have free reign. Add any additional glue if they need it.

  6. Once they have finished, now it’s the Big Feet that need to finish it off with contact paper. Roll out as much contact paper as you need to cover the A3 sheet. We added a border. This helps the contact paper to stick to each other and stay secure. Cut out two sheets the same size.

  7. Remove the backing off one side of contact paper and place stick side up. Slowly lower your A3 sheet down on to it, leaves down onto the sticky part. With a ruler or your hands, smooth it out. This will remove any air bubble and stick it flat.

  8. Do the same with the other contact paper and stick to the back of your A3.

  9. You now have a laminated placemat that you and your Little Feet can use every meal time! Why not do it as a family so that each person has their own.

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You now have an Autumn styled table with barely any cost spent on it AND you got the Little Feet involved and were hopefully able to talk a bit about Autumn with them. Things like, what happens in Autumn? What sort of things do we like to eat in Autumn? What happens to the trees in Autumn? What grows in Autumn? What do Squirrels do in Autumn? Things like that.

Share with us!

We would love to see all your creations, especially if you live somewhere international as all your leaves will be different to ours in Britain! Tag us on your social media @the.rainbow.tree.blog .