Fall is such a beautiful time of the year. Leaves begin to change colors and there are so many vidid colors to enjoy. Well, nature lovers, we have a simple yet cute way to bring the beauty of outdoors in and make it a functional part of your living space. Introducing DIY leaf coasters – with these practical and decorative pieces that preserve the intricate details of leaves your kids can showcase their love for the great outdoors. Here is a tutorial for how to create a set of nature-inspired coasters. To make this DIY coasters leaf craft we will go over a few ideas for leaf preservation techniques, transforming leaves into practical coasters, and adding a protective finish that will ensure these nature-inspired creations last.
Bring the Outdoors In: DIY Leaf Coasters for Nature Lovers
My kids love to do craft projects and these easy DIY coasters provide a great opportunity to talk about the meaning and significance of things. I think your kids will enjoy making these leaf coasters and you will like having them handy for your children to use around the house. For this kids reuse craft project you will be able to discuss the seasons as well as why it is important to reuse and recycle things. As an added bonus of this leaf craft, you can throw in a little science. Do some leaf identification and teach your child a bit about why some trees lose their leaves in the fall. Plus, it is a good way to teach kids why we use coasters.
Gather Leaves and Materials
Before you start gathering leaves, it’s a good idea to prepare your work area. Clear a space and lay down a large sheet of wax paper or parchment paper to protect your table or countertop from any potential mess. This will make the entire craft process much smoother and easier to clean up afterward.
Now, the fun part! It is time to gather the leaves you’ll need for your DIY drink coasters. One of the best things about this project is that your kids can use leaves from your own backyard, neighborhood park, or any nearby green space. Keep in mind that the more variety of leaves you collect, the more visually interesting your coasters will be. When gathering leaves, tell your children to choose ones that are fresh and vibrant in color. These will retain their beauty when preserved. Look for leaves that are flat and free from any tears or blemishes, as these imperfections can affect the final outcome of your coasters.
Leaves should fit within a 4 by 4 coaster. Have them gather extra leaves in different colors. For example, if you want to make 4 coasters, have them gather 8 leaves. This will help in case the leaves don’t turn out to be just right when you get them back home.
You’ll also need a few additional craft supplies and materials to create your leaf coasters.
- used thin cardboard boxes (such as those that cereal or pasta come in)
- clear contact paper (usually available at your craft store or grocery store)
- green, red, orange and/or yellow construction paper (optional)
- black thin tipped marker
You may also want to have a few heavy books handy to flatten the leaves.
Preparing the Leaves
Gently wipe each leaf with a soft, dry cloth to remove any dirt or debris. It’s important to handle the leaves delicately to avoid tearing or damaging them. Take your time and be patient – this step will ensure that your coasters have a clean and polished appearance. It will also ensure the contact paper can adhere well to the leaf.
Once the leaves are clean, you’ll want to flatten them to make them easier to work with and enhance their overall aesthetic appeal. To do this, place the leaves between the pages of a heavy book, making sure they are evenly spaced and not overlapping. Close the book and weigh it down with additional books or other heavy objects. By preparing the leaves in this way, you are also helping to preserve them.
If you happen to have very flat leaves and your child is in a hurry, you can just press them for about 10 minutes. For best results, press longer as suggested in the steps below.
From simple methods to more intricate processes, there are different ways you can preserve the delicate beauty of leaves and incorporate it into your DIY coasters.
The easiest and most popular preservation technique is pressing. By carefully pressing your leaves between heavy books or using a flower press, you can flatten them and remove excess moisture. This not only ensures that your coasters will maintain their shape but also helps prevent any potential decay or rot. Pressing is a great way to capture the intricate details and vibrant colors of the leaves while keeping them intact for years to come. You can press the the leaves to flatten for a few days, allowing them to dry completely and take on a smooth, flat shape.
Another method you can explore is using a clear drying adhesive or thin layer of mod podge using a foam brush to seal and protect the leaves. This technique allows you to create a customized look by adding glitter. If you chose this method, you can skip the pressing. It works very well to preserve vibrant colors. You must wait for the adhesive to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.
Now that you have a range of preservation techniques at your disposal, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start transforming these leaves into remarkable coasters that will bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home.,
How To Make Leaf Coasters:
Gather leaves (as detailed above) and wipe clean with a dry cloth.
Now put your leaves in a thick book or under a heavy flat object to let them flatten out before you use them. This helps prevent the leaves from curling up as they begin to dry. Keep them there until you are ready for them in the craft steps.
Identify your leaf samples. You can find out what type of leaves you have selected by checking a few leaf identification sites or apps or taking a trip to the library for a tree guide. If your child enjoys this part, they may want to try their hand at creating a tree leaf identification journal.
Use a pencil and ruler to trace 4 by 4 inch squares onto your used thin cardboard boxes. Trace 4 squares if you’d like to have 4 coasters. Cut the squares out. The natural brown cardboard is the perfect background for your leaves. You could add a layer of white paper or scrapbook paper between the cardboard and the leaf if you prefer that look but I like the natural box color.
Now trace and cut out 4 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch squares of clear contact paper. If you want 4 coasters, you will need 8 squares of contact paper (for the front and back of these DIY coasters).
You can use all natural leaves for the project or you can make some of the coasters with construction paper leaves in fun fall colors. Just trace the leaf shapes in pencil onto construction paper and cut out. Don’t forget to save paper scraps for other craft projects.
Arrange a leaf (a real leaf or construction paper leaf) onto the center of each coaster. If your leaf is very small, you may want to put both the real and the construction paper one together onto one coaster.
Use a marker to label the leaf type in the top right hand corner. Before your child begins writing help them plan out where they should start and remind them to use their best handwriting. If you have preschool aged children, you may want to do the writing for them. They may wish to add their own unique designs to the coasters as well.
Adding a Protective Finish
Adding a protective finish to your leaf coasters is an important step to ensure durability and functionality while still maintaining their natural charm. After the cardboard squares are labeled and a leaf is arranged in the center you may preserve the coaster with contact paper. Peel the backing off of a contact paper square and carefully affixing the sticky side centered over the square leaving a 1/4 inch border on all sides. Do this again for the back of the coaster so that the two sticky borders meet each other and create a seal. Trim if needed. There you have your final product- cute coasters!
In addition to preserving your leaf coasters, a protective finish also adds a layer of strength, making them more resistant to wear and tear. This is particularly important if when have children in your home! Now that you have learned how to add a protective finish to your leaf coasters, you are ready to enjoy their beauty and functionality in your own home. So go ahead and place them on your coffee table, kitchen counters, or wherever you please. These nature-inspired coasters will not only serve as practical pieces but also bring a sense of tranquility and connection to the outdoors into your daily life.
I hope you enjoyed this easy tutorial for homemade coasters. With the freedom to experiment and express your creativity, the possibilities for your leaf coasters are endless. You can create a set that reflects your personal style and brings a touch of nature into your living space. So gather your materials, prepare to get crafty, and let your imagination run wild as you turn these simple leaves into extraordinary coasters that capture the essence of the great outdoors.
This is the perfect craft for a little bit of fall fun. It should be easy making sure your kids use their leaf coasters as kids love to use things they make. This leaf craft makes a great gift for family members so you may want to make a few extra sets of these DIY coasters. They will also serve as fun keepsakes for you to remember making them together years later. What are some of your favorite reuse crafts for the fall? Do you think your kids will enjoy this easy project? Share your pics on social media @familyfocusblog!