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October Fall Craft Fun for All Ages

Updated on March 1, 2015
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Here in Louisiana we say, "Let the good times roll!" Holidays are celebrated with crafts, costumes and decorations, to everyone's enjoyment.

How to Make Leaf Prints and Stampers

Fall is my favorite time of year and October is when true Autumn weather arrives in Louisiana. Since the leaves don't change colors as much here as they do for you up there in the northern states, we like to capture the feeling of fall with crafts.

One project that both children and adults enjoy is make leaf prints. The leaves can still be green for this and if you use fabric paint as a medium, you can make delightful T-shirts, bags, aprons, place mats or any number of pretty fall designs that can be kept for years.

You can also use leaves and other prints or stamps on paper for scrap booking projects and cards. It's easy to create your own stampers (rubber and vegetable). I'll teach you a few tricks that I've learned through the years.

Leaf Prints

How to Print with Leaves

Leaf Prints
Leaf Prints

Pattern of Autumn Leaves


Pattern of Autumn Leaves. Tshirt by Graphics_By_Metarla on Zazzle

Children love to do leaf prints and it's a great way to go to the "outdoor classroom" and learn about trees. Be sure to get a good tree identification book that has good pictures of the leaves to take along on your outing. When you collect leaves for your prints, choose sturdy ones with varied shapes. Try to get ones that lay flat and leave some of the stem on them. This will help you hold the leaf without messing up the paint. Some of the leaves I like to use are:

  • Sweet Gum
  • Maple
  • Oak (there are many different ones)
  • Beech
  • Sassafras
  • Grape
  • Chinese Tallow (Hate the invasive tree, but the leaf is nice.)
  • Redbud
  • Silverbell
  • Sourwood

Leaf Designs

Leaves Underside
Leaves Underside

When you get home with your leaves. Put lots of newspaper on your work table. Go through the leaves and identify the underside. This is where the veins are and this is the side where you'll apply the paint. In the picture above, I have placed most of the leaves with the underside up. The Water Oak leaves in the picture above, show one of the top and one of the underside.

Next, look at the item that you want to put the prints on. Pick out leaves and place them in a pleasing design. The picture above shows part of a T-shirt that I did. I like to arrange the leaves so they look like they are drifting down from the trees. If you have a hole or a smudge, just overlap another leaf in a darker color.

When picking your project, keep the age of the child in mind. Young children do better with larger leaves and smaller "canvases". Probably one to three leaves on a small object like a place mat would be a good project for preschool or Kindergarten children.

If you are doing a T-shirt, you can make your own form out of a large cardboard box. Stretch the T-shirt over the form and secure the sleeves and extra material in the back with straight pins. Don't stretch it too tight, just tight enough so that it will lay flat. You can use straight pins (like quilter's pins) to secure other cloth items to a piece of cardboard.

Place a leaf with the underside up on a piece of newspaper. Using a large watercolor brush and fabric paint color the underside of one of your leaves. You can use all one color or paint some like nature with 2 or 3. You may need to squirt small amounts of the different colors of fabric (or tempera or acryllic for paper) in a disposable plastic plate. Thin with water a little if needed. Experiment and do some test prints first before you try it on the item.

You can do a structured design, or a more natural one. Just have fun! When you are happy with your creation, lay it flat, up somewhere out of the way to dry.

Besides leaves, vegetables and fruits make good stampers. Mini pumpkins cut in half are great for Halloween shirts. Apple halves make nice fall designs, too. If you are good at carving cut a potato in half and use a paper pattern to trace a simple design onto it. Carve out all the parts that you do not want to show on the print.

Leaf Prints Video

This video gives you the basic technique for leaf printing. If you use REAL leaves you won't have the problems that this teacher and her students did.

Chickadee in Fall

The leaves of the silverbell tree are a lovely yellow and make nice prints.
The leaves of the silverbell tree are a lovely yellow and make nice prints. | Source

Carolina Chickadee in Silverbell by naturegirl7

Autumn Leaves

Sourwood leaves are good for printing.
Sourwood leaves are good for printing. | Source

Sourwood Leaves in Autumn by naturegirl7


Make Your Own Stampers

Click thumbnail to view full-size
These inexpensive precut foam shapes come in kits and packs.Just pick out the ones you like and glue them to a piece of scrap wood or other recycled block.To create your own design, draw something on paper and transfer it to a foam sheet using carbon paper.  Cut it out and stick it onto a block.Here's the little cat stamped in black.
These inexpensive precut foam shapes come in kits and packs.
These inexpensive precut foam shapes come in kits and packs.
Just pick out the ones you like and glue them to a piece of scrap wood or other recycled block.
Just pick out the ones you like and glue them to a piece of scrap wood or other recycled block.
To create your own design, draw something on paper and transfer it to a foam sheet using carbon paper.  Cut it out and stick it onto a block.
To create your own design, draw something on paper and transfer it to a foam sheet using carbon paper. Cut it out and stick it onto a block.
Here's the little cat stamped in black.
Here's the little cat stamped in black.

3-D Foam Sticker Bucket

You can make many stampers using these as well as learning games for teaching counting, math, grouping, etc.

Home Made Stampers

A really easy and inexpensive way to make your own cute stampers is to purchase a bag or bin of those little foam cutouts. Pick out the ones you like. I like cats for Halloween, so I chose some cats and glued them to a small piece of scrap lumber. Presto, you have a stamper that will last for years.

The cat paw prints were my own design. I drew them, then used carbon paper to transfer them to a piece of compressed foam rubber. I cut them out with an exacto blade and tiny scissors. Then, glued them to a stack of tongue depressors that I had glued together.

Black Cats on an orange shirt, bag, placemat or napkin would be a cute Halloween or October gift. You could use the leaf prints and black cats on white paper bags to put favors in for a Halloween party. There are also foam ghosts available or you could just buy a piece of compressed foam and make your own designs. You don't have to use blocks of wood for the stamper. Try gluing pieces of cardboard together to form a block or use any other recycled material.

Peel and Stick Foam Sheets

Transfer your own designs using carbon paper, cut them out and stick them onto a wood or other block to make a stamper.

Favorite Purchased Stampers

My Favorites

Kidstamps Little Witch Stamper
Kidstamps Little Witch Stamper

When I was a school librarian, I used to drool through the Kidstamps catalog. Many of their designs are by renowned illustrators of childrens books. I tried to get at least one of their stamps for each holiday. My favorite one for Halloween (besides the dragon) is from Bruce Degen's Little Witch and the Riddle (1986).

My next favorite which could be Halloween or anytime is "Viola Swamp is Watching You" by James Marshall, also from Kidstamps. These designs can be used for a multitude of projects.

I've searched the Web and I can't find a good link for Kidstamps. I hope they fix their website soon and when they do, I'll post it here.

However, some are available on ebay! Hooray for ebay.

© 2015 Yvonne L. B.

Please Craft a note for us.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Tons of those Kidstamps rubber stamps at Also tons of photos of ones they don't carry on their Kidstamps Pinterest board.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 7 years ago from Vermont

      So much crafty goodness here! Nice ideas on the DIY stamps - I'll remember that for Oma crafting days with my grandkids.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Good craft ideas here -- for any time of year, not just for Fall. :) I can envision some very interesting foam stampers could be created for home-schooled kids on a variety of subjects.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      I cannot wait until Fall starts here so I can do some photography! When I was a child I use to collect fallen leaves and iron them between two pieces of wax paper and hang it on my bedroom walls. I just cannot seem to get enough of Autumn colors and decorations. Great Lens for crafts.

    • Gamganny profile image

      Gamganny 7 years ago

      Some really good craft ideas for the fall.

    • profile image

      bdkz 7 years ago

      Congratulations! You've been SquidBoo Blasted. Happy Halloween!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      Really fun ideas here for creative crafts!


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