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A DIY Fall-Inspired Gift: Painted Acorns, Leaf-Shaped Gift Tag and a Box of Autumn Harvest Ginger Cookies

Updated on October 10, 2012
alifeofdesign profile image

Graham is a former magazine stylist with a passion for crafts. She writes for various magazines and blogs when she's not playing with glue.


It's during this time of season that I can't help but gather fallen acorns and leaves in order to make a few crafts. Fall is my mother's favorite time of year and because she lives in Florida, my findings make for a perfect gift.


Gifts Made More From the Heart, Than From the Wallet

One of the great things about gifts partly created from nature is that they are inexpensive. I had most of the supplies on hand in order to make this present. I only needed to buy a few additional items, but those, too, cost me very little money.

While taking our dogs for a hike, my husband helped me fill a small bag of acorns. I gathered more than what I would need (just in case). I plucked a few leaves from the trees that lined our hike and set out crafting after we arrived back at home.

The first thing that I needed to do was separate the acorns from their caps. I wanted to be certain that I could later fit the correct cap back on each acorn so I lined the acorns next to it's partner.


Painting the Acorns

We had collected quite a variety of acorns. Big, tiny, narrow and a few small clusters. A few of the acorns were beginning to rot, so I discarded them. (1) I made a pile of the acorns that I would use and began to (2) gently unscrewed the cap.

(3) As I mentioned, I lined the acorns along with their suitable caps in a row.

(4) I selected the paint colors that I wanted to use (I chose three different colors) and began (5) painting each acorn. It was necessary to paint the acorns a few times with the latex paint in order to get the acorns a rich, solid hue. I placed the acorns on a torn sheet of aluminum foil which prohibited the drying acorns from sticking.

After 3-4 coats of paint, the acorns were completed. (6) Using a glue gun, I glued the caps back onto each acorn and let them dry while I prepared to paint my gift box.

show route and directions
A markerMichael's/86 D'Amante Drive Concord, NH -
86 D'Amante Dr, Concord, NH 03301, USA
get directions

B markerMichael's/1111 South Willow Street #3 Manchester, NH -
3 S Willow St, Manchester, NH 03103, USA
get directions

Painting Your Gift Box

(1) Plain white gift boxes can be found at your local craft supply store. These types of boxes are useful for so many purposes, that I often have a few on hand.

(2) If you don't have leaf punches, like these, or you can't seem to find shapes that you like, you can print shapes from your computer (Google leaf shapes, for example) and then simply cut them out. I have two leaf punches, one that's an inch large, the other a half inch.

(3) You could use a single color for your painted leaves or combine several colors to create your own. Rather than purchase another green shade, I took the two bright greens that I had and added a touch of black to deepen it.

(4) Before I began to paint my gift box, I practiced on a piece of scrap paper. This is a step you may not want to avoid, especially if you are mixing your own paint color. I also wanted to be sure that my paint wouldn't leak through the template because I only used a medium stock paper from which I punched the leaf shape. It worked well, although, I did need to let the template dry every now and again.

(5) I began to randomly paint leaves around each side of the box, as well as, (6) the lid. I was sure to paint a few of the leaves on the box corners. Before I could continue to paint more leaves on different sides of the box, I needed to let the paint dry. By allowing the paint to dry slightly, I didn't risk smudging and ruining my efforts.The entire box took me less than an half hour.


Painting a Corner Leaf

I was able to use the same leaf punch-out for the corners of my gift box. Once you've made sure that the template is dry, place it along a corner and hold down snugly. Rather than draw your paint brush over the template, blot with your brush instead. This will help prevent paint from seeping under the template.


Making a Leaf Gift Tag

This gift tag is very, very simple. Trace a leaf that you've collected from the outdoors onto a piece of cardstock paper and cut it out.

Another idea that would have been nice; Press a real leaf within the pages of a heavy book for a few days until dry.


Once I had finished painting the acorns and the box and making my gift tag, I was ready to assemble my package. I found a coordinating ribbon at my nearest arts store and tied it around the lid of the box. Then, using a glue gun, I fashioned the acorns on the top, securing them both on the box lid and the ribbon.

When I'd glued all the acorns on, tucked the gift tag under the ribbon and folded it slightly over the box.

Cast your vote for Molasses, Ginger Cookies

Molasses, Ginger Cookies:

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 12 min
Ready in: 32 min
Yields: Depending upon size: 3 dozen cookies
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/ 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced candy ginger
  • sugar for sprinkling
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cream shortening and sugar together firstI used a dark molassesIf all you have handy are whole spices, grind them in a mortar and pestle or a use a coffee bean grinder that's just for spices
Cream shortening and sugar together first
Cream shortening and sugar together first | Source
I used a dark molasses
I used a dark molasses | Source
If all you have handy are whole spices, grind them in a mortar and pestle or a use a coffee bean grinder that's just for spices
If all you have handy are whole spices, grind them in a mortar and pestle or a use a coffee bean grinder that's just for spices | Source
  1. Cream together the 1 cup of sugar and the shortening.
  2. Mix in remaining ingredients (except the sprinkling sugar).
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Heat oven to 375. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a well-floured counter (this dough, although refrigerated, is quite sticky).
  5. Using a sharp paring knife, cut leaf shapes into dough or use a leaf-shaped cookie cutter.
  6. Place cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet approximately an inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. There should be no indentation on the cookie when touched.
  8. Allow cookies to cool on wire rack before packaging.

The Faceted Flavors of Ginger

For this recipe, I've used three different kinds of ginger. Minced bits of candied ginger remain after the cookies have finished cooking and add a nice texture.

Fresh ginger has an element of heat to it, as does the ground ginger.

This is a spicy cookie that is delicious with a hot cup of black tea.

Whether you choose to create your own shaped cookies or use a cookie cutter, just be careful not to add too much flour to the dough as you roll it out.
Whether you choose to create your own shaped cookies or use a cookie cutter, just be careful not to add too much flour to the dough as you roll it out. | Source


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    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 4 years ago from New Hamphire

      After I made these colorful acorns, I was playing around with golf leaf...totally different look and very, very pretty. It's wonderful that you have little fingers to help you with these projects. So pleased that you foound me and that you liked this hub. Thanks you, also, for the Vote up.

    • KellyG05030 profile image

      Kelly 4 years ago from New England

      Another great hub that I've voted up! We have tons of acorns in the fall, and I've been thinking recently that I'd collect them this fall. Now we have the perfect craft - the kids and I are going to be busy!!!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      This is such a delightful and wonderful hub here. I have tons of acorns falling on the ground, and these are exceptionally great ideas for their use. Thanks for the recipe and I can smell those cookies now along with the cool, crisp Autumn air is great! You are awesome at crafting such beautiful items. The box is so very lovely and unique. Sharing. Voted up and awesome. Really got me in the mood for the beautiful Autumn season. God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fall just arrived here today; it's 46 and foggy, and I love it! :)

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 5 years ago from New Hamphire

      A BIG thank you, billybuc. Hope that you are well. Fall is certainly upon here in New England...I've begun nesting!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What great ideas and designs! passing this on to the crafty in my family...well done!