No need for fancy fabrics or pristine paint brushes – the materials for your next art project can be found in your own backyard. Try these nature-inspired crafts these holidays!

Make a flower crown
Measure crown size by wrapping stem wire around your head, with half an inch of extra space. Twist ends together to secure or use tape. First, wrap wire with greenery (vines are best) until covered, then get creative with florals. Use two-inch pieces of wire to secure the stems of your flowers to your crown, trimming leaves where necessary to expose more stem. Ensure your flowers face outwards and secure with tape where needed. And here’s a tip. To make your flower crown last as long as possible, ensure your flowers are properly hydrated by trimming an inch off the bottom and soaking them in water for at least an hour before you begin.

Make a leaf garland
Collect fallen leaves – large or small – from your garden, local park or playground. Using a thread and twine, pierce each leaf and thread the twine through the hole, repeating with each leaf. Soon enough, you will have a garland made entirely of leaves. Decorate them with paint or pens, or leave them bare for a natural look.

Press flowers (in your microwave!)
Collect old flowers from the ground outside or use decorative flowers that are about to die – flowers that lay flat and have thin petals are best. You will also need one or two firebricks (the kind used for outdoor ovens) and two sheets of fabric. Place a brick in your microwave, then place the fabric on top – if your microwave is small, don’t worry about the bottom brick and place the fabric straight onto your microwave plate. Position your flowers on top of the fabric, then cover with a second piece of fabric. Place your second brick on top and microwave for one to two minutes depending on the size of the flower. Then remove the top brick and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. You should have dry, paper-thin flowers that have retained their bright colour. Otherwise, inserting your flowers into a thick book, with flowers laid between two sheets of greaseproof paper, will also do the trick – you’ll just have to wait longer for a result.

Create leaf bowls
Pick up some air-drying clay from your local craft supplier and some large fallen leaves, then get to work. Tear off a piece of clay and use a rolling pin to flatten it – it shouldn’t be too thin, about 1-2cm thick. Press your leaf into the clay, ensuring it has left a pattern when you pull it away from the clay. Using a clay knife or standard kitchen knife, cut off the excess clay around the pattern. Gently turn up the edges to form a shallow bowl, then leave the clay to air dry for the recommended time. Paint in your choice of colours when dry.

Nature’s painting tools
Don’t forget that sticks, leaves, flowers, bark and more make interesting painting tools. Kids will get a kick out of creating a painted artwork using these different types of ‘natural’ paintbrushes. They’ll only be limited by their imaginations. Using flowers as stamps is also a creative way to apply paint and you’ll get interesting textures from stamping with bark.



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