I love bringing elements of nature into our art projects. Somehow nature and art just go together, don’t they?
Matthew was excited when he saw that this art activity involved glitter. Mommy… not so excited (yes, even though I’m the one that thought it up). Glitter is so pretty. And so messy! Thankfully, Matthew is usually careful, and I don’t worry too much about our kitchen. We still have the old linoleum on the floor, and honestly the glitter improves it, if anything. 🙂 However, you could try doing this outside on a beautiful autumn day to lessen the messiness.
Supplies:You will need glue, a small saucer or something to pour the glue onto, foam paintbrush, glitter in autumn colors (we used gold, red, yellow-green, and orange), a tray or old pan to contain the glitter, a glass jar or vase, and pipecleaners in autumn colors. And, as usual, things I forgot to put in the picture: a piece of cardboard, a marker, scissors, and a hole punch.
Prep: cut the pipecleaners into 3 to 5 inch sections. Next, draw some leaves on the cardboard and cut them out. The back cover of a construction paper pad or notebook works well. You need something a bit heavier than ordinary cardstock. Obviously, you can see the leaves don’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to be an artist. 😉
Once the leaves are cut out, punch a hole in the base of each one, where the stem will eventually be.
Now for the fun part! Take your jar and go outside to hunt for pretty things to put in it. We used small pinecones and lots of acorns. We also snipped a couple of tips from pine tree branches.
Hunting for acorns.
Aren’t they gorgeous?
You’ll also need to find the perfect stick for your tree. Something that has a few branches on it and looks like it would make a good tree. I have to say, Matthew loved this outdoor hunt; this alone would be a fun activity for a toddler or preschooler, and would make a pretty table centerpiece all on its own.
Examining a stick to see if it will work.
Next, place your stick/tree in the jar and use the other items to help hold it upright. If you have trouble with this part you could use a piece of florist’s foam or some crumpled up newspaper in the bottom of your jar.
Doesn’t the jar look pretty all filled up?
Then paint each leaf with glue and sprinkle on the glitter! Just a note here – when I am tempted to get irritated by the mess he’s making, I try to look at the pure joy on his face while he’s “creating” and usually it’s enough to make me hold my tongue. I would hate to extinguish that light in his eyes!
Let them dry. If the paint was put on in a thin layer it should only take 15 minutes or so to dry.
String a pipe cleaner through the hole of each leaf and twist it to secure:
Then curl the other end of the pipe cleaner around a branch of your tree and position it the way you want. Despite how he loved the nature hunt, and loved the glitter part, Matthew said putting the leaves on the tree was his favorite part! He did a fabulous job!
Nature. With a little Bling. 🙂
If you do this with toddlers, you can help them with the glue, then put the leaves in a shoe box or plastic container. Attach the lid with a rubber band and have them shake it to “glitterize” their leaves. Toddlers would love the nature hunt, but might need help stringing the leaves onto the tree. Older children could draw and cut out the leaves themselves. There are a lot of elements to this project, but it went by fairly quickly. Not including the drying time, it took us less than an hour to complete.
Enjoy your autumn!!
Find more autumn activities and art projects at Nicole’s personal blog, Tired, Need Sleep.