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Use Things Found in Nature To Decorate for Holidays

Rubber stamps step aside! There is a new way to make a unique mark for an afternoon project, or to prep for the holidays.

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

Use pieces from nature to make prints, highlighting their special details to make a pattern. Before snow covers the ground, get out in your yard to collect leaves, seed heads and anything else that looks like it would make a fun print. Use these prints to decorate the fridge or take it a step further to make placemats for the Thanksgiving table or wrapping paper for gifts around the Christmas tree.


(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)
  • Leaves, seed heads or other items from nature

  • Paper plates

  • Paint

  • Paint brushes

  • Paper to print on

  • Water

  • Paper towels or a rag


1. Gather your nature materials. Flat leaves with strong veins make great prints. Take your leaves from the ground. If they are still attached to a tree, they are still working hard! Seed heads from purple coneflowers can be rolled to make a dot pattern. White pine needles can make a paint brush or a lined pattern.

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

2. Paint your nature subjects. Use one paper plate to squeeze out paint onto and another to lay your leaf on to paint. Paint one side of the leaf. Try to spread out the paint to all the cracks and corners. Less is more! Too much paint creates more of a blobby print.

3. Lay the leaf paint side down the paper. Use your fingers to apply pressure on all parts of the leaf. Smooth it out and make sure all parts got pressed onto the paper. Then remove to see your print!

4. Repeat with different leaves and different colors. Use the water and paper towels or a rag to clean off your brush with each new color. Don’t be afraid to mix colors! Maybe add yellow on one side of a leaf and red on the other.

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

5. Let your creation dry and then put to use! Decorate the house, set the table with your new placemats or wrap a gift. Let your imagination run wild!

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

Bonus challenge: See if you can make critters and scenes using your nature prints. We made a turkey and Christmas trees.


Follow Willy's Wilderness on Facebook for more kid-friendly nature stories and activities.

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