Simple Leaf Art | Day 2: Made by Hand

Wondering what to give your nature loving friend for Christmas this year?  A quick and easy alternative to painting a canvas is to create a simple art canvases with literal pieces of nature’s art.  For this project, I had some fern cuttings from trimming my hanging baskets and woodland gardens this fall, but any flat leaf will work!  Evergreens like rhododendrons can look really beautiful on canvases.  Take a look around outside and see what might work and then break out the canvas and hairspray!

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I tried a multitude of techniques to create these fern canvases, and had a huge number of failures, including a paraffin wax debacle, but the solution ended up being the simplest method. (Isn't that usually the case?) I let the leaves and the beauty of the canvas shine and ended up with a product I was finally happy with!
Supplies to make your own fern canvas wall art:
*all supplies provide by Consumer Crafts and Crafts Unleashed
Before you use any products on your canvases, lay out the leaves to experiment with placement. Start with a few clumps (above) and then start filling in the negative space with single leaves.
Once your leaves are arranged, place books with a plastic or leather coating on top of the fern to weight it down. Books with paper covers might cause sticking when you pull them up, so stick to plastic!
I attached the leaves directly to the canvas once they were pressed. Use a spray adhesive (or hairspray!) directly on the canvas, lay the pressed leaf on top and then immediately spray more adhesive to coat the leaf entirely. Once the leaves have dried, spray with a finishing spray to protect the finish. I added in a few ferny-leaved Japanese Maple stems to add interest and variety to the canvases at this point because they were looking a little bare.
Once the canvases are completely dry, hang and enjoy your little piece of nature indoors!
Now to save you some crafting heartache, here are the lessons I learned over a week of dealing with these fern canvases!
1. Don't underestimate the amount of canvases you need. I need three more to fill this space!
2. Make sure you have enough foliage. I originally planned on doing spore prints on all the canvases, but ran out of ferns!
3. Don't lift the books too soon! Allow a good 24+ hours for the leaves to press flat.
4. Don't lift the books too late! If the leaves get too dry, they will be too brittle and will break when you try to spray them.
5. Hairspray works too! Use hairspray as a base and cover coat to save a few pennies!
6. Press the leaves indoors and feel free to spray outdoors, but NOT on a windy day! The leaves will go EVERYWHERE!
Now get out there and start collecting your own little piece of nature!

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Did you miss a day in the series?  No biggie!  Just click on the photos below!

DAY 1 | Microwave Soaps              DAY 2 | Fern Canvases           DAY 3 | Crafty Jars           DAY 4 | Luminaries          DAY 5 | DIY Snowglobe tips lavender soap 2 christmas_thumb[3]ferns smalljars smallluminarie smallsnowglobe small


I like your fern art and they look great hung there, thanks for posting your tips and tricks too!