A Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

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Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

We made a Thanksgiving leaf garland today! Maia and I worked on it together, writing things we were thankful for on the leaves as well as designs and pictures.

This is something I've wanted to do ever since Sarah at Quince and Quire posted about her beautiful hand-painted leaves last fall. And then Cassi posted her list of crafts to instill thankfulness in children this past week which further inspired me. For this garland, I put a couple ideas together, namely Sarah's leaves and Playful Learning's grateful tree with something that we could hang on the wall.

I love it! And it was even more fun to make than I expected.

Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

Maia and I started with fall leaves we had pressed, Sharpie metallic pens, and poster board to protect the table. We wrote what we were thankful for — family, light, friends, love, chocolate, birthdays, etc. — on some of the leaves, traced veins on some others, and just decorated the rest. Maia and I both loved this and spent over an hour drawing and writing.

Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

The leaf makes a great fall canvas…

Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

Afterward, I used my hot glue gun to glue the stems of the leaves to some black satin ribbon. Have I mentioned that I love my glue gun? I love my glue gun. It seems to make the impossible possible. I briefly thought about sewing the leaves on but pictured leaves and stems crumbling around the sewing machine. Not a pretty site after all this work. So glue gun it was.

Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

And here are the finished garlands. I love how they look against the pale blue walls in the living room.

Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

I think this one may be a keeper. I can imagine looking forward to doing this every year with my family.

Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

Aren't they beautiful?

Thanksgiving Leaf Banner

They look nice in the window, too, with the light shining through.

How about you? Do you have any family thankfulness traditions? I'm looking for more ideas to incorporate into our family life, both for Thanksgiving and in general.

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Comments

  1. Barbara Zaborowski says

    Since we’re a little short of fall leaves here in Phoenix (temperature still in the 90′s), my preschool class makes a gratitude chain. They cut strips of fall-colored paper (lines already there) and tell us something they’re thankful for for each one. We write on the strip and they add it to the chain. They love the straight line cutting (because it’s easy enough for most of them to feel very successful) and the stapling. The thinking of something they’re thankful for–not so much. It takes a lot of explaining what “thankful” means or we get 600 versions of “Christmas presents” (something you say “thank you” for.) Our chain eventually is carried by the line of kids to our fellowship hall and becomes the centerpiece of our “table” for the school’s Thanksgiving feast.

  2. says

    Really beautiful but I hesitate — we have had bad experiences lately with both Sharpie (Henry) and hot glue (me). Maybe for next year when my boy is a year older and I am less sleep deprived! :)

  3. says

    That is so beautiful, Jean!! I have also been gathering ideas for thankfulness projects, but haven’t quite chosen yet. This makes me just want to get going and choose!

  4. says

    Beautiful… the girls are going to love it! What a wonderful way to express gratitude and bring the colors of the season into your home :-)

  5. says

    i loooove this and am going to go hunting for proper leaves on our island today. not sure if we’ll find anything workable. but, i’ll be sure to post back to you if we do this succesfully! thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas always… : )

  6. Monique says

    LOVE!! Artful, meaningful, and gorgeous all at once, thanks for sharing, we are going out right now to collect leaves for this!
    PS Have you considered sewing an Advent calendar? I have been searching the web for ideas, and found a current sew-along with felt that I might do but wondering if I can use freezer paper stencils instead of embroidery on felt? BUT I prefer to wait until the Artful Parent tells me what to do, you have impeccable taste and I love everything you do. ;) Your idea from last year is my back-up plan, but I want something more permanent. Just wanted to plant the seed… :)

  7. [email protected] says

    This is great! Thanks for the inspiration! I want to do this. Time to press some leaves!

  8. says

    I am loving your website. It’s fantastic! I’ll be coming back for some more great ideas, thanks. I just wish I had thought of this one. We collected lots of leaves but didn’t get anything made with them. They just sat around shriveling up.

  9. says

    Monique – I have considered sewing an Advent calendar, but I’m afraid it’s not on the must-do list for this year. Perhaps next! I haven’t tried freezer paper stencils or fabric paint on felt, but imagine it would work okay. Let me know if you try it!

  10. Suzie says

    Just beautiful! We don’t have “Thanksgiving” in Australia but what a lovely holiday – nice to have an opportunity to stop and take count of your blessings! My kids are a little young yet (still trying to get them to remember to say ‘thank-you’!) but will put this in the project diary for next year! (Just a word of ‘thanks’ from me – absolutely love your site and blog. Look forward to your messages every day! I have 2.5 year old boy/girl twins and a 9 month year old boy and am enjoying all their art activities. Also thinking of setting up a toddler art group – just trying to find a venue – not sure i’ll be able to cope if it’s here!. Absoltely fascinated by how my kids do things and what they come up – even at this age – and how different their individual styles and preferences are. In terms of drawing and painting, my son loves big expansive drawings that fill the page and my daughter hones in on one little bit. Be interesting to see how this changes over time – if it does – and how it reflects their personalities. Anyway, will write again with some specific questions re. the toddler art group, but just wanted to say hi and ‘thanks’!)

  11. says

    Oh what a lovely idea! My daughter adores collecting all of the leaves around our place…this would be an excellent way to do something with them other than collecting them in the bag. :)
    (No traditions to share – sadly we are still working on this)

  12. Halley's Mommy says

    Did you have to do anything to preserve the color in the leaves? I seem to remember if you soak leaves in some sort of solution (cannot recall) before pressing them, they keep their color for years.

  13. says

    I seen this post some time last year, after it was too late. I can’t wait to do it this year though! I’ve added it to our autumn bucket list, which I plan on blogging about later today and linking back to you. Thank you so much for sharing this. This is seriously one of the best ideas ever!

  14. says

    I’m writing because I run a sensory site and am looking for great ideas for Thanksgiving. And as any parent, we’re looking for terrific Thanksgiving crafts and ideas for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder and on the Autism Spectrum. Would you add a link to a craft idea or two on our blog? Here’s the link to share and get more traffic to your site…
    http://thesensoryspectrumblog.com/2012/11/04/calling-all-bloggers-fun-family-thanksgiving-crafts-ideas-wanted/

  15. Sarah says

    I live in Abu Dhabi now, so there are no fall leaves to be found, but we are going to do this with paper. I think they will love it! Thanks! We need a little pick up this time of year being away from family and friends.