When I was first introduced to Waldorf education, perhaps one of my most favorite crafts was the wet-on-wet watercolor painting. I remember visiting the classrooms of older children as they blended these vibrant colors together to make a dream like painting come to life.
When my own children reached the age of being able to take brush to paper, this was of course the method we chose. Of course, as the years have gone on and the love has not faded, it has left us with stacks and stacks of the children’s paintings.
Watercolor paper is a perfect weight for so many crafts, and the beautiful and dreamy colors of yellow, orange, red and gold combine for an endless opportunity for crafting goodness. No season would be complete in our house without a few watercolor crafts to add to the walls or the nature table, and this year we took one template, and created three unique crafts with it.
All of the watercolor crafts in the following tutorials are made from a single template. We found our inspiration from the leaves that fall all around our yard this time of year, turning golden and crimson as the season progresses. We simply drew a leaf template onto a thick piece of photo paper, and then traced it onto our watercolor paper. Before we began we cut about 60 leaves to use both with these crafts, as well as for decorating throughout all of autumn. If you would prefer to use a premade template, there are hundreds to be found on the internet.
Watercolor paper that has been painted on in the colors for autumn and cut into leaf shapes
Heavy duty cardboard for the wreath frame
Mod Podge for paper or standard glue
Begin by cutting your wreath frame from heavy duty cardboard. We used a bowl to trace the outer edge of the frame, and then made a second circle 1″ inside of the first. Cut around the inside circle.
Using a sponge brush and decoupage medium, paint small sections of glue onto the wreath as you gently place the leaves, being sure to press for a few seconds to secure. With each new leaf, overlap a small amount of glue.
Once completed, allow your wreath to dry, and then press with a heavy book if it is in need of being flattened out.
Hang from a chair, a branch or on a door and enjoy all season long.
Autumn Gratitude Garland
Fine tip marker
Garlands are a holiday favorite, no matter what season, and using paper allows us to not only have a sturdy garland that will be enjoyed for years to come, but it is also a great way to write our gratitude for one another and hang it for all to reflect upon.
At the end of any major sewing project, before I throw away my needle, the boys and I sew on paper. Hand stitched journals and envelopes are always a great way to use paper sewing, but paper leaves come together to form a long, golden garland when sewn together.
Give each member of your family a few paper leaves in which to write a small note of thanks, or express their gratitude. Gather them together and take to your sewing machine.
To stitch your leaves together, simply begin at the end of one leaf, back stitch as you would normally, and as you reach the end of one leaf, leave your needle in the paper, raise your presser foot, and overlap with the next leaf. Continue on this way until all of your leaves, and gratitudes are stitched together.
Hang your garland on a wall, over a mantle, in a door frame, or along a branch.
Appliqued Watercolor Journal Covers
As I mentioned, we love sewing paper journals and sketch books, and watercolor paper is one of the best ways to do just that. Many of my children’s paintings have ended up as journal covers, as they make for such a sweet way to keep art, writings, and musings for many years to come.
Fold the journal cover in half, and measure the blank paper. Fold the paper in half and place inside the cover. If there is excess along the edges, or for a decorative look, trim the watercolor paper with pinking shears.
Using your sewing machine, attach your leaves in a decorative pattern as you would for fabric applique.
Open the journal and stitch along the inner seam to attach the paper and create a book bind.
Children love to paint, from an early age on, and creating not only the space to do so, but a way to display and enjoy their art for years to come will be a cherished gift they will treasure forever.
To learn more about how to create wet-on-wet watercolor painting, please visit this tutorial by ROTH contributor Jennifer Tan.
Heather Fontenot, co-editor and publisher of Rhythm of The Home, lives with her family on the Front Range of Northern Colorado. As a writer, doula, and yoga teacher, Heather has a passion for natural and creative living, and spends as much of her time outdoors as possible. She loves to knit, sew, garden, photograph, read and cook for her three sweet little ones. She writes the blog Shivaya Naturals, where she chronicles her life as a mother, artist, and gluten-free baker. Heather’s first book, Naturally Fun Parties for Kids was released in March of 2012. She is currently hard at work on her second book for Rhythm of the Home.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.