Arts & Events

Fall season opens up a diverse collection of crafting opportunities

With the rain setting in and dampening both toes and spirits, a well-decorated interior space is a necessary respite from the gloom. Luckily, brightening your home or dorm room is easily done with a bit of glue, construction paper and a DIY attitude.
Preserve the colors of fall by pressing leaves in old textbooks (or current ones you never read).
Place the leaves in between two pages near the middle of the book, or between two sheets of waxed paper under a stack of heavy objects, and leave to press for at least a week.
Pressed leaves can then be used on their own as wall décor or to spice up a card or letter.
String up pressed leaves to form a garland, mobile or wreath; add seasonal touches with acorns, twigs and a hot glue gun. A little glitter glue and some ribbons wouldn’t hurt, either.
Use leaves to make an impression in a flat square of modeling clay, which can then be painted and left to dry for a seasonal coaster.
Hand turkeys are a classic and easily personalized fall craft project. You remember from your elementary school days: trace your hand on construction paper and use it for the body of a turkey.
Now that you’ve graduated from elementary school, though, a hand turkey can be a masterpiece. Use real feathers, or even pressed leaves, instead of paper ones.
Dress your turkey in fabric scraps or give him texture with tissue paper; adorn him with googly eyes; give him legs made of twigs or pipe cleaners. A row of personalized hand turkeys make a perfect display for a living room or dorm room.
Gourds are bountiful in fall and lend themselves to a variety of DIY projects. For a gourd flower vase, select a dried hard-shell gourd with a stable base and a shape you like. Clean the gourd, then cut off the top with a pumpkin-carving saw and remove the guts and seeds, which should be dried into dusty pieces or a mass of pulp.
If the edge is rough or sharp, finish it down with sandpaper. Your gourd can then be varnished with mineral oil or shoe polish and a cotton cloth. To decorate the gourd, use water-based permanent markers, colored pencils, acrylic paints or even create a collage with magazine cuttings and Mod Podge.
For a simple flower vase, tie a ribbon around the neck of the gourd and fill with a bough of colorful leaves or other seasonal foliage.
The same gourd base can be used as a birdhouse as well. Simply cut a bird-sized hole in the cleaned and emptied gourd, drill a hole for a twig perch and suspend the gourd with string outdoors.
Add polish or paint, or leave it looking natural with a coat of waterproofing spray to protect from rot.
Make nature-inspired candle holders to brighten up your interior space and add refinement to your evenings.
Hot-glue strips of birch bark, pressed leaves or corn husks to the outside of a small glass jam jar or similar glass candle vase. Embellish with a string of raffia or a ribbon. Illuminate with a tea light or other small candle.
For the more advanced arts-and-craftster, the perfect centerpiece for the Thanksgiving season is a cornucopia, the horn of plenty.
You will need a wicker cornucopia base, available at most craft stores, three packages of raffia, about two yards of burlap, jute string and a hot glue gun.
Securely glue the burlap to the outside of the wicker base. Try to make a smooth surface, but any overlap or rough seams will be covered up by the raffia. Gather your raffia in a rope about three-fourths of an inch thick.
Tie the jute string on one end, then tie it around the rope of raffia at two-inch intervals. This will give your cornucopia texture.
Simply wrap the ropes of raffia and string around the wicker and burlap structure, hot-gluing as you go. Trim the edges and any stray strings of glue for a neat final product. Fill with fruit, miniature pumpkins or pinecones. (Idea taken from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2004.)
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