Those pretty jewel colored leaves of the fall needn’t be raked up off the ground and disposed of for the grass to breathe. On the contrary, the leaves in better shape that have not yet completely dried up can actually be saved and preserved to make a pretty picture to be hung in a window. This is a great project for children and parents, especially on a fall weekend when there is nothing else to do. The items needed for this project are: tracing paper thin enough for light to shine through, cardboard frames, a glue designed especially for thin paper (check out your local hobby and craft store for this item), a pair of blunt edged scissors, and your leaf collection.
Start by measuring the cardboard frame. The paper should be big enough to fit the inside completely with no empty spaces. If you have the kind of frame that is made of two cardboard components, take advantage of this when you glue the transparent paper to the frame. Open the frame, and insert the paper, cutting away any excess. Glue the paper to the frame and allow the glue to dry. Once the glue is dry. arrange your leaves in the desired pattern. Use a variety of different colored leaves: red, yellow, orange, purple, and green. The green leaves will of course come from evergreen bushes. Once the leaves are in place, place the second piece of transparent paper over the leaves, then glue the edges to the other inside side of the cardboard frame. Allow it to dry, then close the frame. You can also secure the frame shut by adding a drop of glue at the very top corners where the frame opens. If the frame has only one cardboard side, create the transparency in reverse: after gluing the transparent paper to the back of the frame, making sure the paper edges are straight, then place the leaves against the paper with the front of the frame faced down on the table. After the leaves are in position, then place the second transparent paper on top of the leaves and glue in place on the frame at the edges.
Once the transparency is dry, you can iron the transparency, or place heavy books on it to help flatten the leaves inside. Then the transparency can be hung inside a window for decoration.
Make several different transparencies. Make distinct color combinations using leaves. Some ideas: purple, yellow, and green leaves; red, purple, and orange leaves. Below is a partial list of different colored leaves you can use in making these transparencies:
Red: Japanese maple, red maple
Orange: European beech, oak
Yellow: Gold Rush dawn redwood, elm
Green: hosta, mountain laurel, fern, rhododendron
Purple: King Crimson maple, forest pansy redbud, choke cherry
Experiment to see which leaves look best together. Leaf transparencies make great gifts to give to friends and family.