Tribute to the bounty of falling leaves offers a nice break after the saturation of Halloween! I like these crafts because they are usually preceded by a leisurely neighborhood stroll to collect what we need, exclaiming over contrasts in beauty, size, shape, texture, and color of our specimens. It's an art and nature learning experience all in one!
Night falls early now, and the ethereal glow of a flickering tea light within the confines of a leaf strewn lantern is a comforting delight - especially when you're three years young and have built it yourself!
This technique is ages old. I've also seen balloon-based lanterns constructed with orange tissue paper, jack-o-lantern faces painted on, shining soft and light. Those, next year, for sure!
Here's how you'll make this pretty lantern alongside your little crafty person!
1. Blow up a 9" balloon and tape it into a small bowl. If bowl is lightweight, put something heavy inside first, to stabilize it. Rocks, for example.
2. Recruit your cutest artsy munchkin to turn over his/her recently gathered leaf collection. (Pressed inside a heavy book overnight before if possible.) Sort for size.
3. Cut 3" squares of white (or ivory) tissue paper.
4. Dip first layer of squares in water and cover balloon with them.
5. Add craft glue (Elmer's, for example) to 1/4 cup of water, about 50% ratio.
6. Lay leaves, face up, on balloon surface as you work, and cover all over with tissue paper squares dipped in water-glue solution.
7. Cover with third layer of tissue dipped in glue solution.
Now! for the THE HARD PART! (ohhhh nooooo! you told us to only do projects that offer immediate satisfaction for little kids!) 😞
Well, yes, I did say that! but this one's an exception!
(kinda like how bedtime sloooooowly creeps forward when grandma's babysitting and kids are having waaaay too much fun and thank goodness they're too young to tell time and besides who would tattle on good ol' grandma anyway?!)😉
8. Allow lantern to dry for several days in a cool, dry place. Then.......
9. FUN TIMES ARE BACK! Separate balloon from bowl and supervise a needle pop to break it. Carefully extract balloon, then place tea light inside with your choice of opening up or down.
😒"Thank you, grandma, but really can't wait for all this "several days to dry" nonsense!
There! That's better! Happy now?