Create Country Homes & Interiors’ easy-to-make nature-inspired coasters/table decorations from real leaves and air-drying clay
Air-drying clay is wonderful stuff for home crafters because it does not require a kiln. However, as the material dries in the open air, use only a little piece at a time and always keep it in an airtight container or a self-sealing plastic bag with the air squeezed out.
How to do it 1 Choose some clean dry leaves to make impressions in the clay. Look for pretty shapes and choose fairly large leaves if you are making coasters.
2 Working quickly, roll out enough air-drying clay for two leaf shapes at a time (remember to keep the remainder in an airtight container) and press each leaf into the clay gently, but firmly enough for the veins and edges to register. Peel off and discard the leaves then carefully cut round the shapes using a craft knife.
3 To replicate a natural leaf shape with curled edges (see photograph) place each clay leaf inside a small bowl, gently pressing so it moulds to the curved shape of the bowl, and leave in place until completely dry.
4 Remove the clay leaves from the bowls and wash over with diluted green watercolour paint for a natural look. Allow the paint to dry.
Other ideas Copy this simple method using smaller leaves and you can scatter them over a tablecloth for a party look, or glue one or two onto a plain photograph frame or similar for a decorative effect. For hanging decorations, make a small hole in each leaf before it dries and thread the finished leaf with ribbon, raffia or coloured twine. Clay leaves of any size look pretty painted in any shade of green, but you could also use shades of brown, bronze or orange for an autumn-in-the-country feel or try bright colours or metallics for a modern rustic touch.
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