Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Bookmaking Collage Nature Theory and Resources

Leafy Critter Books

Diana MacKenzie

I’m pinning up a storm over on The Carle’s Pinterest boards getting ready for my nature workshop this Sunday. My favorite board to pin to, Bridging Art and Nature, is a growing archive of inspiring ways to experiment with, appreciate and observe nature together at home or with students in an artistic way.

One of the popular ideas I see floating around Pinterest right now is using fall foliage to create little leafy critters. Here are a couple of my favorite, most inspiring versions.  

kokokoKIDS: Fall Leaves Craft Ideas

Leaf Critters via Little Emma English Home Blog

Leaf Alphabet via Martha via Apartment Therapy

At the end of the summer this year we did our own version of this activity with leaves and flowers collected from The Carle’s grounds and a nearby farm.  We pressed them for a few days between sheets of tracing paper and corrugated cardboard under the weight of heavy books.

Students selected which leaves and flowers they wanted from the trays and used Aleene’s Tacky Glue to attach them to pieces of white mat board.

When the covers were completely dry, we made enough photocopies of each child’s image so everyone would get to take home a book full of everyone’s critters.  The next day we helped the students bind their books with the Stick-and-Rubber Band binding method.  We used a 2-hole punch, sticks collected and trimmed, and rubber bands to bind the books.

If you don’t have the time to press leaves ahead of time, we’ve also created natural book covers with non-pressed leaves and flowers, and the outcomes were just as beautiful.

Let us know if you give this project a try or design your own version!


Diana, smiling wearing an orange scarf and brown shirt.

Diana MacKenzie

Public Art Program Educator from 2007-2016, Diana has a BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University and creates mixed-media works inspired by her travels, combining her interests in printmaking and sculpture. She received her M.A.T. from Mount Holyoke College in June 2017, and continues teaching visual arts to children and adults.