Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA

Crafting With Fall Leaves

Fall in the San Bernardino mountains

Read About Crafting With Fall Leaves

Crafting With Fall Leaves

November 7, 2018

By Paola Zarate

Un-be-leaf-able! Four Easy Fall Crafts Using Local Foliage

Fall in the San Bernardino mountains can be a mesmerizing experience. A short walk along our region's sprawling nature trails reveals a blanket of colorful leaves on the ground; some that stick to our boots, and some that satisfactorily crunch underfoot. In a beautiful array of yellows, reds, and browns - each fallen leaf tells an eternal story of a fleeting season. Indeed, the yearly shed is short. But, you don't have worry; these autumn treasures are abundant, and easy to save! Whether through an artwork, a craft, or a display - you can preserve your leaves for years to come. They can be used in decoupage, scrapbooking, floral arrangements, and more. Our favorite un-be-leaf-able crafts are the ones that are fun and easy for all ages!

Here are some craft ideas for the whole family, involving leaves and other foliage you might find on your next nature walk! Just remember, you should only collect leaves and foliage that has already fallen. Trying to pluck things like leaves, twigs, bark, or needles from a tree poses a danger to you and potentially damages the tree.

Bigleaf Maple Placemats

Embrace the size of these colorful giants (with leaves sometimes reaching 30 centimeters in length) by using a few leaves little bit of mod-podge to turn them into a stylish and easy placemat! The original tutorial calls for several small leaves, and you can certainly use some of the smaller maple leaves you might find on our trails, but we think that a few bigleaf maple leaves make for a placemat that's simply stunning.

Native American Pine Needle Basket

While walking through the forest, you'll probably see that along with regular leaves, the ground is also blanketed with a thick layer of pine needles. Look closer, and you'll see that some of them are rather long - the needles of the pacific ponderosa pine reaching up to 7.8 inches long! Indigenous peoples used these long pine needles to weave beautiful coil baskets. This project uses long pine needles to make a simple coil basket. It can be modified to accommodate shorter needles, but will take a little more time.

Oak Leaf Wreath

As you walk further, you'll probably found lots of fallen oak leaves. The California black oak produces the toothy, brown fallen leaves that many associate with oak trees during the fall. This wreath uses oak leaves, but you can diversify your leaves and use any combination of oak, maple, and maybe even some pine needles if you're feeling creative! Using oak leaves alone, though, really makes for a beautiful and uniform creation.

Pine Cone Garland

Alright, it's not a leaf, but it's one of the hallmarks of fall nonetheless, and makes for some beautiful crafting! During the fall and winter, you will likely find an abundance of pine cones on the forest floor. Pine cones are wonderful for crafting everything from centerpieces to potpourri. This tutorial teaches you how to make a simple, beautiful pine cone garland that you can hang from your wall, door, or fireplace for a touch of nature from the start of fall to the dead of winter.

We hope that these ideas helped spark your creativity and inspire you to experience the beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains and its picturesque forests. Remember to savor the season, and stay safe while collecting your fall treasures!

About the author

Paola Zarate

Paola Zarate

Paola Zarate traded in her hometown in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Arrowbear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California several years ago. She now attends college and is pursing a teaching career.

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