There’s just something about autumn that’s pure…magic, isn’t there? This week we’re bringing fall to life indoors from the comfort of our warm, cozy craft table with the help of our free printable leaf activity kit. From mini nature shrines to DIY paper leaf stick puppets, we’re giving the kit a full fall workout!
For this particular project, we took a quick nature walk to gather a few extra sticks and supplies – a splendid time of year for a stroll outside! And fairies-in-training will love this part: a whisk of the wand welcomes fall with a soft thumping of acorns and tinkling of tiny bells.
In addition to being a calm afternoon activity, these leaf wands look fab sitting in a vase when not in use. They make a darn good (eco-friendly!) DIY Halloween costume accessory too. Adaptable craft bonus? By changing up the colors, you can use this as a spring or summer project too!
For a cute companion craft, make your own set of DIY fairy peg dolls – the perfect activity for a fairy party! Or for a different kind of noisemaker, try our easy kids’ rainbow ribbon noisemaker tutorial.
For your own autumn magic paper leaf wand you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- 1-3 sheets of cardstock or watercolor paper
- Watercolors, chalk, oil pastels, or other coloring supplies
- A glue stick
- A low-temp glue gun or craft glue
- Small bells or acorns for noise-making
- Our free printable leaf activity kit
- Leaves, twigs, acorns, or other natural supplies
- Paper scraps
- Cabochons, ribbon, feathers, or other decorative supplies
- Craft wire (we used 18 gauge)
How to Make a Paper Leaf Wand – DIY Instructions:
Print our free large leaf templates or draw your own leaves
Download our leaf activity kit and print the page of small leaf templates. You can also draw your own, or trace real leaves onto watercolor paper. Color and let dry if necessary (we used watercolors).
If you want to add hand-drawn embellishments (like veins) to your leaves, this is a perfect time!
Cut out your leaf templates and prepare your stick wand
Carefully cut out your leaves. Decorate, then gather into a small composition and use a glue stick to keep your bunch together.
Find a stick (our sticks were about 8 inches long). Wrap a piece of 18 gauge craft wire around the top of your stick 4 or 5 times, making a small loop at the top (this will give your leaf bunch a little bounce and works well for hold feathers, etc). Next, tie a couple of colorful ribbons around the stick.
Tip: Don’t have craft wire handy? Although it’s handy for holding feathers and threading bells, it’s not necessary – just skip it!
Use a glue gun to affix your leaf bunch to the stick wand
Once you’re finished decorating your stick, use a hot glue gun to affix your leaf bunch to the wire loop at the top. Be generous with the glue so your wand will stay together through vigorous wavings and magical spells!
Didn’t use wire? Just hot glue your leaf bundle right to the stick!
Tie small bells or acorns to your wand
With a whisk of your hand, you can create sound by tying tiny bells to a ribbon and threading through the wire. Or hot glue acorns to two sides of a small strip of ribbon. Add to the back of your leaf bunch with a small dot of glue in the middle of the ribbon. When you move the wand up and down they’ll thump together.
More ways to decorate your leaf wands
We kept our leaf bunches fairly simple, but there are so many lovely ways to decorate your wands! For more ways to work in different art mediums and nature items you can...
- Add veins to your leaves with white and black chalks or oil pastels.
- Add some real leaves to your bundle! After finishing these I found myself wishing I had grabbed a handful of brown oak leaves from the park – they would have added a nice natural fall touch and the perfect autumn leaf-rustling sound effect.
- Use a hole punch on real leaves to make leaf confetti you can scatter as you wave your wand!
- Use a stamp to make fun patterns on your leaves, or make them extra magical with a little biodegradable or salt glitter.
- I love filling these projects with sensory experiences, and coloring a few leaves with coffee would be a great way to work in smell. It’s one of my favorite unique painting supplies, and the color is perfect for autumn!
The wonderful thing about paper leaves is that they’ll last a little longer than just one season (and you can make your leaves the most fabulous colors – so much room for reimagining the season!).
For another way to celebrate fall leaves with your littles, make a gradient leaf banner. Or try a unique art process with our photocopied fall leaf collages!
Little fall fans of this kind of project might enjoy making mouse mail, or practicing counting and colors with this DIY super-soft felt tree and rainbow leaves.
For more fun outside, try our nature explorer printable activity book! Filled with pages of outdoor observation and exploration prompts, it’s perfect for hours of child-led, independent nature learning and play.
*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!