From (Paper) Scraps To Treasures - Leaf Mobile Tutorial

12:29 PM

This past week, I worked on a card design and found myself with a lot of paper scraps left over. Rather than toss them, I set them over to the side of my art board because I already had a project in the back of my mind. And I might as well confess now...I hoard my paper scraps in a little green container over on the window sill near my table.

In truth, I have no reason to save paper scraps. I could start an art supply store with all the paper I have, but I find scraps handy for testing out ideas, paint colors, ink samples and the like. And I never know when I may want to make a tag or cover up a line that went on an unauthorized walkabout!

Sunday morning found me with some time to kill while waiting for Chris to get back from his errands. Because I am hearing (but not feeling) Autumn's siren call, I decided to use some of those scraps to indulge my leaf passion. (If you search the blog you'll find dozens of leaves in different styles.) 

In fact, it's getting to the time of year where it's dangerous for me to go outside...I've already collected a half-dozen acorns and several leaves. I don't seem to be able to go outside without picking up some small treasure!

The leaf below is the first one I painted and in the spur of the moment, I decided to cut it out. Because I wanted to emphasize the edges, I used a craft knife to mimic the edges I had drawn on the leaf itself.

I used Indian Yellow, Transparent Pyrrol Orange and Sap Green to create the colors of the changing season. 

The ink is from a brown Uniball Signo pen that I love for the softer impact it has than black. Black, sepia or gray would have worked fine as would pencil.

I then added a message on the back thinking I would add it into a card for a friend. I went back to my scrap and drew out two more leaves, added paint and then cut them out as well. As I played with my leaves and arranged them on the table, I suddenly had a new project idea to play with!
If you've been in a class with me lately, you know I've been obsessing over little painted banners and flags. They're popping up everywhere! In the image above, you can see the outline of one I used when I created the card I had been working on previously. Using a similar design, I made a larger one. I used the same colors to paint the banner that I used in the leaves.
After the banner dried, I cut it out and used an awl to punch holes in the banner and the leaves. I then added my text using the same pen I used to draw the leaves.
And viola! Adding brown thread, I had a very simple leaf mobile to entertain me with fall's fabulous colors.
It is currently hanging from the hutch above computer and the leaves flutter and turn when the fan comes on. Since it is still very much S.U.M.M.E.R. here in Florida, that's about every 15 minutes. However, I can pretend it's a cool autumn breeze whenever I look over at my leaf mobile and it makes me smile every time I do!

If you were inclined to make a leaf mobile, it could be infinitely scalable in size and the number of items you add. (Remember, odd numbers usually work best.) Apples, acorns, pumpkins, ears of corn, gourds, and more leaves could all be added either to a larger top banner or another hole could be added to the bottom of each item and another item added on. 

If you've painted your leaves on a sketchbook page but still want to try this idea, either scan or photograph them and then print them out on a thicker piece of cardstock. (Regular printer paper will likely curl.) Cut them out and string them up to a banner you've painted on a separate piece of paper. 

Save those scraps and make yourself a mobile. Hang it in a place where you'll see it often and enjoy Autumn's Delights!

Happy Fall, Y'all!!

140 lb. cold press watercolor paper • Uniball Signo Brown pen • watercolors • craft knife • cutting surface • brown thread • acid-free glue

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7 Creative Thought(s)

  1. This is so sweet. Isn't it funny how we that like the out of doors are drawn to these scraps of the summer garden. Lovely colorful leaves and acorns do make us feel well.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! Acorns and leaves are the best mood enhancers I know of...besides chocolate, that is!

  2. Cute--but how come Moby hasn't destroyed it yet?! It must be out of her reach...

    1. She made a couple of passes at it, but didn't bother it. Of course, I knew better than to leave it where she could get her grimy little paws on it when I wasn't around. Otherwise, it would have been chewed and torn!

  3. So pretty. We haven't had much fall yet either. Hopefully soon.

    1. You either? I'm surprised! I am pass ready, but it will be a good two more months before we see any serious change.

  4. ....your leaves are the best. Totally inspiring!! You made me go autumn and paint a pumpkin! :-)


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