Our Thanksgiving table is a pretty simple affair. It’s generally adorned with foliage scavenged from the remainder of greenery and colorful leaves in our yard. We were a little behind in collecting the more colorful leaves this year, so my daughter and I decided to create some pressed clay leaves to decorate our table. This simple DIY is a great way to connect with nature as the season changes, and to me, reminds us that warmth and beauty will once again return. How we bring warmth and love to our tables during this chilly season challenges the creative parts of ourselves and is a great, and necessary, way for us to bring comfort to our homes and hearts.
Click through for our clay leaf DIY and a second fabric DIY that can add some warmth and style to your Thanksgiving table and your home throughout the winter season. We’ll be sharing more Thanksgiving DIYs here! –Caitlin
Pressed Clay Leaves
- Air-dry clay
- Craft knife
- Waverly Inspirations Craft Paint (Maize)
- Waverly Inspirations Craft Paint (Ink)
1. Break off a small lump of air-dry clay and roll out flat and thin. The thinner you can roll your clay the more delicate and lifelike the leaves will look. Be careful not to roll it too thin, though, or your imprint will go right through the clay.
2. Lay the leaf over the clay facing upwards. Keep all of the edges within the area of the clay.
3. Use your roller to gently press the leaf down into the clay evenly, then peel back the leaf to reveal the pattern and shape it has left.
4. Cut around the edge of the shape using the craft knife. Try to do this as smoothly as possible and be careful not to rest your hand on the pattern and destroy it.
5. Lift the clay carefully and place into a bowl. This will give the leaf natural and gradual curves at its edges. Leave here to dry overnight. To make sure the clay is 100% hardened, remove the leaf from the inside of the bowl, turn both the leaf and the bowl over and place the clay onto the bottom of the bowl. This means the underneath of the clay leaf can dry fully while keeping its shape.
6. Once the clay is dry, you can paint the leaves to bring some color to your table. Leave each layer to fully dry before adding the next. We’ll be using our pressed clay leaves to hold real tea lights on our table. (The paint is not flammable, but you can use battery-operated candles if that’s more comfortable for you.) We’ll also be using them throughout our house with battery-operated tea lights for a seasonal touch.
We go through a ton of matches in our house, mostly for candles, but we just had our fireplace/chimney repaired and converted into a wood stove heating source that will heat the whole house. We saved for quite sometime, knowing that the wood stove insert would be way more efficient than simply repairing the fireplace and using it as a primarily decorative heat source. I love the beautiful decorative matchbox designs that are available, but they aren’t in my budget, so I decided to make my own.
Here’s a quick and easy way to spend an afternoon customizing your own matchbooks and boxes. They’re perfect for keeping next to a candle on the coffee table or nearby your dining table for celebrations like Thanksgiving.
- Fabric (We used seasonal textiles from the Waverly Inspirations collection)
- Matches in a sturdy cardboard box