The next time you're thinking about heading out to the craft store to find a new creative project, take a short trip to the back yard to explore potential nature crafts. Many crafts can be enhanced with natural materials, from twigs for making mini-fences and birdhouses to leaf templates for your next tee shirt design experiment. If you think about it, those beads and silk flowers you see in the craft outlets are substitutes for the real thing. Learning to work with nature, rather than imitate it, can make for some unique and satisfying objet d'art.
Easy Ideas for Nature Crafts
With nature as your supply store, there is quite a bit of ground to cover. Consider the opportunities close to home for natural crafts.
If you have a pine tree on your property, you'll have a regular supply of pinecones to make wreaths, air fresheners, and animal sculptures. You can even wire them for rustic Christmas tree ornaments. Just be sure to prep your pinecones and other found objects to make them project ready. To make sure you don't accidentally invite freeloaders into your home, bake your pinecones in a 200 Degree F oven for an hour or so. This will kill bugs and dry up any lingering sap.
Acorns and Seeds
Don't stop with pinecones. Nature is full of seeds, leaves, bark, stones and twigs that can add color and texture to your projects. With a glue gun and some glitter, these small treasures can help create wonderful memories for you and your children. Try covering a small wooden craft box, available at any craft supply store, with found garden treasures like acorns. The process will make memories and the box itself can be an attractive addition to your child's room or a craftsman cottage.
Grow or Weave Your Own Crafts
If you're feeling more ambitious, you can use home grown gourds to make tabletop bowls and birdhouses, native vines to weave baskets, or dried herbs and vegetables create fall wreaths that you can use in your seasonal decor.
Pound Some Flowers
Want to add some natural dyes to your tees? Try pounding wildflowers. For this technique, you'll need some brightly colored flowers, a piece of fabric, some cellophane, and a smooth mallet or hammer. Layer the fabric, flowers and cellophane. Then, pound the colored flowers into the fabric until you have the color intensity and design you want. The color from the flower "juice" probably won't withstand washing, but while it lasts, it'll be a one-of-a- kind creation.
Add Aroma to Your Crafts
You can purchase essential oils, like lavender or rose geranium, and add them to natural crafts using dried flowers, like pussy willows or cattails, or include them in homemade potpourri. Your nature crafts will look nice and smell nice too. Essential oils have soothing benefits that you can add to homemade bath salts, candles, and sachets. You can even make your own toilet water using the flowers in your yard. It won't be as strong as essential flower oils, but it will be your own one-of-a-kind creation.
Beyond Your Backyard
You aren't limited to your backyard for materials to create nature crafts. Although it may be illegal to remove objects from public parks, you can still collect sea glass and shells for your creations when you visit the seashore or make a set of stepping stones using rocks from your favorite pond or river.
Getting Ready for Summer
Spring is a great time to start planning your summer nature craft projects. Natural crafts can be as complex or simple as you want. A glue gun and some craft wire are all you really need to get started!