Leaf and Crayon Suncatchers

30 09 2008

I know everyone has seen and probably made at some point in their life the crayon shavings sun catchers. Well the wonderful staff at the arboretum added a twist by providing pressed leaves.  If you’re interested in making some of your own here are my hints and tips.

First you’ll need to go for a hike to collect leaves. Press them between sheets of wax or parchment paper in or under heavy books. Another alternative is under a cookie sheet piled with heavy pans. Leave for 1 day to 1 year.

Seth’s is on the left, Eleanor’s on the right. If you’re wondering what the little rectangles are toward the bottom of each sun catcher, they’re labels with the tree variety that the leaves came from. The goal, of course, was to get the kids to recognize the trees by the leaf shape. I wrote the tree names for them with pencil and wouldn’t recommend it as you can barely read them. Maybe just a sharpie right on the wax paper if I were to do it again.


  • Old crayons – I’m thinking it would be easier for little fingers to use blocks of crayons. Heck, it’d be easier on my big fingers too. Try melting a bunch of stubs or chunks into a muffin tin.
  • Old grater that you won’t be using for food again – I suggest box graters vs the flat one pictured here. They’re more stable.
  • Wax paper
  • Pressed Leaves – or you could put any paper cut out shapes here, the possibilities are endless. If you are doing this project in connection to a themed event add paper shapes representing that event – pumpkins or bats for example.
  • Iron
  • 2 sheets of aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch (optional)
  • Yarn or cording (optional)


  1. Take a piece of wax paper and fold in half
  2. Choose a leaf or leaves and place on one half of wax paper
  3. Grate crayons over the half of wax paper with the leaves. I was impressed by how well Seth was able to do this on his own. If it had been a box grater with large chunks of crayons he would have had no problems whatsoever. For those with younger ones you may need to grate some ahead and just let the child sprinkle it on. Note – it really doesn’t take much so easy does it.
  4. Fold the uncovered half of wax paper over the assembled side so that all of the crayon shavings and leaves are now covered by wax paper on both sides.
  5. For adults only of course – iron the wax paper between two sheets of tin foil. If you don’t use the tin foil you will get crayon residue on your iron. It doesn’t take long to seal the sheets together.
  6. Peal the tin foil back and let the sun catcher cool.
  7. Cut down the sheet to your desired shape
  8. Optional – punch one or two holes (Seth’s favorite part) near the top and tie on the yarn to hang in a window or around a proud little neck.




One response

1 10 2008
painted fish studio

we did a similar project as kids in the fall, and i still get inspired to do it when the leaves change.

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