By Amy Christie.
Fall has arrived — and a new season of cooking! I feel like every time I open a magazine or check a favorite website, people are planning autumn dinner parties. So I thought it would be fun to come up with a knock-your-socks-off hostess gift for those of you with dinner plans on the calendar. I love how they turned out! I think I might need to adapt them into Christmas ornaments.
The changing leaves are one of my favorite parts about fall. I love the gradient colors and have collected a couple of trees worth over the years. But they don’t last! Sigh. They lose a bit of the color. They dry out. They crack and crumble and I’m left with a pile to clean up. Using a bit of plaster, some paint and inks, I figured out a way to make them a little more durable. And entirely perfect for a beautiful setting a fall table.
-plaster mix – I used Plaster of Paris
-molds, handmade or found
-low grit sandpaper
-alcohol inks – I used Ranger Inks
If you are unable to find a mold size you like, you can make one using aluminum foil.
Press and fold the foil tightly around your chosen object. Make sure the top edge is fanned out so it’s not in the way while the plaster is poured.
There are so many kinds of leaves to choose from. Chose leaves that are still flexible and supple. Dry, crackly ones will get stuck in the plaster. I plucked my itty bitties right off the tree.
With the molds and leaves ready, prepare the plaster as directed by the package directions. **Do recheck that you have everything you need because the plaster has a short window of work time before it dries and is unworkable.
Pour into molds. Quickly but gently, tap each to remove air bubbles.
**If there is excess plaster mixed, do not wash it down the drain because it could cause major plumbing issues. Instead, allow it to dry in the mixing container and then crumble and scrape it into the garbage.
Still working quickly before the plaster sets, place the leaves on the wet plaster, making sure to press and smooth out each and every one to avoid air pockets and unprinted areas. Allow to dry.
Once it is dry, gently peel away the mold or aluminum foil.
Remove the leaves.
If necessary, use low grit sandpaper to smooth the edges and a damp cloth to soften the edges. I used a baby wipe and it was perfect!
Once the edges are clean and smooth, allow to thoroughly dry, the length of which will depend on the thickness of the plaster. Even if they appear dry, if they are cool to the touch, they are still drying.
When dry, coat with acrylic paint.
When the paint has dried, add a drop or two of alcohol ink on the leaf imprint.
The alcohol inks will dry rapidly and darken in color. Once dried, top with a clear coat.
To make them napkin rings, choose a coordinated ribbon.
Hot glue into place.
Tie around napkins for a lovely accent in a fall tablescape.
THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:
- A Thanksgiving hostess gift
- A house warming gift
- A wedding gift — given with the linens they registered for
P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.