Looking for a quick and easy craft that you’ll actually be able to use afterwards? Try these super simple fall nature DIY bookmarks!
It should be no secret at this point that I try to get my kiddos outside as often as possible. With a baby who has an irregular nap schedule, some days are easier than others– but we try! It truly is amazing how little direction kids need to explore and play when surrounded by nature.
Something that my daughter loves to do is collect little bits of whatever she finds. Leaves, pinecones, worms (not my favorite), rocks… she has started many little collections on our walks. So naturally– no pun intended– we end up using them in many of our crafts, like the one today!
Everyone Needs Bookmarks!
Due to homeschooling, we now have like five different books that we’re working in at any given time. Our read-alouds, my instructor programs, Lu’s learning-to-read book, workbooks… yeah, it’s a lot. We don’t always get to all of them each day, but they are being actively used throughout the school year.
It’s pretty inconvenient to have to flip through to find what page we left off on each day, especially for the instructor programs. I kept making a mental note to make us some bookmarks, and lo and behold I finally remembered! They’ve definitely been helpful and make the homeschool day go a lot smoother!
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We had just picked out our favorite leaves and some dying mum buds around the yard. So I figured hey! that would look really pretty on a bookmark. And here we are. Here’s how you can make your own fall nature DIY bookmarks:
- Leaves, flower buds, herbs… anything that can be flattened
- Laminator– we seriously use ours ALL. THE. TIME. Here’s the one we use and love.
- Flower press OR 2 pieces of cardboard/paper bags and something heavy (like books)
- Glue and scissors
Fall Nature DIY Bookmarks
1. Gather the Natural Materials
Y’all already know this is our favorite part of every activity. It also happens to be a big part of our everyday life, and yet it never gets old! GET OUTSIDE and find some natural elements!
Right now it’s fall, and thus we have a fall themed bookmark. But this same craft can be done with natural items from any time of the year. Next summer I plan to press some of our other flowers in bloom throughout the season to save them for bookmarks and other crafts!
2. Press the Flowers/Leaves
In order to have a flat bookmark, the items you gathered need to be flattened out first. With flowers and leaves this is easy enough– just press them! If you don’t have your own flower press (we don’t), just use 2 pieces of cardboard or paper bags. We have a bunch of paper bags, so I decided to put them to good use.
Lay out one of the bags/cardboard pieces on the table. Place all the natural items on top and try to avoid having anything overlap. Then simply place the other bag/cardboard on top and stack some books on top! Anything that will put weight on the flowers to force them to flatten. The cardboard or paper bag is to absorb some of the moisture and help them to dry out.
3. Cut out the Bookmark Papers
Next we have to cut out the background paper for the bookmarks. You can use a colored paper, let your kids color on a white sheet, or leave it blank. It’s ok to use a regular piece of computer paper because the laminator sheets will make it sturdy enough! We sized our bookmarks to be 2” x 6”.
4. Glue the Nature Items Down and Cut off Excess
Once you have your bookmarks sized, gently glue down the items you found outside. As we did this I learned that it’s best to keep the items far enough away from the edges in order to keep them from pushing out when getting laminated. You could also fill it up and just cut the laminator paper wider so the flowers show in the clear part as well, though!
As you are gluing them down, you may have some extra pieces hanging off. I liked to have some of the flowers peeking from the side, so I simply cut the overhang off.
5. Laminate the Bookmarks, Leaving PLENTY of Room
This is important! Make sure you have PLENTY of space around the bookmark to laminate a secure edge. I did a few that were too close together to save space and they ended up being a waste anyway because the edges couldn’t seal. Since it’s not just paper and there will be texture from the flowers or leaves, it may not seal as close to the edge of the paper like usual.
Aside from that, just slip them through the laminator and cut them out! Your bookmarks are complete.
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We absolutely love our fall nature DIY bookmarks. Reading is already a favorite pastime in our house, and it’s that much more exciting with beautiful bookmarks to see when we open a book! And I feel so much more put-together planning a homeschool lesson and opening right up to the page we’re on.