5 Craft Projects Using Things From Your Yard


Nature-Inspired Placemats

With the right supplies and a little time, you can create your very own nature-inspired placemats.
With the right supplies and a little time, you can create your very own nature-inspired placemats.
iStockphoto/pamela burley

Whether you're looking to dress up a casual dinner party or you want a craft project for the entire family to enjoy, you'll find this project practical and fun. Making nature-inspired placemats can be a great way to show off your nature-inspired craft skills.

To get started, venture outside with your family and spend an hour or so gathering leaves, flower petals, and other items from nature that can lay flat. Once you and your family have found a surplus of items, follow these simple steps to create a craft you can enjoy at the dinner table for years to come:

  1. Peel the wrappers off old, broken crayons. You can tear the wrappers into pieces to use them in the placemat as well.
  2. Place the crayons in a plastic bag, and using a small hammer or mallet, crush the crayons.
  3. Using an existing placemat, trace and cut several sheets of wax paper to the size of the original placemat. (You'll need two sheets of wax paper for each new placemat you're making.)
  4. Give each family member two placemat-size rectangles of wax paper, and have everyone arrange crayon crumbs, nature items and the wrapper bits as they want on the waxy side of one of the pieces of wax paper.
  5. Place the other piece of wax paper, waxy side down so it's facing the first piece of wax paper, on top of the creation.
  6. Pull out your ironing board and iron, and set your iron to a low or warm setting.
  7. Sandwich the wax paper between two pieces of blank newsprint or white craft paper, and iron the packet for two to three minutes.
  8. The crayons should melt, and the wax paper should laminate itself together [source: Nick Jr].

If you enjoy putting your family's artwork on display, this nature placemat craft is perfect for you. And perhaps your children will enjoy eating on their own handmade placemats so much that they'll surprise you by actually eating their vegetables.

Looking for another fun family crafting activity? Read on as we go retro with the next nature-inspired project.