Fairchild’s tropical garden column

Children’s crafts from the garden


Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Gardening is so much more than just soil and seeds. Those of us who are passionate about our plants know that the possibilities are endless when it comes to versatility. Children can enjoy gardening just as much as adults and often bring a sense of wonder and creativity we tend to lose as we become entrenched in our routines. Making garden crafts is a great way to spend time with family while creating a memory that will grace your home for months or years to come. Here are some fun and easy Florida craft ideas.

•  PROJECT: Botanical placemats, bookmarks and window hangings:

Materials: Plant press or a large book, collected leaves and flowers, transparent Con-Tact paper (available at Home Depot), ribbons and colored tissue paper

Directions: Collect interesting plant materials and press them in a plant press or between the pages of a large book. Let them sit for several days or weeks. Cut the transparent Con-Tact paper to the desired size; you will need two identical pieces. Remove the pressed plant materials from the press and peel off the backing of the Con-Tact paper so the adhesive is facing up. Lay the plant materials, ribbons, and small pieces of tissue paper on the sticky surface of the Con-Tact paper. Remove the backing off the second piece of Con-tact paper and lay it (sticky side down) on top of the decorated piece, forming a seal. All done! Enjoy!

•  PROJECT: Plant People

Materials: Knee-high nylon stockings, grass seed, wet soil, soda can, water, construction paper, scissors, Scotch tape, markers, googly eyes, glue

Directions: Put 2 tablespoons of grass seed into the toe end of the nylon stocking. Add a cup of soil and tie the loose end of the stocking so the seeds and soil are in a tight ball. Fill the soda can with water and push the open end of the stocking into the opening. The water will wick up the stocking and keep the soil and seeds moist. Cut a piece of construction paper and tape it around the can. Decorate the construction paper so it looks like clothes and arms for your plant person. Glue eyes onto the ball beneath the layer of grass seed. Place the “plant person” in a well-lit area and check to be sure that it stays moist. After four to five days, you will see grass growing out the top. After a couple weeks, you can have a day at the barbershop!

•  PROJECT: Flower pounding

Materials: Collected leaves and flowers, 100 percent cotton cloth or T-shirt, masking tape (optional), wax paper, rubber mallet or hammer

Directions: Pick several flowers and leaves from the garden and arrange them on top of the cotton in a pattern you like. Secure the plant materials with masking tape if you like. Lay a piece of wax paper over the plant materials and get to pounding. Without much effort, the dye from the plant will begin to transfer to the fabric. Once you have the desired effect, move on to another piece until you’ve completed your artwork. When you’re finished, allow to dry. Heat cloth with a dry iron on low temperature. The poundings should not be washed, but they can be dry-cleaned. Now go and show your pounded piece with pride.

Mary Dudley is elementary programs coordinator at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

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