Tools + Supplies

Published on October 3rd, 2010 | by Julie Finn


Harvest a Year’s Worth of Natural Crafting Supplies in Autumn

Miniature Pumpkins are appropriate decorations through Thanksgiving.Most mornings, my little girls and I take a long, long bike ride–it can last up to three hours, or, in kid-world, from snack to lunch. We rarely travel more than a mile, mind you, but we do stop at every playground, tree, soccer field, edging of wildflowers, neighborhood garden, etc. that we pass.

There’s a lot of goofing and playing and lounging going on during our many bike breaks, of course, but we also are always in search of natural crafting supplies.

Some natural crafting items you can find year round, of course, things like beautiful rocks, shells, fallen branches, or clay and sand. Other items, however, are only available to be gathered in their bounty in the fall, and when you do gather, you may want to have a year’s worth of nature crafting on your mind, not just autumn crafting. Here are some of the most likely materials:

  • acorns. Acorns, acorn caps, and the acorns that happen to fall with their caps still attached all have their uses as creative components. From fairy teacups to an embellished picture frame for your nature-inspired art, acorns are not only adorable, but very versatile.
  • pinecones. If you gather an assortment of pinecones of all sizes and both open and closed, you’ll have  sure stock of what you need whenever inspiration hits. After all, a pinecone fire starter is just as useful for camping in July as it is for your winter fireplace.
  • seeds. Big or little, scooped from autumn fruits or gathered on autumn hikes, seeds are useful all year for jewelry-making and collaging and any number of projects.
  • colorful leaves. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on preserving your beautiful-colored fall leaves for the whole year!
  • gourds. Some people make birdhouses or drums or baskets from gourds, and other people use them for pinatas.
  • cornhusks. We’re especially collecting these, and we have plenty (we’re Hoosiers, you see). If you don’t want to collect them for yourself, consider how many children in your community might be studying Native Americans in the current academic year. Hello, cornhusk dolls!
  • dried grasses. Those decorative grasses that grow so nice and tall are ready to be cut now and braided into ropes, ready to be made into fans and weavings and incorporated in your art, until next year’s tall grasses are nice and tall.
  • sweet gum gumballs, black walnut shells, etc. Maybe only in Arkansas did we make these sweet gumball wreaths, but I guarantee that your locality has some special native thing that falls from the trees and makes a mess of everybody’s yard in autumn.

What’s the autumn material that you find yourself stocking up on?

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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