"Thankful For" Leaf Bouquet

Now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, what better time to examine the things for which we are most thankful? And what better or craftier way to show it than by creating a "Thankful for" leaf bouquet? With a few inexpensive items, you can turn this craft into something the whole family can not only share in, but also create together.

First, start by gathering a few items. You will need either craft foam of various autumn-like colors (yellow, green, red, and brown) or construction paper of the same, dowel, scissors, a hot glue gun and glue sticks, and a thin-point sharpie. To hold the bouquet, use a basket, vase, or terra cotta flower pot. Based upon that decision, select the container of your choosing, as well as a floral arrangement foam that fits the container.

Decorate the basket, vase, or terra cotta flower pot as you desire. Consider spray painting or stenciling a design on the basket or flower pot, or adding ribbon to the basket or vase. If necessary, allow sufficient drying time for any paint or hot glue that is used.

Insert the floral arrangement foam. Depending on the size of the project you are attempting or the number of leaves that will be added per family member, you may choose to ensure that the foam is securely in place by adding hot glue to its underside before setting it in the container. If desired, add floral moss, confetti, or another filler to cover the top of the floral foam.

The size of the dowel will depend on the overall size of the leaves and the completed project. However, a 1/8 to 1/4 dowel circumference is a good size to begin with. The Cut wood Dowel into sections. If you choose to make some of the "stems" taller than the others, then cut the dowel into various lengths. If you choose to make the stems uniform, then cut the dowel into equal lengths. It's completely up to you, the crafter.

Use scissors to cut leaves from foam sheets or construction paper. While the use of various colors will certainly provide some appeal, the use of various kinds of leaves may amplify the appeal. Consider fashioning them after such interestingly shaped leaves as maple, oak, hickory or chestnut. The important thing is to select leaves that are more of a whole rather than fragments that collectively make a whole. Doing so will make them better suited for writing upon.

To save time, search your local craft supplies stores for the availability of pre-cut foam leaves.

Distribute the leaves evenly among family members, and using the sharpie, have each write what he / she is most thankful for this holiday season on individual leaves.

When this is done, turn the leaves front-side down, and use hot glue to glue the hardwood dowel sections to the backside of each leaf. Allow the glue time to dry.

Once the glue is dry, place the dowel stems into the floral foam to complete your "thankful for" bouquet.

Several variations exist for this project. Paint the dowel stems, or add ribbons to them just beneath the leaves. Print and laminate a family photograph and attach it to the terra cotta flower pot. Or, instead of leaves, use any other image closely associated with Thanksgiving, such as acorns, cornucopias, or even turkeys.

Creative uses of hardwood dowel, and other inexpensive and versatile craft supplies like it, can result in lots of creativity that can be both appreciated and remembered year after year.