So I saw a few adorable leaf shaped tea light holders floating around on the internets and decided to try and DIY something similar. As you can tell I adore all things autumnal and love ways to bring natural, seasonal elements into my home.
Bonus, this literally took less than 10 minutes to make (minus drying and painting time) making it the perfect DIY to make in bulk while waiting for dinner to cook.
You will need:
– air drying clay
– a knife (clay knife is ideal but make do with what you’ve got)
– a rolling pin
– a small bowl to shape the tea light holder
– paint in whatever colour you prefer (I chose copper, gold and rusty red/brown as it matches my decor plus #autumn)
– fallen leaves in shapes and sizes you like
Step 1: Roll out your clay. Don’t make it too thin as you will be rolling it again later, a couple of centimetres thick is good. Make sure it’s slightly bigger than your leaf and be sure to roll it out on a flat surface so the underside of the clay doesn’t pick up any pattern, I used an old cardboard box (benefits of having recently moved) Also, full disclosure I didn’t have a rolling pin so I improvised and used a wine bottle, make do and mend right?
Step 2: Carefully flatten your leaf into the clay. My leaf was quite dry so this took a bit of careful unfolding and a tiny bit on the bottom right snapped off. Bear this in mind when leaf hunting. My second batch was made with fresher green leaves which were much easier to work with. Smooth over the veins in the leaf and around the edges to ensure you get a full imprint of the beautiful pattern. Once the leaf in stuck down flat give it a light roll with your rolling pin.
Step 3: Carefully peel off your leaf and then cut around the outside. drag the clay outwards to avoid distorting the shape. If you want to slightly alter the shape of the leaf then you can cut inside the lines.
Step 4: Peel away your excess clay to leave you with your finished leaf.
Step 5: Carefully place your clay leaf into a bowl that will shape it into your tea light holder. I used a small bowl as I wanted the leaf to be quite curled up so decide on the sort of shape you’d like and choose your bowl accordingly.
Step 6: Leave to dry according to the clay instructions. Mine is air drying so I left it overnight to ensure it was completely hardened and ready to paint the next day.
You can see that by rolling the leaf into the clay it really picks out the patterns of the veins.
Step 7: Once your leaf is fully dry and it can’t be bent or dented you’re ready to paint. I chose to do an all over coat of copper for two of them, then a coat of gold on the smallest one and I experimented with painting one rusty red/brown and then picked out the edges, leaf tips and some veins with copper paint. Make sure you work the paint into the pattern of the leaf to pick out all the veins and details.
Leave your painted leaf to dry and et voila! You have a beautiful, homemade autumnal leaf tea light holder, you could even use it as a tiny dish (make sure you use food safe paint if you want to hold edibles in it).
This was so easy to make that the next day I made a whole new batch, this time I experimented with different sized leaves, the gold one was too small to hold a tea light so I’m just using this as a table decoration. I’m excited to gift these to friends and family for Christmas, if I can bear to part with them that is.
So there you go, a super speedy, easy DIY that makes the perfect holiday gift. You could even pop a hole in it with the end of a paintbrush and turn them into Christmas tree or hanging decorations. I currently have a few drying for just this purpose, I’m debating how to paint them. Glossy white might look good for my scandinavian style christmas tree.
If you make these at home be sure to show me on Twitter or Instagram. If you have any questions about how I made these then ask away in the comments below.