Leaf Border Table Cloth
My backyard isn't a very attractive space. Living in a townhouse, I've got a narrow rectangle of grass, bordered on either side by chain link fence, with an alley running parallel to the house. Nonetheless, I love to be outside (especially when my neighbor's air condition isn't running) and will take as many opportunities as I can to spend time on the concrete slab in back of my house that serves as a patio. Unfortunately, even the furniture back there is unappealing - a modge podge of mismatched hand-me-downs that only add to the ugliness. But I found a way to mask the obvious fact that the dirty white picnic table does not match the evergreen chairs surrounding it. First, a neutral colored table cloth. Then, a forest green leaf motif pressed all around the bottom. This was a great (and quick!) way to give an otherwise boring tablecloth some personality, while matching it to the chairs surrounding the table and providing some semblance of color continuity. Though I used fabric paint, acrylics would work as well. Printing the leaves all over the table cloth or just where it lies flat on the surface of the table are some other options for this simple project.
Leaf Detail Placemats
Sometimes a bare dining room table just needs a little something to spruce it up when not in use. And sometimes it can be difficult to find placemats that both match your dining room colors and suit your style. This is where you get to be creative. Store-bought placemats can easily be given a little oomph by pressing leaves or using other stamp and/or stencil painting techniques. I used relatively plain placemats, then pressed a few leaves along one side in autumnal colors for the coming season. You could make placemats for every time of year by pressing evergreen leaves on a set for the winter and using floral stencil designs come spring and summertime. If you find some nice striped placemats, printing a large leaf in the center over the striped pattern would be a great way to further personalize or season-alize your table top decor.
Leaf Patterned Glass Plates
This idea was actually my mother's. She loved all the leaf-pressing I had been doing and, while shopping one day, picked up a glass plate and thought I should try to do some leaf printing on the glass. I headed out to Ikea, bought some glass salad plates (only $0.99 a piece!) and headed to work. This is a project that requires acrylic paint with some sort of sealant (an aerosol spray on acrylic sealant works best) or otherwise a paint that works on glass - though I would still recommend some sort of protective coating because of the wear and tear and stress of using and washing. I did the printing on the bottom of the plate so the design will be visible when the plate is in use but no paint ever touches the food. For variations on this project, try using a single leaf per plate, using multiple colors on one plate, or printing only on the flat base or only on the upturned sides for added visual interest.