3 Fun Fall Projects from Our New Favorite Craft Book

updated Oct 28, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of TarcherPerigee

Handmade Charlotte is one of the OG craft blogs. Founder Rachel Faucett started blogging in 2009 when she launched an Etsy shop selling handmade kids clothing. “I wanted to connect with other creatives and showcase thoughtful design for children,” says Rachel. A decade later, the Etsy shop is long gone, but her blog is the destination for kid fun. Now more than 100 of her crafts, activities, and playful treats are gathered together in a beautiful book, The Handmade Charlotte Playbook—and we could not be more excited.

As a mom of five, Rachel knows how critical it is for projects to be easy enough for kids to make, but also how important it is for photos to inspire—both kids and grown-ups alike. Her book delivers on both fronts, with everyday and holiday-centric ideas for what to do while we’re all at home this year—and every year. “The book is for the entire family,” says Rachel. “These are projects that gets kids off of screens and lets their minds run wild.” Best of all, most of her projects use the craft- and household-supplies you probably already have on hand. (Thank you, Rachel!)

Rachel generously shared three fall projects with Cubby, including a last-minute pumpkin decorating idea that will last long past Halloween, a pretty leaf painting project, and an awesome game of nature Bingo to inspire your kids to turn off the Minecraft and get outdoors. Let’s play!

Credit: Courtesy of TarcherPerigee

How to Make Fingerprint Pumpkins

Fingerprint art is a foolproof way to make memories with your little ones. You can fingerprint almost anything and instantly turn it into a keepsake or handmade gift for friends and family. Pumpkins, dishes, frames… make fingerprint art on all of it!

What you need:

Make it:

1. Pour some paint onto the paper plate and dip your thumb (or finger) into the paint. Practice with a few thumbprint stamps on the paper plate first to see how much paint you need for the best print. For the pineapple pattern, stamp the thumbprints vertically all over the pumpkin.

2. To add leaf detail to the pineapple, use a fine paintbrush and green paint. Simply paint three small wisps at the top of each thumbprint.

3. Use a fine paintbrush to paint tiny black dots on the thumbprint for the pineapple texture. (You can use a black marker to make the dots instead.)

4. The steps are essentially the same for the jack-o’-lantern and cacti pumpkins. For the jack-o’-lantern, use orange paint and sideways thumbprints. Paint the stem details with green paint and the faces with black paint. For the cacti pumpkin, use green paint and vertical thumbprints (some solo, some stacked in twos or threes) and then add black “spiky” details and colorful flowers at the tops

Credit: Courtesy of TarcherPerigee

How to Make Nature Bingo Cards

The next time you go camping, walk in the woods, or even just head out to the backyard, bring these nature bingo cards along. While exploring outdoors, encourage your kids to pay attention to the environment around them, and talk with them about what is safe (and not so safe!) to touch.

What you need:

  • Scrap paper or cardboard
  • Black marker
  • Ruler

Make it:

1. Cut a piece of scrap paper or cardboard into an 8 1/2 by 11-inch rectangle.

2. Use a ruler to draw a 5 x 5 grid.

3. Write a plant, leaf, or any item found in nature into each square.

To play, use stickers, markers, or rocks to mark off items as you see them.

If you don’t want to create your own custom bingo card to match your location and climate, Rachel has a printable template here.

Credit: Courtesy of TarcherPerigee

How to Do Leaf Painting

On your next family walk around the neighborhood, collect fallen leaves to bring home with you. As you paint them, take the opportunity to talk about and observe their different shapes. Add larger-than-life colors to make them extra festive

What you need:

Make it:

1. Before painting, press the leaves. To do this, arrange the leaves in a single layer and set a pile of heavy books on top. It doesn’t take long to press them flat, so check on them in a couple of hours. If you skip this step, the leaves tend to curl up and wrinkle, and may not sit flat on the table.

2. Once the leaves are ready, paint them and let dry.

Excerpted from The Handmade Charlotte Playbook by Rachel Faucett with permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Rachel Faucett, 2020.