Leaf String Lights: A bright and easy fall DIY project

Light up your home with these simple leaf string lights! They are definitely a craft project that anyone can do, including your kids. In fact, this project involves one of my favorite craft supplies from when I was a kid: shrinky dinks! Who remembers playing with those?? If you do then you should definitely make these leaf string lights.

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They would look great hanging along a mantel for a festive fall feel. Or, you could hang these leaf string lights above your bed for a cozy atmosphere. I hung my lights above my desk so I can see them when I work on writing blog posts!

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Materials:

  • Shrinky dinks
  • Permanent markers (or colored pencils)
  • Leaf stencil (or free hand a leaf pattern)
  • Scissors
  • Oven
  • Parchment paper
  • String lights
  • Hot glue gun

How to make these leaf string lights:

1. Start by either printing out or drawing a picture of a leaf. I traced one I found online and then cut it out to get a stencil but if you are a good drawer then feel free to draw your own. You will want this ot be fairly big as it will shrink down in size. Mine was about 4 inches long.

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2. Trace your leaf onto your shrinky dinks film. You can do this with either permanent markers or colored pencils. For a more subtle color I would use colored pencil but for a more opaque color go with markers. I used markers.

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3. Color your leaf in using either makers or pencil.

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4. Cut the leaf out using scissors. The shrinky dinks film tears easily once you put a cut in it so just go slowly and don’t make too deep of cuts.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 with different leaves and colors.

6. Once you have all of your leaves constructed it is time to shrink them in the oven. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

7. Put down some parchment paper on a baking sheet and then put your leaves on top of it. Make sure none of them are touching. Put in the oven for 2-3 minutes. You will want to watch your shrinky dinks as they will curl up and then lay flat again. Once they are all laying flat then it is okay to take them out of the oven. Let them cool before you touch them.

8. Taking your hot glue gun, put a small speck of glue on the string light on either side of the light. Place your leaf on top of the light and hold firmly until glue is dried. Continue to glue and add leaves along your string lights until a leaf is covering every light.

9. Plug lights in and admire your handiwork!

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