Fallen cherry trees in autumn

How to make skeleton leaves

Skeleton leaves are beautiful, delicate, lacy leaves used for scrapbooking and other crafts. They can be expensive to buy, but they are surprisingly easy to make so why not give them a go with your kids this October half-term?


What you will need:

  • 3 tbsp washing soda (NOT baking soda)
  • Leaves
  • Metal pot or saucepan
  • Small paint brush or soft toothbrush
  • Water



  1. In autumn, leaves begin to change colour and fall off trees. On an autumnal walk, pick up some of your favourite autumn leaves from the ground and take them home to make into skeleton leaves. Glossy leaves tend to work best. 
  2. Get an adult to help you fill a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of washing soda and stir.
  3. Bring the water to the boil so that the water is making big bubbles, and then remove the pan from the heat. 
  4. Put the leaves you collected into the boiled water and let them sit there and soak in the mixture for about 20 minutes.
  5. Once the water has cooled down remove the leaves and use a paintbrush or toothbrush to gently remove the leaf pulp - this is the main part of the leaves that grows between the leaf stalk and veins. This can be a bit fiddly so make sure to be gentle.
  6. Once you have removed the pulp, leave the leaf skeleton (the remaining stalk and veins) to dry.
  7. Once the skeletons are dry you can use them as they are or soak them in food colouring and water to turn them different colours. 


Download step-by-step instructions here:

How to make skeleton leaves

More nature activities for kids

Make sure to try out the other autumn nature activities for kids that we are sharing over October half term. From going fungi spotting on walks around the Forest to making spooky bat bookmarks, there are so many ways to entertain your kids while connecting with nature.