Make nature art bugs from leaves and twigs. They really pop on bright painted backgrounds made from recycled cardboard and make a fun wall art idea.
Insects – of all kinds – are fascinating creatures to explore and learn about. I have always found looking at them up close to be really interesting and have encouraged my kids to indulge their curiosity when it comes to bugs rather than their fear.
I’ve done this by buying them non-fiction books packed with interesting facts and photographs of real bugs, and giving them things like bug catchers and critter keepers as gifts. I don’t encourage my girls to keep bugs for long, just to catch them and take a good look up close so they can learn to appreciate them before releasing them back into the garden.
We have made lots of bug crafts in the past, some inspired by the real thing like our cardboard tube grasshoppers, and others more by fantasy like our Valentine love bugs. These nature art bugs are somewhere in between. They are inspired by the shape and look of real bugs, but are not based on any insect in particular.
You can make this eco-friendly bug craft using recycled cardboard as the base and nature items collected from your garden as the key material.
I’ve painted over these bugs with mod-podge. This helps to give them a glossy, shiny protective coat that will stop the leaves from crumbling and drying out although they may still fade, curl and brown a little over time. You can use store-bought mod podge as I have or make your own DIY version by mixing PVA glue with water at a 50:50 ratio.
The natural materials I’ve collected to make these were all picked fresh from our garden because it’s Spring time here, but they would also look fabulous made from coloured Fall or Autumn leaves if it is that time of year where you live.
How to make Nature art bugs
You will need:
- Recycled heavy cardboard cut into squares (ours are random sizes, and not perfectly square)
- Acrylic paint
- Tacky craft glue – ordinary craft glue probably won’t hold well enough
- Mod podge
- Hole punch
- Paint brush
- Leaves, sticks and twigs from the garden in assorted shapes and sizes
- Paint your cardboard square with acrylic paint and allow to dry
- Arrange some nature items on the painted square to look like an insect to get your basic design
- Remove the items and then place them back on with tacky craft glue to hold them down
- Paint over with mod podge
- To make an eye, punch a hold from a leaf and use the circle you have removed as an eye (or find a naturally occurring round shape from nature)
Voila! All done
These nature bugs looks bright and cheerful hanging on the wall and can be held up with a little bit of blu tack.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get outdoors and start collecting some leaves!
More ways to create with nature
- Make some gorgeous earth art outdoors in nature
- Use nature and chalk to create drawings on the pavement
- Make your own nature craft construction set and see what the kids can come up with themselves
- Make a leaf mosaic dreamcatcher
- Use seed pods and pine cones to make festive Christmas ornaments
- These neon cicada shells look really cool!