For one tray:
- Antique serving tray or ornate picture frame in desired size
- 2 handles, if using picture frame (They must attach from the outside, so you'll probably want to use screen door handles.)
- 2 pieces of glass or clear plastic cut to fit the tray or frame
- Gold acrylic paint, brown antiquing medium, and sealer
- Delta sponge
- Assorted dried, pressed leaves (See Step 1)
- 1- to 1-1/2-inch molding, enough to encircle back of tray or frame
- Miter saw
1. Press the leaves. Gather leaves in the colors you want on a dry day, in the afternoon so the dew has had a chance to evaporate. Sandwich individual leaves between sheets of paper towels, then between sections of newspaper. Put a weight on top of the newspapers, and in two weeks or so, the leaves will be dry and flat.
2. Paint the frame or tray. Remove solid back from tray or picture frame. Paint the frame and handles with a base coat of gold. Let dry. Brush antiquing mixture on the frame. Add textured look by using a sponge to remove some of the antiquing. When dry, add sealer.
3. Cut and paint the molding. Using a miter saw, cut the molding to the same size as the frame. If you do not have a saw available, a framing shop will fit the back. Paint and antique the molding to match the frame. Set aside.
4. Arrange the leaves. Place one glass piece in the frame. Arrange dried leaves, colorful side down, on the glass. Arrange smaller leaves near the outside, larger ones near the center. Place second piece of glass over first.
5. Attach the molding and handles. Drill holes into the molding. Screw molding into place on the back of the frame to hold glass in place. Attach the handles.
More ideas: Use lightweight plastic instead of glass to make large trays easier to carry. Placed in a window or on a wall, the leaf-laced carriers look like pieces of autumn artwork.