Autumn Leaf Mobile
18 months and up

Alexander Calder knew that he wanted his sculptures to be different. Rather than creating something solid, he wanted his creations to interact with the world. By creating hanging sculptures, or mobiles as his friend Marcel Duchamp referred to them, he created a piece of art that felt alive. His pieces would move with the air currents that surrounded them.

As the snow begins to fall, now is a great time to enjoy the last autumn leaves. By using wax paper, we can preserve the autumn leaves and make a fun mobile decoration. We are going to preserve our leaves by using wax paper, but there are other methods you could also use (check out the “More Fun” section below). Even very young kids can gather leaves and enjoy the soft movement of the mobile, so this is a great activity for younger learners.


  • Wax paper
  • Iron
  • Leaves
  • Fallen branch
  • String or dental floss
  • Towel
  • Scissors


  1. Collect leaves and branches from outside
  2. Check leaves to make sure they are clean and bug-free
  3. Place leaves between 2 sheets of wax paper. Leave at least ½ inch between leaves
  4. Wrap the wax paper in the towel
  5. Iron on the towel with the wax paper in the middle. Move the iron frequently
  6. Check to see if the wax appears melted. If it still isn’t melted around the leaves, keep ironing
  7. When the wax paper is melted and has cooled, cut the leaves out, leaving a small border of wax paper around the leaves so that the wax will preserve the leaves
  8. Tape or tie the string to the leaves
  9. Tie the string to the branch
  10. Hang mobile and invite the air to move your sculpture! This is even a great activity to display outside

More Fun:

  • Find more ways to preserve leaves here. Any of these methods will be preserve leaves that will make a cool mobile
  • Read up on Alexander Calder and check out his foundation, Calder Foundation.