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we like it wild: fall collection board

by StudioChoo

After a few weeks of unusually high temperatures for this month, we are finally feeling autumn in northern California. Always inspired by the wild plants that cover the roadside and hills, we thought we’d bring some fall inside by making a collection board. We took the dogs and collected bits of weeds from our overgrown backyard and a hillside behind our house. Though most of the plants we came across had finished blooming for the season, their new fall colors and interesting structures gave them a second wind. We are always amazed to see the evolution of the beginning of a green shoot in the spring to a flower in summer and a seed pod in the fall.

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One of our favorite parts of putting together a collection board is identifying our specimens. Amateur botany can be really fun if you have a little guide that illustrates different weed structures and helps you put names to “faces.” Discovering, collecting and labeling is also a great activity to do with kids (just avoid sharp barbs, thorns and poisonous leaves).

Collection Board Materials

  • 18” x 24” corkboard
  • staple gun
  • 22” x 28” piece of quilt batting
  • 22” x 28” piece of canvas fabric or burlap
  • T-pins (available at the fabric store)
  • fall specimens


1. We started our project with an old, unused corkboard. Lay the piece of canvas on the table (it helps to have it ironed and smooth), then lay the quilt batting on top of the canvas. Place the corkboard (cork side down) on top of the batting.

2. Start from the middle of one of the long edges and staple (like stretching a canvas, if you’ve ever done that). If your board has a backing, you can staple into that, but if it is double-sided cork, you’ll need to staple into the wood edge of the frame. Stretch tight across and continue stapling out from the middle until you reach the ends. Repeat on the shorter sides. Fold each of the corners up and staple. If the edges stick up too much just run a strip of heavy tape along the edge to hold it down.

3. Next, arrange your specimens on the board. You can use weeds you collect, small gourds, pine cones, nuts, rocks or anything else that inspires you.

4. Try to vary the way you arrange the items like we did below to make the display more interesting:

  • Open up a tiny pod and show off the pretty black seeds. It is sometimes easier to glue delicate items to the board instead of pinning.
  • Try cutting the round heads off of pods and display them without their stems.
  • Make tiny bundles of delicate stems and bind with string or twine.
  • Display a flower and its seeds next to each other in tiny bottles and attach to the board with twine and a pin.

5. Place and pin!

Have fun and enjoy fall!

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