5 Leaf Projects to Bathe Your Home in Autumn

Megan Van Schaick

thanksgiving decorJust when you thought I was done, I’m here to unleash yet more nature on you. Or rather, encourage you to unleash it yourself!

(Warning: Projects of a crafty nature contained within.)

I know I said that acorns were the cheapest chic could get, but colorful fall leaves could very possibly give them a run for their money. They are brilliantly colorful, come in dozens of shapes and sizes, and proudly proclaim that nature has something left to give, even after the grass is yellowed and crunchy and the flowers have gone to bed.

And yadda yadda we all know nature is awesome. Let’s get to the good stuff. What can you make out of all those damn leaves?

The possibilities are infinite, if you think long enough. So it’s a good thing you’ll have time to think while preserving those leaves!

There are many ways to preserve fall leaves, including pressing, then dipping them in molten paraffin wax. But it’s sooo much easier to gather up a couple pieces of waxed paper, sandwich the leaves between them, and press with a hot iron. Voila! In one move, you’ve pressed and waxed your leaves. About those infinite possibilities ...

We don’t have infinite space, time, or attention, so here are just a few of my favorite ways to use colorful leaves.

thanksgiving decor

Framed Art

Turn artful leaves into framed art -- and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

A bunch of generic black frames will let the leaves be the stars. Mount them on plain colored paper -- matting is optional.

Hang them in a grouping, using a pretty ribbon or rustic twine to tie everything together.

If you style is more on the mod side, buy float frames that suspend the leaves between two panes of glass.



thanksgiving decorGorgeous Garland

Once your leaves are pressed and waxed, they are not only preserved, but they won’t get brittle and crack. That’s a very good thing for you as you sit down with a needle and some fishing line to string together a brilliant garland.

Hang it from the window, the mantel, or on your banister. Make it even more fun by having dinner guests write what they are thankful for on each leaf.

thanksgiving decorLeafy Candles

This is a cool craft that kids can get into, as long as they can operate a glue stick. Glue your waxed leaves to the outside of a standard white pillar candle.

Drip wax from a taper (same color, please) over the leaves and spread it into a thin layer.

Once the wax hardens, you’ll be able to see the outline of the leaves as well as some of the detail and color.


thanksgiving decorLeaf Mobile

Gather your needle and monofilament again, this time to string individual leaves.

You can hang them all on the same level -- use an embroidery hoop to make a circle, or several to make a “chandelier.” Or, gather interesting twigs in a couple of different lengths and hang your leaves in a traditional mobile pattern.

This is perfect for a window decoration, especially if it’s over a heat duct where the draft can move the leaves.

thanksgiving decorLovely Lanterns

Decoupage medium is your friend here -- use a dab to hold your leaves in place, and then a foam brush to smooth the adhesive over the tops of your leaves, pressing them to the shape of the glass as you go.

The natural look of the pointy looks is cool, but you could also cut your leaves to shape, covering the glass in leaf polka dots or cubes.


What creative things are you doing with all the leaves in your yard this year?


Images (top to bottom) via Door to River/Flickr, Food Wine and Mod Podge, Memories on Clover Lane, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart, Twig and Toadstool

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