4 artsy ways to decorate with fall leaves

There are leaves everywhere and my house has been infiltrated as these vibrant seasonal treasures are collected everywhere my kids go. They will inspect them. Give them a rating based on size and color. Once their prized squad is assembled, they trade them, and my goodness if all doesn’t go as planned, they fight over them. 

And when I find them and toss them before they wilt into crunchy crumbles, the boys are crushed that I believe something so beautiful and hard-earned is trash. I can’t win or can I? Here are four fun ways to immortalize fall—and your kids’ beloved foliage. 

Leaf garland with twine and clothing pins

Materials

  • Twine
  • Clothing pins
  • Construction paper or thick book paper
  • Scissors
  • Leaves

Directions

The leaves will wilt pretty quickly, so sturdy reinforcements are always a good thing. Use the orange, yellow, red and brown paper for fall leaf look-a-likes. Fold your paper in half, then in half again (that way when you trace the leaf, you will get four cut-outs in one shot.) Place the leaves over construction paper and trace their outline. Cut along your traced leaf. Tie knots around the end of the clothing pins, about 6-12 inches apart. Double or triple up on construction paper leaves of alternating colors, with your fall leaves on top and hang them from the clothing pins. Secure the ends of the twine to your mantle or doorway for fun fall decor.

Fall leaves imprinted on greeting cards or gift tags

Materials

  • Paper gift tags or blank white cards
  • Wax paper,
  • Medium-sized paintbrush
  • Fall-colored acrylic craft paints
  • Smaller fall leaves. 

Directions

Paint one side of your leaf, and press the painted side onto your paper. Lay a piece of wax paper over the leaf, covering the leaf completely with room to spare, then press firmly all over the leaf to capture the details. The wax paper will help keep your hands clean in the process! Repeat as often as you’d like for the look you are going for. I like the look of a single leaf per paper, but many leaves would be fun as well. 

Leaf covered mason jar candle holder

Materials 

  • A mason jar
  • Mod Podge matte water base sealer and glue finish
  • Sponge (kitchen or sponge brush)
  • Leaves 

Directions

Clean the jar. Leaves won’t stick if the jar is oily or dirty. Dry leaves won’t work either, they’ll just crack. Leaves should be flexible and soft in order to attain the best results possible. Paint a section of the jar the approximate size of your leaf and stick the leaf on the adhesive. Carefully paint more glue on the top of the leaf, starting from the center of the leaf outwards so you don’t break off the edges. You may need a few layers of glue, but you want that leaf forever glued to that jar. Repeat and layer the leaves to cover the perimeter of the jar! I put an LED light in the jar and wrapped it with twine as a centerpiece for the dining room table. 

Fall leaf painted handprint tree

Materials

  • Paint in brown, green, and fall colors (acrylic paint is pretty standard)
  • Paper or canvas—it depends on how long you want to keep this treasure! 

Directions

Trace out the tree and branches, and paint it. This will need to dry before the kids make their handprint leaves on top of it. Have the kids put an old t-shirt on before you paint their hands. Mark on the canvas in pencil where you want each hand to go, and even “leaf” some room on the canvas for smaller imprints of painted leaves for effect. Paint hands with a pretty generous coating of paint. Help kids press their fingers into the paper or canvas. Fill in any strange gaps with some of their favorite fall leaves, and let it dry overnight.

If you make any of these DIY projects please tag us @ChicagoMomGoesSuburban and @ChicagoParent

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