Real Leaf Project {Fall Craft}

by Chris on November 14, 2012

Well hello! Remember me? I feel the need to apologize, but it is what it is. In order to blog, I have to have projects. In order to have projects, I can’t blog for a minute. With a full-time job, I just don’t have time to do both every day.

However, today I’ve got something pretty fun! I was in need of something “new” this fall, so I took to nature. In other words, my son had a leaf project due for school, so I gathered about 50 leaves for myself and came up with a little project of my own.

leaf art fall

Sooooo remember this project?

chalkboard spider

Yeah well, now it’s this project. I flipped over the spider, stained the wood, and traced a large maple leaf onto it with my overhead projector. If you’re not sure a projector is necessary, I can certainly vouch for its use here and here. Love that thing.

leaf outline

After drying out a bunch of leaves in between wax paper for a couple of weeks, I laid them into a sort of fan pattern within the leaf outline. It was looking pretty good.


I grabbed some Mod Podge, a craft brush, and my cordless drill to hold things in place. Leaves don’t necessarily want to stick easily, but they were rock solid once they were dry.

leaf tutorial

It needed to look as natural as possible, so I trimmed as little as possible. It just took a little more precision when lining up the leaf edges so they would follow the natural lines of the drawing.

fall leaf project

Of course a little stick from the backyard serves as a cute little stem (hot glued on). I also made sure that I didn’t glue the entire leaf to the board. I wanted them to stick out a bit. Anything too glued on would have looked weird. That’s my expert opinion, of course.

real leaf art

I think it came together quite nicely with the other decorations I found. The same decorations that were missing for TWO years. When your husband says they’re not in the garage attic, just be prepared to go up there yourself to find them. Just sayin’.

fall leaf art

I L-O-V-E leaf projects, and it certainly helps that they are in abundance around here. How ‘bout you? Do you have tons of “nature” around that you can use for free decorating?



rea November 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm

that is really a pretty project :) i love how it turned out…


Jill Flory November 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I love that! Next year I’m totally doing that – got to pin this so I don’t forget!

Dianna A November 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Amazing! I am in for next year too! Love this.

Nicole Stone November 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I WISH that So Cal had fall colors like this. It looks beautiful, and not too much work OR supplies are needed! Maybe I can have one of my friends ship me some leaves ;)

Kelly November 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Very nice. Our leaves were all crumbly and brown this year. I feel ya…jobs/homes/blogging/projects/dinner…who’s got time for it all? :)

Vanessa November 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

This turned out amazing! To bad the leaves don’t look like this in Central Florida. It’s a lovely idea.


Virginia November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I love how that turned out! Pinning!

Helen Valenzuela (aka ValenzMom) November 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

That is a totally autumnal leafy leaf! I love it!

JaneEllen November 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Your leaf wall art is gorgeous, looks so realistic. So smart not to glue the leaves down all the way. I”ve got to try that. I also love leaves period and making leaf projects.
As for husbands that say something isn’t where you’re pretty sure it is, well yeah they do that for whatever reason. Been there and had that done to me several times. So I just wait til he’s not around and go look for myself, usually find what I was pretty sure was there.
Looks like your projector saved your day, great way to get an enlarged image on something. I could sure use one of those. Having something enlarged at a copy shop isn’t that inexpensive, at least not around here (west of Grand Junction, CO). We live out in country so I have to go a ways to get things done and half the time the place isn’t open or they don’t know what I’m talking about. If nothing else it forces me to be more inventive or make do with what I have.
Happy Week

Courtney {a thoughtful place} November 14, 2012 at 7:01 pm

That is seriously so darling. What a genius idea. Not sure my leaf collection can stand up to yours, however.

Cindy @Made2Style November 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

What a clever idea! It looks awesome!!

xo Cindy

Beth@AtoZ November 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm


Rhonda November 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has to juggle a FT job with blogging! I sometimes don’t have time for weeks to accomplish any projects – love how you say it is what it is. That is the truth. I work. I’m a wife and a mom. Then I blog. Thanks for making me feel normal!

Cindy November 14, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Oh Chris. I could not possibly love this more. Lovelovelove. My birthday is December 1; if you would like to make another and send it to me, I would be more than happy to give you my address… xo

k griggs November 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Great leaf project–advice. modge poge each leaf after it is dry then mount to the board–it will last for years and the leaves retain there color and softness as the day you collected them.

Georgia November 15, 2012 at 6:47 am

Very creative and unique idea! Love it :)

Richella at Imparting Grace November 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

This is beautiful, Chris! What a wonderful craft–I never ever would have thought to use ModPodge with leaves, but what a great result! Thank you for sharing your brilliance. :)

Toya November 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Came out very cute, I was thinking of drying some leaves and framing a single leaf then grouping them together.

Sunni November 15, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Love it! Pinned it! What an awesome focal piece on a mantel!

shelley November 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm

stunning and beautiful!

Kathi November 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm

How lucky we are to live in Michigan :] Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year here and you managed to perserve it in such a inspiring design……..well done……….it will certainly be something I try for next year.

SmartGirlStyle November 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Haha! Husbands are cute, aren’t they? But look at it this way – now you have a bunch of “new” decor, for free! Score! :)
This is a great idea, turned out awesome.

Chelsea @ two twenty one November 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Looks great! And I love how you used real leaves. I hear ya on the full-time job, no time for projects thing. Sometimes it’s exhausting trying to keep up.

Judy Clark November 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm

What a beautiful picture. I love the fact that the leaves are not completely flat. It looks so natural. Good job!!


Barbara Grooms November 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I really liked this project Chris. I love leaves! I need to buy some of that glue you mentioned. I thought you hot glued at first. The sticking out of the leaves is perfect. I just can’t get over how pretty this turned out. I would have to go over to Clark’s house for the colorful leaves. Mine are all yellow. How did Jackson’s school project turn out? Love Mom

Camille November 20, 2012 at 9:16 am

Beautiful. I’m pinning it for next year!

Karen November 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

Need to pin this one for next year. The leaf print is gorgeous!

Shala November 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

LOVE this! As well as all of your other creations. Your blog is a true inspiration.

kerri November 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Wow – what a simple but beautiful piece. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it pinned and re-blogged everywhere. Well done.

Cannington Electrition November 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I was actually amazed with this DIY project of yours, you really did make sure of falling leaves around your neighborhood. Will definitely make one this too.

Chris November 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Thanks so much, Cannington!!

Bonita November 30, 2012 at 4:03 am

Just letting you know that I linked to this gorgeous piece of art in my Autumn Leaf Unit Study:

Dream Mom December 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

This looks beautiful! I am just amazed at your creativity. Love this project.

Donatella December 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm

loved and featured today on my blog! Donatella

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