Fun Fall Leaf Projects

How much fun can you have with fall leaves?

Autumn leaves can be absolutely beautiful!
Autumn leaves can be absolutely beautiful! | Source
This fall, take a moment to enjoy the beauty all around you.
This fall, take a moment to enjoy the beauty all around you. | Source

Sometimes the simplest things in life can be the most exquisite. Spider webs. Butterfly wings. River rocks, driftwood, sea glass, seashells. And when the days begin to shorten, autumn leaves.

Whether they're in piles or trapped under your windshield wiper on a wet October day, there's something naturally beautiful about the shape, texture and especially the color of autumn leaves.

This year, instead of just admiring them, why not bring the beauty of autumn leaves into your home?


Large Student Plant Press
Large Student Plant Press

For older children as well as adults.

 

Press them.

Just as you can press flowers, you can press leaves in order to preserve their beauty. A press like the one pictured below will see you--and your children--through many autumns.

How to Press Leaves (Without Special Equipment)

If you don't have the cash or the inclination to buy a leaf-pressing kit, no worries. You can also press leaves and flowers using items that most people ordinarily have around the house: newspaper, wax paper and heavy books.

For specific directions, check out the YouTube video tutorial below from Howcast.

Fun with Pressed Leaves

Once you have preserved your autumn leaves through pressing, the sky (and your imagination) is the limit as to how you use them.

Pressed fall leaves can form the basis of lots of fun home projects both you and your family will enjoy. Here are just some of them.

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Autumn Leaf Collage

If you're a "crafty" person, why not try your hand at creating an autumn leaf collage? For step-by-step directions, visit this HGTV link.

Autumn Leaf Animal Art

If you're really artistic, you could even try your hand at making leaf animals like the ones pictured at this site. They're amazing!

Fall Leaf Framed Art

Even if you have little or no artistic talent, you can make stunning autumn leaf art. Single pressed leaves as well as pressed leaf collections can be just as beautiful as a collage when framed. Like some examples? Check out these ideas for framing pressed leaves from Country Living.

How to describe an October walk in the woods near Lewisburg, West Virginia? Golden.
How to describe an October walk in the woods near Lewisburg, West Virginia? Golden. | Source

Autumn Leaf Table Decorations

Source

Create colorful fall tabletops!

Fresh or pressed, autumn leaves make gorgeous decorations for fall dinners, especially at Thanksgiving. You can

  • artistically arrange them along your table runner--or better yet, let a collection of fall leaves serve as your runner.
  • wrap them around napkins and tie them up with rafia, yarn or strips of corn husk.
  • set them under glasses for pretty fall coasters.

You can also use them as place cards for a special dinner or an autumn wedding! After pressing the leaves, write on them with a black, silver or gold ink pen. They make a beautiful natural table decoration.

Fall Leaf Paperweights

Inexpensive gifts & accessories

Colorful fall leaves enclosed in DIY paperweights make charming seasonal desk accessories. Make one for yourself, or create several for family and friends.

Homemade paperweights are awesome gifts for men as well as women.

Fall leaves not only have aesthetic value. They can also protect plants & enrich soil.

This fall, gather autumn leaves to use in your home and garden.
This fall, gather autumn leaves to use in your home and garden. | Source
Autumn leaves aren't just pretty. They also have practical & economical uses in your garden.
Autumn leaves aren't just pretty. They also have practical & economical uses in your garden. | Source

A Leaf Mold & Mulch Bin

E-Z Compost Bin
E-Z Compost Bin

If you seriously want to make leaf mold and mulch, buy two bins, one to make two-year leaf mold in, the other to hold one-year mulch.

 
Easy Composters You Can Build
Easy Composters You Can Build

A great resource! (My copy is stained & tattered.)

 

Leaf Mold

Leaf mold (compost made of leaves) is a great soil amendment that adds friability as well as key nutrients to your soil. To make leaf mold, gather autumn leaves and place them in wire compost bins like the one pictured right. Tamp the leaves down and leave them alone for a year. Then turn them vigorously and thoroughly. Wait another year. The pile of leaves that you began with will have reduced by half (or more) when the leaf mold is ready to use.

According to Nick Noyes' Easy Composters You Can Build, you can speed up the two-year process by shredding the leaves before you add them to your compost bin.

Leaf Mulch

Instead of allowing the leaves from your compost bin to sit another year, turning into leaf mold, you can use them after the first year as mulch. Pile them over tender plants to protect them from winter's harsh cold. Just like bark mulch, they'll reduce the risk of damage due to frost and ice. They will also continue to decay over the winter, enriching your soil.

Leaf Compost

Fall leaves are also good "brown" items to add to your composter, compost pile or compost hole. They have little nitrogen and will break down slowly.

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Comments 20 comments

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Hey frogyfish! I think lots of people like autumn--the beauty, the cooler weather. What's not to like? So glad you commented!


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

So I am not alone in admiring the beauty of a leaf, or fall colors? Fantastic to know I am in good company. Liked your idea of leaf place cards, decorations greatly. Very interesting information you shared. Thank you!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

@Derdriu--You'll have to use some autumn leaves on your Thanksgiving dinner table! Have fun--and thanks for reading. DF


Derdriu 5 years ago

TheDirtFarmer: All of your suggestions are not only artistic and practical but also eminently environmentally friendly. In particular, I love the leafy coasters, place cards and table runners. Additionally, I agree that they are a great natural compost, fertilizer and/or mulch.

Thank you for sharing your environmental wisdom, voted up, etc.,

Derdriu


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Hey, homesteadpatch! I love autumn, too. It's my favorite time of year. Thanks for reading & commenting!


homesteadpatch profile image

homesteadpatch 5 years ago from Michigan

Autumn is my favorite time of year. And one of the reasons is for all the beautiful color. Thanks TheDirtFarmer.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

@ Peggy W--Sending leaves to the underprivileged in Texas--I'm going to have to add that this hub! (: I'm ashamed to say that when I lived in Dallas, I'd turn on the air conditioner in the winter and then light a fire--just to be cozy. Now that I look back on it, I think I was a real energy hog! But ... I love cold weather. Thanks for reading & commenting!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

We don't get nearly as much of a colored leaf show as people do who live further north. I miss that about living where I did in Wisconsin. Of course we also don't get the snow and icy roads...some consolation! I have a friend who lives here in Houston whose Mom sends her pressed leaves each Fall. Nice! You have offered some great suggestions in this hub. Voted up, useful and interesting.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Awesome, Deborah! Thanks for reading and commenting.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa

Beautiful photos and great ideas! I am bookmarking this for ideas for decorating my Thanksgiving table.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Hey, Kerlyn! I love fall, but ... sometimes when I see gorgeous tropical plants we can't grow outdoors here, I envy people like you who live in warmer climes. Have fun pressing leaves! Creating a collage is on my to-do list. Take care, Jill


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

If only we have fall in the Philippines :( But really, these pics and vid are wonderful! I watched the vid, I didn't know it would be better to use wax paper when pressing leaves. I'll try that out. I actually live in a place where there are lots of trees and plants. They're tropical trees and plants but I think they're also beautiful :)


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, nancynurse. I've been trying to think of more to add. Maybe I need to get out there in the woods again. Take care! Jill


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 5 years ago from Southeast USA

Love your ideas and illustrations. Thanks


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Hey, Movie Master! Glad you liked the leaf art. I stumbled across several sights with leaf artwork on them. Some of the work was more formal than others, but it all was just incredibly imaginative. Thanks for commenting! Have fun!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I love Autumn and your hub has captured it perfectly.

I also love playing with leaves, pressing them or making a collage!

I visited the site to check out the leaf animal art, that's awesome, and I shall have to try it!

Thanks for a great hub, voting up, best wishes MM


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Sorry you don't like the cold, Maren, but at the least the colors are a great consolation! Thanks for reading! DF


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

The leaves are gorgeous. When I get irritated by the colder temperatures, at least the colors are a nice consolation.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 5 years ago from United States Author

Go for it, Deborah-Diane! Isn't autumn beautiful? Thanks for commenting!


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 5 years ago from Orange County, California

Gorgeous photos! Your article makes me want to stroll in the woods and gather a basket of leaves!

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