5 Creative Ways To Use Fall Leaves In Your Décor

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When the leaves on the trees begin to change colors, one cannot help but see death's beauty. The thing is, you can preserve some of those beautiful fall colors by snatching up your favorite fall leaves before you grab the rake or leaf blower. Of course, once you've collected some reds, yellows, and oranges from the yard, what will you do with them? Califf Life Creations points out how playing in the leaves can help with childhood development, but collecting them and learning about them is a pretty good childhood memory.

Here are a few fantastic ideas for ways not only to preserve those autumn colors but also use them as fall décor in and around your home. Fall leaves make excellent additions to gourd and pumpkin centerpieces, and they can even be hung from walls and doorways. Why spend money on fake leaves at the store when you can get the real thing for free? Plus, real leaves have a look, both the colors and textures, that can never be perfectly mimicked by fabric or plastic.

1. Mod Podge them for centerpieces

Before you head to the craft store, thinking you'll find some nicer faux leaves, consider collecting some from nature that would otherwise get raked up into the burn pile — and this way, you're not spending any money. While autumn lives tend to dry up and get crumbly, there are many ways to preserve them — for this project; Mod Podge will do the trick, per Mod Podge Rocks. The glue-like substance is easy to paint onto papers and other items you want to preserve. 

Lightly coat your leaves in the sealer on both sides, then let them dry. According to the Mod Podge website, their product keeps the leaves from continuing to brown — so once coated, the leaves should stay the color they were when you grabbed them up off the ground. Once dry, scatter some on the dining table, coffee table, or even your mantle, and they'll pair well with fancy gourds and carved pumpkins.

2. Create wax paper leaves

If you're of a certain age, you may remember doing this when you were a kid — collecting fall leaves to place between sheets of wax paper and ironing them. It's easy to do and adds a protective coating onto the leaves to preserve them for decorative purposes. The Seasoned Mom has some easy-to-follow instructions on the process.

Once your leaves are preserved in wax paper, you can do all sorts of things with them. Grab a hole punch and some twine and make rustic garlands around windows or entryways. They also look amazing on windows, where they act like a sun catcher when the sunlight shines through them, illuminating the leaves' veins. Frame your finished leaves and hang them on the walls. You can even individually attach them to walls to make it look like they're falling from the ceiling. When the season is over, pack up your preserved pieces to have them ready for next year.

3. Put a branch of them in a vase

If you love decorating your tables with fresh flowers during the spring and summer, the fall is an excellent time to add some sprigs from your color-changing trees. Of course, as the leaves die, they'll drop off your table. However, you can spritz them with some acrylic sealer or even some hairspray (if it's aerosol) to help keep them together until the end of the season, per Sisters Know Best.

You can opt to stick a branch in a vase all on its own, mix multiple different tree types, or consider combining your fall leaf sprigs with some other autumn favorites, like mums. Look for different leaf colors to have a look that offers variety and lots of eye-catching shades. This will be a unique bouquet that will add a bit of warmth to your home while the air is getting chillier outside.

4. Create a rustic wreath

The Artful Parent is one of many places online to find instructions on how to make a wreath out of fall leaves. One thing that is unique about their instructions is that they include using metallic paints to add designs to the leaves, like gold hearts. You'll need a wreath base, which can be in the form of wire, hay, or styrofoam (all can be found at a dollar store for cheap). You'll also need some craft glue — Tacky Glue is an excellent choice because it dries pretty quickly.

Before you start gluing your leaves on the wreath base, you can wrap it with some autumn-colored ribbon to be sure that none of that area will be visible when you're done. You may also want to preserve your leaves in one of the ways already mentioned to help keep your wreath looking fresh and crisp.

5. Paint with them

If you want to do more than display the leaves themselves, you can use them as stamps to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Crafts By Courtney offers simple instructions for children to create leaf-stamped art, but adults and older children can take this creative endeavor even further. The more types of leaves and paint colors you have, the more you can do, including leafy collages.

Add permanent leaf designs to your walls in your favorite colors, even if they aren't fall-centric. If you want something you can take down when the snow starts to fly, you can stamp paper and frame it to hang up or put your leaf prints directly on stretched canvases (no frame needed). With the purchase of some fabric paints, you can design fall leaf-stamped chairs, area rugs, and even curtains. Use your imagination and a little paint to add leafy fun to your home.