Wednesday 31 October 2012

Autumn Leaves: Free Templates & 15 Project Ideas

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been taking lots of photos of autumn leaves lately and thinking about crafty things. So I thought I'd write a list of some leaf-themed crafty tutorials & ideas. Some of these are tutorials I've featured before, or suggested variations on past projects and others are just some simple ideas to get your creativity going. 

For all these projects you'll need some leaf templates. You can collect some leaves and draw round them, or just print out these leaf templates I draw about 4 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!). You can find the full size template sheets HERE and HERE.

If you're planning on cutting out lots of leaves, it's a good idea to stick the templates onto some scrap card (like a cereal box) to make them sturdy and easy to draw around. You can then draw leaf shapes onto any paper or card you fancy. For autumnal tones I like using gold kraft paper, sugar (construction) paper in red, orange & yellow, and the backs of used brown envelopes. If it's springtime in your part of the world, use green paper instead, and maybe mix in some simple flower shapes among all the leaves.

1) Make a yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with paper (or felt) leaves:


2) String paper or card leaves together to make a leaf garland.


3) Or hang card or felt leaves vertically to make an autumnal mobile - follow the same method as for my butterfly mobile and use felt balls in yummy autumnal colours as spacers between the leaves. Hang the mobile from a circle of card, an embroidery hoop or a couple of twigs for a rustic look. 

 4) For a really dramatic display (a giant mobile, bold garland or whole curtain or leaves), enlarge the leaf templates (or draw large leaf shapes freehand) and make giant paper leaves as big as your bits of paper will allow. If you want, you can use a brown pencil to draw on veins for added detail. These oversized leaves would also look great scattered across a plain tablecloth at an autumn party, and you can just recycle them afterwards.

5) Use a small oak leaf shape (maybe gold or brown paper stuck on card for sturdiness) to make simple napkin holders like these butterfly ones...


6) ... or cupcake / sandwich toppers like these:

7) Use leaf shapes for your place cards or invites too - write your guests' names on small paper leaves and place them on their plates, or print your invites small enough to fit on the back of a large card leaf and pop it in a brown envelope ready to post. If your guests don't know each other, you could also make the place cards double up as name labels - make the leaves from card, and stick a safety pin on the back with sticky tape

8) Make leaf tags, or use clusters of leaves to decorate your parcels. If you're using paper oak leaves, you could also add gold bells or chunky wooden beads or felt balls as "acorns".


9) Make a simple stencil from your favourite leaf shape and use a sponge and some poster paint to decorate plain gift wrap. Or just cut out an assortment of leaf shapes and stick them at random on a plain parcel.

10) Use a small leaf shape instead of a heart and make lavender sachets for your friends - choose felt and ribbons and buttons in warm autumnal shades like rusty orange and deep plum.


11) Cut out a trio of felt leaves and use a line of running stitch down the middle to sew them onto a ribbon to make a fun leaf headband. 

12) Stick paper leaves to card blanks to make simple autumnal notecards or postcards. Use single leaves, pairs or trios.

You don't have to stick to plain paper - use sparkly gold paper, or felt instead like these felt hearts which were stuck in place with double-sided tape: 

And if you fancy something sparkly, you could make glittery leaf cards - like these snowflake cards, but with leaf shapes covered in lots of gold glitter. Glitter-covered leaves would also make great gift tags / garlands / etc.

13) You could also make leafy stationery sets by glueing a vertical row of small leaves down one side of some plain writing paper, and making matching leaf-decorated envelopes too.

14) Follow the method for making these butterfly brooches, but with leaf shapes cut from felt in autumnal shades to make leafy brooches embellished with sequins or embroidery.

15) Or use the templates as embroidery patterns and stitch a leafy something!

Happy crafting...

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homemade@myplace said...

A lot of nice and good suggestions!!
thank you Laura,
xxx Alessandra

Else M Tennessen said...

Fabulous post! I love leaves, and you've given us some great ideas, too! Thanks for the templates, as well. happy Fall!

bairozan said...

Thanks for the templates, Laura! I could use real leaves to make mine, freehanding is out of question :) but it's so much easier to use yours and all the possibilities you've mentioned - there are out there but sometimes they just don't come to your mind :)

Papercraft Post said...

Thanks. Simple and classy! Always a pushover for autumn leaves.

Bugs and Fishes said...

Thanks guys! xx

bairozan - I have used these templates so much over the past few years, it's soooo much easier than going out and finding nice leaves to draw around :)