How to craft with preserved leaves for Fall

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The fall leaves turning hues of red and gold is one of the most beautiful things about the time of year. There really is nothing better in life than crunching your way through piles of leaves strewn across a forest path. We all wish we could have that magic all year round, but unfortunately autumn doesn’t last forever. However, preserved fall leaves means you can take a bit of autumn with you into the following seasons. We have many different ways to make the preserved fall leaves, so that they don’t wither as time goes on and we also have crafts you can make with your preserved fall leaves.

What is the best way to preserve fall leaves?

A question that comes up frequently when fall rolls around and one that has many answers. There are so many different ways that you can preserve those stunning vibrant leaves and so you really just need to pick a method that is suitable for what you want to use them for. Luckily we have detailed descriptions of 6 different ways you can preserve your leaves so you can pick whatever way works for you!

How do you preserve leaves and keep their colour?

Keeping the striking colour of your fall leaves is the main aim when preserving them. You want them to last and it’s not ideal for them to be withering away after just a few short weeks. We have to warn you at this point, that it is very difficult to keep vivid reds and vivid yellows for a long time. The preservation methods outlined here, will go some way towards keeping these gorgeous reds and yellow, but you will find, ultimately with time, these will darken. As all dried flowers, leaves and natural items do. So, embrace this change and enjoy how nature changes over time.

6 Methods To Preserve Fall Leaves

Preserving Leaves is notoriously hard to get right. They often end up withering or losing their colour and it’s hard to find a method that will prevent this. However, we have six different easy ways for you to look at – all with different results and difference “pros and cons”. There is no “one” solution for the perfectly preseved leaf.

Maple Leaf Pinecone Turkey

This is a good thanksgiving one. This cute little pinecone turkey makes use of those vibrant autumn leaves and makes the perfect ornament for you to put around your house. It’s an easy one for kids to have a go at and uses all materials you can probably find, if not in your garden, then in your local park. So there’s no reason not to get stuck in and make the most of those fall leaves while they’re still around. You can make these “unpreserved” or preserved. If you are crafting the day before or on thanksgiving itself, use the leaves naturally.. if you want to keep this turkey decoration throguhout Fall, you may want to consider one of the leaf preservation methods first!

Leaf Lantern With Fall Leaves

This DIY Autumn Leaf Lantern looks so beautiful and preserves the leaves you collected. You can collect them from your garden or your local park and turn them into a stunning, glowing lantern for those cold autumn nights. Try and find small leaves and then you can fit lots onto your lantern so that it really has that autumn feel. I confess, that this is one of my favourite ways to work with real leaves in Fall. The resulting lanterns are so pretty and the actual colour of the leaves do not matter too much. If they darken over time.. so be it! But if you do want to try and capture a vivid red or yellow, do check out the glycerine bath preservation method outlined here.

Leaf Crown

This Leaf Crown is made only from fall leaves and its a great activity for kids to get involved with. They can look like an autumn princess or prince from right out of a fairy tale! It’s also surprisingly easy to make, using minimal materials. This a great way to make use of those leaves you have collected. Again, this is an activity that works fine with using fresh leaves at the park. No need to preserve them. Just make the corwn. Wear and enjoy it.. then leave behind to decompose naturally!

Leaf Turkey Craft

Another thanksgiving leaf turkey and this, again uses materials you’re sure to have on you. It also has that autumnal feel with the leaves which means these are great to dot around your home. You can also use them as place cards, by adding some wire to them, making theme, again, perfect for thanksgiving.

DIY Painted Fall Leaves


Over at Francine’s Place Blog, they have an amazing post all about how to paint leaves to use as decorations. This uses real leaves and is a cheap and easy way to add some Fall spice to your home. It’s easy to do with kids and end up looking gorgeous, especially when they catch the sun! I think if you are painting and decorating leaves, it really is worth presevering either before or after decorating (depending on the preservation method you choose to use).

DIY Leaf Candle Holder With Preserved Fall Leaves

This DIY Leaf Candle Holder from Craftsy Hacks is another great way to make a crafts out of real leaves – the crafting process, will actually help preserve the leaves, as the PVA glue acts as a preserving material. It looks so pretty and also has that homemade feel that makes a home look that much more cosy. The kids can get involved with this one as well because its an easy one to make and you can display what they’ve made, on your mantlepiece, throughout Fall and Thanksgiving.

Nature Art Owls

This is a craft that also uses flowers and leaves. DIY Thought have used fresh leaves and flowers but wouldn’t it be nice with dried / pressed foliage instead – so you can keep them a little longer? Fresh petals only last 2-3 days.. so it would quickly wilt and need to be discard. You can make use of our guide on how to preserve leaves or how to press flowers and add them to this craft to make it last that extra bit longer.

Nature Art Turtles

Another one from DIY Thought that uses fresh plants and, again, why not try adding dried and pressed foliage, again using our easy 6 Methods To Preserve Autumn Leaves post or our How To Press Flowers instructions?

Leaf Sun Catcher Using Preserved Fall Leaves

The Sun Catcher from Messy Little Monster uses a methods that we recommend for preserving leaves which is lamination / sticky back plastic. It allows you to preserve those gorgeous vibrant leaves for months to come and use them in a sun catcher. It’s an easy one for kids to get involved with and looks so pretty when the sun hits it! Definitely one to try!

Framed Leaves

Framing leaves is a great way to add some autumnal spice into your interior decor and over at The Boondocks Blog they have instructions for how to do just that. They use fresh leaves in their craft but if you’re looking for a more permanent piece of decor why not try using preserved leaves instead? Take a look at our post here.

We hope you enjoyed this journey into crafting with real leaves and decorating for Fall and Thanksgiving! There are so many lovely projects out there using real leaves in this way, and preserving leaves helps make your projects last that little bit longer.

Do check out our Fall Leaf Garlands ideas for more seasonal decorating:

Also.. if you are planning any Thankgsiving get togethers, you may love some of our Fall Cake Ideas?

fall cake ideas
presevered leaves for fall decorating