On a beautiful fall walk along the river last week I picked up a bundle of fallen cottonwood leaves.

Create Fallen Leaf Art

I had an experimental project in mind, and it turned out just as I’d hoped. For this project you’ll need at least 12 newly fallen leaves. They should be still moist, with no dried sections or edges. If you run the leaf through your fingers and anything crinkles, it’s too dry.

For my base paper I used a fibrous drawing paper, and “cut” the edges by ripping them along a metal ruler. I wanted a slightly more rustic look than scissors would provide. Cut your paper to 8 inches by 6 inches (for a 9 by 7 frame).

Grab a small votive candle to trace. Place it on your leaf and draw a circle around the candle. I traced different parts of the leaf for variety – sometimes centering the stem, or putting the stem to the right, or ignoring the stem all together. If your leaf has fun color variation, try to capture that in your circle.

Create Fallen Leaf Art

Cut around your traced circle and continue until you have 12 little leaf rounds. Moist leaves can easily be cut with scissors.

Create Fallen Leaf Art

Line up your leaves on your paper in three rows of four. Attach the leaf rounds with double sided tape. It won’t stick amazingly, just enough to keep them in place. The edges of the leaves will lift up.

Create Fallen Leaf Art

Remove the glass from your frame, and place it gently on top of your paper. Place the paper/glass sandwich on top of a frame mat, then the frame backing, and assemble the frame completely. Be sure there is a thick enough frame back to press your leaves firmly into the glass when hung.

Create Fallen Leaf Art

I’m not sure how long the leaves will last in the frame before drying out and cracking, but, that’s not unlike autumn – a fleeting season.

I would love to see one of these with the startling reds and yellows of New England or the Pacific Northwest. Won’t someone make one and take a picture so I can see?

  
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