Monday, September 21, 2015

Leaf Template Craft-- with free printable!

Happy autumnal equinox, folks! Today I’m posting from the road, on my way home from a successful butterfly expedition (with side trip to Disney World) through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. I’ll report on that soon, but today I have a craft to share with you.

Last year I wanted to start decorating our house for the season's change, but without spending too much money or going to excessive trouble. For the autumn, I decided to cut out some leaf shapes in dark reds, oranges, yellows and browns and tape them up in our windows and on our walls. Voila, easy seasonal decoration!

I wanted my leaves to be as accurate as possible (I do work at a public garden, after all). So I pulled out my favorite tree guide: The Tree Identification Book, by George W. D. Symonds. I found the pages with some of my favorite leaves and used their images to help me cut out leaves from colored cardstock. (I purchased cardstock from Michael’s for maybe 50 to 75 cents per sheet.) I cut them all freehand, rather than time-consuming tracing and transferring. That meant I had a lot of rejects, but several came out pretty well! It felt very creative and fulfilling. What helped was folding the cardstock in half  the long way, then cutting out the leaf so that the fold made a spine. Unfortunately, that meant all my leaves were symmetrical, unlike real leaves. But it reduced the complication of cutting the intricate outlines. I also cut out big and little acorns, often out of the scraps left after cutting the leaves.

But seeing as the equinox is today, if you haven’t made decorations yet you probably want something even less complicated than trying to cut out a free-hand leaf. So for you, my fine procrastinating friends, I’ve made printable outlines from my best examples, for you to use as guides. You could trace these if you wish, or print them directly on colored paper or cardstock, or simply print out one copy each and then use it as a template for cutting.

I labeled the individual leaves as to my best guess what leaf I was copying. (I don’t rmember specifically at this point, and didn’t label the leaves when I first made them.) The page with several smaller leaves includes two different acorns, a ginkgo leaf, a red oak, a white oak, and probably a chestnut oak. Of course leaves often vary considerably in the wild, so don’t worry about inaccuracy when you’re cutting them out. Individuality makes them more real!

Hope you make lovely fall decorations with these printables.  I would love to see photos of your projects if you use these templates. Post your photos in the comments. Happy autumn, everybody! 



  1. this seems like a great idéa for decorations :)

  2. Thanks, NatureFootstep! There are definitely lots of ways you could use these templates: make pretty table decorations, for example, or even cut the small leaves out of felt to adorn a hat or headband. Enjoy!

  3. Thanks, TexWisGirl! It's really a nice laid-back craft to do while watching TV. No glue = I can do it periodically at commercials without everything falling apart. Love your "flamingoed" post recently, by the way. So funny to see.


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