Jar of Mod Podge and leaves with a thin coat of it

DIY Fall Leaf Decoration for a Gorgeous Autumn Aesthetic

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Looking for a super simple DIY fall leaf decoration? Look no further than Mod-Podged leaves!

Preserving Fall Leaves with Mod Podge

When the tree canopy is decked out in mid-October splendor, I think the classic Christmas song got it wrong. Because THIS is the most wonderful time of the year.

For years I’ve loved going on leaf hunts with my kids both to appreciate the beauty of fall AND to bring some of that leafy gorgeousness home with us.

But until last year, I always experienced disappointment when we got the leaves inside. Within a day or two, the brilliant autumn hues faded to muted shades of beige.

Then I learned you can use Mod Podge to preserve the color of fall leaves. Total game-changer!

After using the new technique last year, I spread a hodgepodge of Mod-Podged leaves – the picture book writer in me could not resist the fun of that wordplay! — across our fireplace mantel.

I loved the look, but the only way you could really see the leaves was if you wandered right up to the mantel.

This year I was looking for a way to put my leaves’ loveliness on full display.

And I’m thrilled with the result! Here’s how you can create a similar look.

DIY Fall Leaf Decoration

Supplies You’ll Need


Note: do this craft at a time you can Mod Podge your leaves shortly after you bring them home. It doesn’t take long for them to start drying out, curling at the edges, and fading in color once you get them inside.

  1. Gather a whole bunch of beautiful leaves in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

    Be sure to stop often to ooh and aah and simply drink in the beauty of fall.

  2. Lay your leaves colorful side up on a piece of parchment paper.

    To avoid potential sticking and ripping, make sure they don’t overlap. (This means that unless you have a huge work surface – and if you do, I’m jealous! – you’ll probably need to work in batches).

  3. Using the paint brush, spread a layer of Mod Podge over each leaf. (A medium amount – thick enough to fully cover the surface, but not so thick it forms glops. See photos.)

    Allow the glue to dry completely, about two hours. You can add a second layer if you want, but I found one was enough.

  4. Turn the leaves over and repeat the process.
    This is optional if you’re in a hurry, but I found that if you do both sides, the leaves curl a bit less, making hanging easier.

    (Note that they still won’t be perfectly flat, but that doesn’t matter, as you’ll see in step 7) Again allow a couple hours’ drying time. They might still feel a little tacky, but as long as the glue has dried to clear and the leaves aren’t sticking to your fingers, you’re good.
  5. Put a tiny amount of mounting putty on the back of each leaf and hang ’em up!
    If you find that part of a leaf is curling up and you don’t want it to, simply add a little putty to the back of that area and press it flat to the wall.

Where to Display Your Leaves

You can put your fabulous DIY fall leaf decoration up anywhere!

Mine are hung along the archway between our living room and dining room. You could achieve a similar look by placing them around a doorframe –almost like a little portal to fall magic. 🙂

I did both sides of the archway so my portal to fall magic works in either direction 🙂 (And yes, I feel self-conscious showing you the lived-in state of our house, but as I wrote in my very first post, it’s the reality of family life that makes the beautiful touches all the more important.)

In a wave shape along a hallway would also look very cool. Or what about a spiral on a large empty wall?

You can also stick them on the fridge with magnets (thanks, Kristine!), put them on the mantel, or simply display them in a bowl. They’d look very cool inside a glass container like this one.

I’ll close with a warning – Mod Podging leaves is addicting! I told myself I was done for the season. Then I went on a walk yesterday and another one today and came home with more leaves both times. 🤷‍♀️

If you undertake this project, send me a photo – I never get tired of seeing beautiful fall leaves on full display and am always looking for new ideas for mine!  

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