Sunday, September 11, 2011

Autumn Leaves Shadow Box Art

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This shadow box is one of my first fall decorations ever.  I made it with autumn leaves during our very first fall in this house five years ago.  We moved here in fall, so it’s a special time for me as I remember what those new beginnings felt like, even as colors were fading and winter
encroached.  Maybe that move and the opportunities it promised are why I associate fall with new beginnings, rather than some sort of end.

I’m pleased with how the dried autumn leaves have held up after all these years.  The colors have darkened quite a bit, but I can still see the color variations.  Maybe I’ll replace the leaves with fresh ones this year.  (I can’t remember how long the colors stayed bright, but longer than a year.  This is a good craft to do year after year, if you don’t mind waiting for the leaves to turn.  The leaves have pulled away from the edges of the shadow box from years of gravity and being taken on and off the wall each season, another good reason to do this craft every year.)

It’s a simple and maybe self-explanatory craft to make, but keep reading to get my secret for getting—and keeping—the best colors possible from your autumn leaves.

Here’s how I did it:

1. STOP.  Do not pick up leaves that have already fallen from trees, no matter how colorful they seem!  They will all eventually turn brown.

2. Instead, cut a few small branches from a tree with very colorful leaves.  Try to get some varied colors.  Leave the leaves on the branches and bring the whole things inside to dry.

3.  Once the leaves have fully dried, remove them from the branches and stack them face-down in your shadow box (facing the glass).  It’s hard to see now because the colors have lost their vibrancy over the past five years, but I layered my leaves in color order, so they started off yellow at the top and ended up bright red at the bottom.

4. Place the back on the shadow box and hang.

5. Delight in your handmade autumn shadow box art!

If you haven't entered my custom printed letterhead giveaway (an $89.93 value!), you still have time!


  1. That is a super idea! Now I just need to take a little road trip and find some pretty leaves since we don't have many here. Have a great Monday. xx

  2. I featured this project at Lines Across My Face in a fall leaf roundup.

  3. I can't believe the leaves have stayed in such good condition! They look amazing, such a wonderful idea.

  4. Pretty fall art, thanks for sharing at Bacon Time

  5. What a creative Fall project. It's beautiful. Thanks for sharing with Sweets This Week.


  6. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing that tip about NOT picking up leaves that have already fallen. I just love this project and want to do one to add to a Fall vignette. I saw your post over at "Fall Frenzy".


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