• Decorated Autumn Leaves Tutorial

    Decorated autumn leaves offer a beautiful way to bring the outdoors in! You can use them in tablescapes, as part of a coffee table display, or tucked into wreaths. (Thanksgiving tip: these would make great place cards or creative food labels!)

    Group of Decorated Autumn Leaves
    These decorated autumn leaves help to contribute to the coziness factor of your home! I like to incorporate them into my autumn tablescapes.

    As chilly weather closes in, I’m focusing more and more on adding hygge to our home! One of my favorite ways to do that is bringing the outdoors in, which is why I’m loving these decorated autumn leaves. This project is incredibly simple; all you’ll need to create it is a white gel pen and some leaves!

    Gather Your Supplies

    First, locate or purchase a white gel pen. I swear by the Sakura Gelly Roll because it’s wonderfully opaque and tolerates a variety of surfaces!

    Sakura Gelly Roll White Pen
    This pen will become your go-to for a variety of projects! I’ve used it to draw on black paper, add accents to “juicy” lettering, and write messages in dark-colored greeting cards.

    Next, go outside and pick some autumn leaves! I found mine in my backyard, but if you don’t have a yard, you can take a short walk to go on a leaf scavenger hunt. You’ll want to choose leaves that are mostly intact, have an interesting color, and aren’t crunchy to the point of being crumbly. They should have a bit of a leathery feel!

    Naked Autumn Leaves
    These are the leaves that I chose for this project. 

    Once you’ve gathered your supplies (leaves + a white gel pen), you can get to decorating! I’ll show you how to create several design motifs below. Please feel free to pick and choose which design motifs appeal to you! No matter which motifs you choose, you’ll want to decorate at least 20 leaves to add abundance and artistry to your indoor autumn-themed displays.

    How to Draw a Henna Flower Leaf

    You’ll begin making a henna flower motif by drawing a medium-sized circle in the (rough) center of one of your leaves. Fill in the circle with criss-crossed lines.

    Step 1: Henna Flower Leaf Motif

    Next, draw a larger circle around your original circle. Use this new larger circle as a base to draw several long petals! Don’t worry about your petals being exactly the same size or width; just do your best to keep them fairly uniform.

    Step 2: Henna Flower Leaf Motif
    Notice that each petal ends in three little half circles.

    Now, fill in each petal with two parallel lines. Flank each of these lines with little dots.

    Step 3: Henna Flower Leaf Motif
    Your parallel lines should go about 4/5s of the way up each petal!

    Now, let’s draw a leaf! To do that, make a medium-sized curved almond shape to the right of your flower. Draw half-circles along the edges of that almond shape, then draw a larger curved almond shape around the original almond shape and the half circles.

    Step 4: Henna Flower Leaf Motif

    Finish up by filling in the negative space of the drawn leaf with a solid almond shape in the middle and little lines along the outside.

    Step 5: Henna Flower Leaf Motif
    Try drawing a leaf on either side of your henna flower!

    And, voilà, your first decorated autumn leaf is finished! This is actually the most time-consuming motif because it takes around five minutes to create. The motifs from here on out are very simple!

    How to Make a Chevron Leaf

    To make a chevron leaf, begin by drawing several parallel and evenly-spaced vertical lines.

    Step 1: Chevron Leaves Motif

    Then, connect the first two vertical lines with several diagonal lines that reach up. Move on to the next two vertical lines and, using the ending point of the diagonal lines on the left as a starting point, make several diagonal lines that reach down.

    Step 2: Chevron Leaves Motif

    Continue on in this fashion until the leaf is filled with chevron goodness!

    Step 3: Chevron Leaves Motif

    Making a “Grateful” Leaf

    One of autumn’s main themes, at least here in the US, is being thankful for what you have. This “grateful” leaf acknowledges that with its simple message! To make it, begin by writing “grateful” across a leaf in widely-spaced cursive.

    Step 1: "Grateful" Leaf Motif

    Then, fill in the downstrokes using the faux calligraphy technique.

    Step 2: "Grateful" Leaf Motif

    That’s it for this leaf — super simple!

    How to Draw a “Beady” Leaf

    To make a “beady” leaf, start by drawing several diagonal, parallel lines over the surface of your entire leaf.

    Step 1: Beads Leaf Motif

    Then, alternate drawing large and small circles along each line.

    Step 2: Beads Leaf Motif
    This leaf is easy to make, but it does require a time commitment of 4-5 minutes. Depending on the size of your leaf, it can take a while to draw in all those circles!

    Making a “Happy Autumn” Leaf

    To make this leaf, start by writing “HAPPY” in George Style lettering (or the lettering style of your choice) above the middle vein of a leaf. Then, write “AUTUMN” below the middle vein.Step 1: Happy Autumn Leaf Motif

    If your leaf is large enough, finish up by using the faux calligraphy technique to draw in some flourishes!

    Step 2: Happy Autumn Leaf Motif

    What to Do with Your Leaves

    It’s all good and well to spend a happy hour or two making decorated autumn leaves, but what can you do with them? Well, my favorite thing to do is use them in a tablescape! I plan to make 30 more leaves and use them to decorate my Thanksgiving dinner table. Coupled with platters and candles, they’ll make for the ultimate hygge supper.

    Group of Decorated Autumn Leaves

    When the leaves aren’t in use as part of a tablescape, they sit quietly on my coffee table, nestled around a bowl of oranges. They work together with the rest of my autumn decor — juniper sprig bouquets and blankets draped across chairs — to make the house feel cozy and welcoming!

    I love tutorials like this one … tutorials that go to show how easy it is to use your creativity to add warmth and personality to your surroundings! I hope that this post inspires you to go outside, curl up with your white pen, and get to drawing. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can make these — and at how beautifully all the motifs combine!

    Group of Decorated Autumn Leaves
    Since these leaves are already dry, they’ll last for several seasons! Put them in storage once autumn is over, and bring them out again next year.

    I hope you’re having a fantastic autumn! After Halloween, we’ll reconvene with another inspiring tutorial. In the meantime, I’m adding a whole slew of gorgeous, high-hygge-factor art water cups to the TPK Supplies Shop. As always, thanks very much for reading TPK, and have a happy Halloween!


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