Hey everyone, things are slowly but surely getting back to normal here in my sanctuary. Mostly. There are still projects and repairs to be done after Irma, but that’s just the real life of home ownership.  There’s always something that needs doing. Today’s post is about bringing some fall into your home. It’s also one of the easiest projects I’ve done in awhile. And uses one of my favorite decor items…..old books. And no paint. gasp! No paint!

Remember cutting out paper doll chains in elementary school?  This project is like that……only different. OK….. it’s kind of like that. You’ll be cutting on a fold but your leaves will be separate. OK, it’s nothing like cutting out paper doll chains! But it IS easy.

I pick up old books regularly  at thrift stores. For $1.00 or less, an old book can be used in multiple ways, from acting as a riser for small lamps, plants and statues, to providing gift wrap, or paper for making paper mache. The muted color of old covers adds a sense of history to rooms and bonus! makes you look all Miss Smarty Pants and well read in the process. Larger books on birds and plants offer inexpensive art  by framing pages. Or frame a page that contains a passage that has special meaning to you.

I used to have an extreme dislike of cutting up old books. I still won’t destroy pages of most. I have a couple of stacks that give me a seemingly endless supply of project material. I’ll often scan and copy pages for projects. To me, destroying a book is akin to kicking a puppy. And I don’t kick puppies. But even I have to face the fact that an out of date atlas has served its purpose…. so it goes into the scrap pile for projects. And some old books are in such disrepair that using them for projects is actually a good thing. Recycling it so that the whole book doesn’t go into the landfill. I used both for this project, an out of date atlas that I’ve used for a couple other projects and a water damaged older book with discolored pages.  The color of those pages was perfect for adding some contrast.

You will need: books of your choice. Sharp scissors, fall leaf templates, or pressed and dried leaves to use as a template, a marker or pencil, and string, twine or ribbon.

First, fold your book pages in half and then trace the shape of the leaf being careful to put the top of the stem on the fold. (If you are using real leaves and there is no longer a stem, just draw one.)  Cut out your shape, making sure not to cut through the fold. You’ll end up with two leaves joined at the top of the stem. You don’t have to be precise. Just cut around the  lines you’ve drawn. Some of mine ended up with the pen outline still showing. I just turned them over and re-creased so that the pen markings were on the inside. The tracing lines can’t be seen. Or maybe they can and I wasn’t wearing my glasses….. If you are OCD, just cut ON the line. Or inside it. Perfect fall leaves from book pages!

Cut as many as you need to make a banner. Tie your string or twine on your mantel, across a shelf, along a buffet or bannister…..you get the idea. Then simply drape your leaves over the string. Slide them on the string evenly. That’s it. It can’t get any simpler than this project. Unless someone else does it for you…… I’m looking at you, Mr B. He loves when I eyeball him with a pair of scissors in hand. He gets really excited.

I used both the atlas pages and the discolored book pages so my leaves would have different colors. This project is one you can enjoy with your kids. Just make sure they use scissors with the rounded tips if they are under 10. “Stop running with those scissors, you’ll put someone’s eye out!!!” Oh, sorry, lost myself for a minute.

Live in an area without autumn leaves? Add extra book page leaves to displays


You can use construction paper or heavy gift wrap, kraft paper or butcher’s paper as well. There’s really no limit to the kinds of paper you can use with the caveat that it be sturdy enough to be folded and take a crease without tearing.

I found my templates online. Just google “leaf templates” and download and print your favorites. Cut them out and you have your template. You can also use real leaves or a craft wood leaf from Michaels, Joannes or Hobby Lobby.

This technique could also be used at Christmas. Think stars, mittens or angels. Valentines Day hearts. Easter bunnies. You get the idea.

I cut more than I needed and used the extras on my old galvanized “bulletin board” that found a temporary home for fall in the dining room. Or place one or two in a bowl of pine cones. Hey! I don’t live in an area with gorgeous fall leaves. I gotta make my fall leaves. Don’t judge.

This old piece of galvanized metal framed in old wood takes on an autumn with leaf cut outs

Create the home you see in your heart. You deserve a sanctuary no matter where you live.

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Wife, Mother and Grandmother, lover of junking and vintage stuff, photography, music, books, and critters. I heart Hersheys, Barqs Rootbeer and Keds. Join me as I create my own suburban sanctuary and help you create one too.

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