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How to Make Colorful Autumn Leaf Coasters for Thanksgiving

The seasons are changing—which makes it a magnificent time to take a walk and see what your neighbor’s trees are up to. Their fallen leaves are like small paintings.

As I surveyed the sights on my street, I wished it was Thanksgiving, but that was yet a month away. A few thousand leaves later, still inspired by nature, I came up with a way to preserve this amazing offering, perhaps to enjoy with morning coffee. . . making your own leaf coasters!

Here’s how to do it:

At their peak, collect the prettiest leaves you can find. Choose fresh, flat leaves in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Back at home, arrange them in a square montage on a contrasting background (I used black, but ivory or brown would work too).

Since most leaves lose the intensity of their colors within hours, compose your arrangement quickly. Take a few photos! For now, that’s it.


The next step is to size each photo to about 4” square on the computer, and then print out copies of the photos on 60 lb. white cover stock.

Using a Pitt Faber Castell bullet marker (in gold or copper) draw on your photo and create an outline with light pressure around the leaf montage shape.


Then, fill in the negative space of the photo with either gold or copper in a scribble design. You can’t go wrong, just let the pen dance loosely and randomly over the area, leaving a little open space.

In the photo below, although I used a gold pen on the left coaster, the gold ink turned to green on the black toner—perhaps through a chemical reaction?


Then, laminate and trim!

Just when I thought I was finished, I discovered the need for words: listen, pray, thank, love, and share. I personally like “listen.” I want to listen to my family, to guests, and to God’s spirit as we feast on the earth’s bounty.

You might ask your family for their own special word, or choose several that invite sharing. Then, a day before turkey day, write your word(s) on a small magnolia leaf with a Faber Castell Pitt brush.


The magnolia leaves last several days at least. Hopefully there’s some nearby, if not, try a similar (fairly thick) leaf.

Now even your morning coffee can have a Thanksgiving theme. Take a few moments and forget your busy agenda—give thanks, and have a blessed day!

Looking for more seasonal crafts featuring calligraphy and hand lettering? Visit my Facebook page, Calligraphy and Design by Phawnda.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

As some of you already know, I work in both oils and colored pencils. My preferred method with oils is a personal adaptation of the Flemish technique, a seven-step process starting with a detailed drawing and going through color glazes and a detailed finishing layer.

It’s a classical method that is slow and careful, producing paintings with a rich, glowing color, life-like detail,. . . read more

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