Make: Gradient Leaf Banners

This morning on a walk with my dog, I realized it was probably the last day for leaves in our neighborhood. They’ve been incredibly glorious this year – HUGE and full of color. So, with my trusty stick collector in tow,  I absolutely STUFFED my pockets to the brim with them (as one does).

My projects this time of year can sometimes get a little…involved. I get so easily carried away by the sheer volume of inspiration, and many a good thought has turned into a time consuming, highly elaborate heap of confusion.  

These gradient leaf banners are a naturally lovely way to celebrate fall or the holiday season and easy for kids and parents to make. | via barley & birch
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This gradient leaf banner happened in the half-hour between my walk and officially starting my workday, and I have to say…I think it’s now one of my very favorite things. (If I do say so myself!) It’s totally uncomplicated and I’m keeping it forever (or…like, until December) to remind me…simplicity (*inhale*) simplicity (*exhale*) simplicity.

It’s a great excuse to get outside, enjoy the last of the leaves, and stuff your pockets with November beauty!

To make your own gradient leaf banners you’ll need:


  • A piece of cardboard, cereal box or heavy card stock
  • Fall leaves and/or assorted nature materials
  • Scissors
  • A glue stick
  • Ribbon or yarn


  • Paint in assorted colors
  • Wire, string or twine (for hanging)

Gradient Leaf Banner Instructions:

  1. Collect natural materials

    We used leaves, sticks, twigs, and pinecones, but you can collect anything you like. You may find some interesting ways to work different collected materials into your banner!

    Having kids look for one range of color is a great outdoor activity, and one of the elements that really gives this natural art it’s own style and beauty, but you can put together any collection you like!

  2. Glue your leaves and twigs to a piece of cardboard and trim

    Using a glue stick, attach your leaves and sticks to a rectangle or square of cardboard – from lightest to darkest (or vice versa) to make a full gradient of color.

    We painted a few of our sticks, but it’s an optional step.

    Once finished, trim away any excess cardboard.

  3. Tie your cardboard banner onto a stick using ribbon

    Using a bit of ribbon, thread, wire or twine, attach your cardboard banner to a long stick.

    We glued grosgrain ribbon on to the back of the cardboard banner/stick, but you can make holes to tie them together, attach with a piece of wire, etc.

  4. Add decorative elements

    Combine colorful yarn, ribbon and/or other items you can tie on, to give your banners a festive, decorative feel!

For another opportunity to explore collaging with an autumn theme, try a photocopied leaf collage or a printed halftone gourd collage! Use up more scrap supplies for a spooky wall hanging with our scrap paper ghost art or make a mixed media bendable bat.

Inspired to head outside? Take our free printable leaf activity kit with you as a mini-book – and make an upcycled nature explorer’s kit to collect small finds along the way. Younger kids will have fun creating mouse mail!

These gradient leaf banners are a naturally lovely way to celebrate fall or the holiday season and easy for kids and parents to make. | via barley & birch
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  1. […] Make- Gradient Leaf Banners (Barley & Birch):  Create an awesome keepsake with this Fall leaf art project. […]

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