A Little Fall Leaf and Mason Jar Re-use Project

Ok!  This may look a bit familiar.

While I sat brushing Mod Podge on dozens of leaves to use on my Fall wreath, I decided to light a little jar candle covered with fall leaves that I made last year to keep me company.

 I enjoyed the warm glow of the candlelight dancing through the leaves so much that I just had to make a bigger one!

But this time I made it with the intention that it could be used the rest of the year for crafty storage!  Or for storing dried peppers or dried mushrooms! 

I used a large, one quart  jar with a two piece canning lid.  During it's life as a candle, I am using only the ring portion of the lid.  Then later, when I am using it for storage, I will be able to seal the contents inside using both parts of the lid.

This has worked so well, I am planning to make a full set of four - one for each season to use to store tea bags, Splenda packets etc. on my kitchen shelf -  keeping them in rotation as candles as the seasons go by.

And since it is so easy to do, I am making some with my two little gingerbread house buddies for their Thanksgiving table!

How to make a Fall Leaf Candle!

All you need to make one:  dried, pressed fall leaves, regular Mod Podge, a jar and a brush.

1. Dry beautiful, colorful fall leaves using this method. Drying should take only about two weeks.

The tutorial linked above includes information for how to dry and press leaves and for coating leaves with Mod Podge after drying. But Mod Podge should NOT be applied to your dried leaves if you are intending to use them for this jar candle project.

Use ONLY dried, pressed leaves that have NOT been coated with Mod Podge when you make this candle jar.

2. Smear Mod Podge all over the sides of the jar.  Do not apply Mod Podge to the bottom or the grooved lid area. (For large areas like this, I prefer using a regular brush, but a foam brush will work also).

3. Place your dry leaf right onto the Mod Podge and press into place.  Brush over the leaf with more Mod Podge.

4.  Continue adding leaves and Mod Podge until your jar is covered with leaves.  I like to overlap a few, but keep in mind that overlap areas do reduce the light that can pass through.  I find that lighter colored leaves work best.  Use the darker leaves as accents.

5. Once you have finished placing your leaves around the jar surface,  use the flat end of your brush to create a stippled pattern in the Mod Podge areas NOT covered by leaves. This step will create a more pleasing pattern than will brush strokes when light shines through these "open" areas on the jar.

6.  Let the candle dry thoroughly and then apply a second coat of Mod Podge, again "stippling" the open areas.

7. Let the jar dry several hours or overnight.  Overspray with acrylic spray. When dry, pop a tea light in the bottom and you are done!

I am thinking that several of these, in different sizes, would be gorgeous on a Fall Party table.  And you can continue using them right through Halloween and  Thanksgiving.

And then... fill them up with buttons, pompoms, fall theme stamps, pumpkin seeds for next year's harvest necklace, orphaned beads....

I hope you enjoy the warm glow of your fall candles as much as I am!



If you are enjoying the ideas in this post, pop over here to see more magic with Mod Podge, fall leaves and food coloring!  

Here is a sneak preview!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring Those "leaves" are not leaves at all! 100% Mod Podge tinted with food coloring.

Or try mounting them to artist's canvas - beautiful way to display leaves on  a wall!  Tutorial here.

Or add frosty sparkle using Crystal Snow and Mod Podge - see how here.


More great ways to use Mod Podge:  Woven Journal covers and these very useful Wall Storage Folders for homework and clippings.

And check out these ideas for fall craft:  Adorable and simple ghosts made using fresh corn husks and pinatas made using gourds.

Added October 17th, 2012!  Good news!  Plaid Brand Mod Podge is available world wide!  Here is a link to a list of international retailers who carry the product.

Plaid International Locator!

This is a wonderful idea! We

This is a wonderful idea! We just picked up some fallen leaves yesterday and I can't wait to try this for our Thanksgiving table this year! Thanks for the idea!

Hello, I just gave the leaf

I just gave the leaf jar project a try today and I ran into a problem that I felt was worth mentioning. I gathered leaves and allowed them to dry and press for about 1.5 weeks. After a allowed the mod podge to dry on them and put them on my jar smeared with mod podge, I found that my leaves were way too dry. They were very hard, even after I tried to bend them a bit to loosen them up. They refused to lay flat and I had to glue them down a few times after my jar was completely dry. I found that the leaves that weren't so dry worked the best.

Thanks for the tutorial!

Hello Adrianne,  And thank

Hello Adrianne,  And thank you for your note.  There are two possible reasons you are having trouble.

First, you must use dried leaves that have NOT been coated with Mod Podge.  Just in case that point might have not been clear to others as well, I have gone in and clarified that point.

I appreciate you bringing this to my attention so that hopefully others will not have a similar experience.  I can see that the Mod Podge coated leaves would not lay flat.

Another problem I have occasionally found is that some species of leaves or very old tough leaves can be somewhat stubborn about staying flat against the jar surface - especially curved surfaces.

I have found that younger more supple leaves or leaves similar to maple work very well. Something like a holly leaf would be impossible!

Again, I appreciate your comment and letting me know that a little clarification would be helpful.

I love your jars with the

I love your jars with the leaves...beautiful.
I tried to follow your blog but don't see a follower button. Is there another way I can do this?

This is a wonderful, easy to

This is a wonderful, easy to make craft with things most of us have lying around! I gathered leaves last week to press with the intention of crafting with them but not exactly sure what I was going to make. This is now a craft I will be trying! I have only recently discovered your blog but it is great! I try to make everything I can and recently started my own blog about my craft adventures. Your blog is a wonderful inspiration, thank you for sharing with us all!

Congratulations! Your project

Congratulations! Your project made it to the top 5 most clicked on crafts for the month of September at Fun Family Crafts! http://funfamilycrafts.com/september-2011-top-posts/

Great idea! Our leaves

Great idea! Our leaves aren't quite to peak yet but will definitely try this. (We have a microwave flower press to dry flowers so I'm going to try it with the leaves, too.) We have some pretty flowers still in bloom so I'm going to try those first for a spring/summer look.

How about using cutout paper snowflakes for a winter theme?

I've also used Elmer's glue with 1/2 water as a mod-podge type finish on other projects.

Absolutely beautiful!!!! LOVE

Absolutely beautiful!!!! LOVE it! What is Mod Podge though?

Can't wait to try spring one

Can't wait to try spring one as my daughters getting married next may

Hi, this is great! I am

Hi, this is great! I am ready to start pressing leaves. I think I found the gifts the children will be giving this year! I was wondering if you used real candles in them. I get nervous about things like that. Thanks.

It is good to always be

It is good to always be cautious when using candles.

If you follow my instructions and only apply mod podge to the outside or your jars, there is no reason you can't burn real candles in them.  I have mine burning right this minute!

I usually use tea lights just to be on the extra safe side.

If you are using a small jar like a one cup jar, then definitely use a tea lite.  If using a quart mason jar, you could use a votiveif you like.  I would NOT use a tall pillar as it is probably best to keep the flame away from the lip of the jar in case a little mod podge sort of peaked over the lip to see what was on the inside!

My friend Lisa lines up sever  (one cup jar size) on her mantle and burns tea lites in them.  Very pretty with the fire burning on a chilly October night.

I love this idea and would

I love this idea and would like to make candles as Christmas gifts. What other materials would you use besides leaves to create a beautiful Christmas gift candle? Thank you!

So man thing's you could use

So man thing's you could use to decorate for all season's, you can use white tissue paper and fold it several times then cut out little piece's and open it, and walla a snowflake... then apply it just like the dried leaves. Also thin wrapping paper that will shine thru works. cut out Santa's or snow men on Christmas paper. take apart silk flower's and paste them. make copies on non sheen photo paper and have picture's of family or a pet... Many many ways to decorate... have fun.. Kat

This is soooooooooo pretty.

This is soooooooooo pretty. None of the leaves have turned color here yet, but when they do, I'll definitely do up a few of these.
Very pretty!

Hi Pam, So warm and

Hi Pam,

So warm and cheerful...can't wait to make some!

What if you'd like to get a quick start...can you use craft leaves in place of real dried leaves..or would that spoil the effect? My girl friends birthday is right around the corner and I'd like to make her one but don't think I can dry any in time for that particular occasion.

Willow!  I don't know!  But

Willow!  I don't know!  But it is worth a try.  If you do try it out with craft leaves, try to find some that are somewhat translucent when held up to the light.  I am thinking craft leaves that are paper based rather than plastic based and not too thick and opaque should work for you.

I just bookmarked and then added this tutorial to my Pinterest.  Maybe you could make your own using this technique.  Again, I would use fairly translucent paper - even tissue paper.  http://www.skiptomylou.org/2008/11/04/leaf-prints/  I LOVE the results she got.

Good luck!

Thanks Pam, I'm thinking now

Thanks Pam,

I'm thinking now (re: my email) that the leaves may be too dark after all.. once they dry if the geranium looks like it will show some light through I'll proceed and just apply them for the best light effect..as you suggested use the darker ones for accent...if not..I'll be off on another leaf hunt!! :)

Why does it have to be Mod

Why does it have to be Mod Pdge? Why not just use super glue or something so that it may dry super quick?

Good question Yvette!  I

Good question Yvette! 

I chose Mod Podge because it dries clear and it remains plyable and I just enjoy working with the product because if needed I can reposition or remove leaves if I wish during the design phase. 

I doubt something like super glue would work and I really wouldn't recommend it for this kind of project because it has to be brushed on all sides of the jar and I don't believe the fumes would be all that great to breath over the time it takes to brush and then apply the leaves.  And as far as I know, brushes, tools and hands can not be cleaned with water.

But there might be other products in the "glue" department that would work.  If you try anything out, and it works, let us know!

In my opinion, overnight is not too long to wait when useing a safe, effective product.

Also, as I can see you want to make this a very quick project, I must remind that the leaves must be pressed and dried for at least a couple weeks before using for this project. Unless you elect to use paper leaves or tissue paper leaves! Do not use freshly picked or fallen leaves.

I'm from Brazil. I loved your

I'm from Brazil.
I loved your project and blog.

great idea!!

great idea!!

Absolutely wonderful idea!!!

Absolutely wonderful idea!!! I just love it! Thank you, so much, for sharing it! I am adding this link to my favorites so I don't forget it and will be making it once the leaves start turning to fall colors!!!

Katy :)

This is lovely! I've got to

This is lovely! I've got to go out and find some leaves for pressing now!

I love the look of this They

I love the look of this They would lokk so nice lined up on my Thanksgiving table. Thanks for the sharing the idea.
My best - Diane

Hey, I really enjoyed this

Hey, I really enjoyed this post.

I tried decoupaging the leaves this weekend onto a round jar but I was having difficulties getting the leaves to conform and stick to the jar. Any Ideas?


Adriane, I have never had


I have never had this problem, but then I am always using well pressed leaves. And I think that is the key. 

When I made candles with Sofia and Antonio, one of the leaves the children had collected in anticipation of the craft day with me was not pressed under heavy books but rather simply allowed to dry between a few newpaper pages.  It also happened to be a very thick, stout leaf.  I found it a bit challenging to get it to lay flat against the surface. 

So I would suggest that pressing under heavy books is key.  And perhaps there are some leaves that work better than others.  Most of my leaves are maple as we have so many, many varities up here in the northwest - and they are responsible for most of the fall color.

Hope this helps.

This is aweseome! What a

This is aweseome! What a cute, quick way to add a little fall glow to the Thanksgiving table!

The leaf candles are

The leaf candles are wonderful! I am excited to make some of these! Thanks for the idea!


cute- I'm on it!

cute- I'm on it!

found you via one pretty

found you via one pretty thing. I love your fall leaf candle idea and am so going to do this. Now I've just got to hurry and collect some leaves before they all turn brown.

I am in love with your wreath

I am in love with your wreath and this candle jar too! You have so many wonderful ideas. Brilliant!

I am actually doing this

I am actually doing this today!!! Yours is great! I just love autumn!

this is really gorgeous! i

this is really gorgeous! i save all of my jars for projects...and I think I may have to collect some leaves today to make these :) Thanks for sharing!

Oh my goodness, same thinking

Oh my goodness, same thinking here. We made leaf lanterns in the beginning of October. We have them all over our house! My girls are fascinated with them. Your tutorial is fantastic! We like to store pencils and schooly nick nack for organization when not in use.


I really like this candle

I really like this candle project, such a simple concept with such lovely results! Very festive and fall-like, I'm looking forward to trying it myself. Thank you much!

ok, I love the wreath, I love

ok, I love the wreath, I love the candle, I love it all. But most of all I love the frosting apocalypse on your little mates' houses.

Thanks Pam, this will be a

Thanks Pam, this will be a great project for school next year...wonderful for K-grade 3 I think. As we have already had our Thanksgiving I'll put it in my project file for next year.

Pam, gosh, you are just full

Pam, gosh, you are just full of such fabulous ideas!! Now I know where Diane gets her talent.

Love your leafy jars.