Enjoy Extra Special Fall Leaves As Art! Mod Podge and Stretched Canvas Make It Simple!

Favorite Fall leaves Mounted on Canvas and hung on the wall

Finally!! A WIP completed and hanging on the wall! These very curious and uniquely beautiful fall leaves definitely deserve an extra special display!

Beautiful unique fall leaves collected and pressed/dried and  preserved using Mod Podge

Having never before found leaves with such peculiar patterns and lovely coloration, I just HAD to pick them from their tree and bring them home! Once I pressed and dried them for a few weeks, I sealed them in Mod Podge, which not only restored their gorgeous colors, but also their original leafy suppleness.

And then a period of casting about trying to find the perfect way to display them. Actually, I have been "casting about" for well over a year!

Preparations for mounting fall leaves on canvas

At some point this past winter, I stumbled on a great sale - packages of mini canvas stretched onto little wooden stretcher bars. They were available in several sizes and shapes. Perfect for displaying my leaves!!

Creating the little canvas "frames" is so easy and all that is needed - besides pretty pressed and dried leaves: Mod Podge (I prefer original formula in Matte finish), small size stretched canvas, and matte finish acrylic spray.


NOTE: Pressed/dried leaves will keep for quite a long time - I have stored them successfully for a couple years between layers of newspaper. However, in the case of these leaves, once dried, I sealed them front and back in a layer of Mod Podge to reduce any chance of breakage.

If you decide to mount leaves onto stretched canvas, I recommend you seal them front and back with Mod Podge before mounting. Don't get in a hurry to get them on the wall!!! Letting them dry thoroughly - 48 hours is good. (At least 24 hours for each side.)

NOTE: If you purchase stretched canvas that has not been treated with a coat of gesso, it will be necessary to brush on a gesso coat and let it dry thoroughly before proceeding.

1. Play with canvas shapes and leaves until you create a pleasing grouping. (I like to make tiny marks with pencil as placement guides.)

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvases

2. Brush an even layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the canvas. I apply a fairly generous amount of Mod Podge - not too thin but not globs of it either. It is nice to retain the texture of the canvas. Press your leaves into the wet Mod Podge and once you are satisfied with the placement, use the brush to smooth out any little globs or lumps of product. Let dry overnight.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvases

NOTE: Keep an eye on your leaves during the first few minutes of drying as occasionally an edge or tip will detach from the surface.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvases

Press in place for a couple minutes using your finger or..

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvases

Â…the end of a paint brush.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvases

3. Should your composition require that two stems intersect, cut one of them and place the cut ends on either side of the uncut stem so that your leaves and their stems are flat against the canvas.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to small canvases

4. Once the first layer of Mod Podge is completely dry (24 hours), apply a second coat covering the surface of the leaf and the entire top surface of the canvas. (It is not necessary to cover the edges of the canvas with Mod Podge unless you want to.) Let dry overnight.

Using Mod Podge to mount fall leaves to stretched canvas

5. Apply a second coat of Mod Podge, let dry 48 hours and then seal with Matte Acrylic Spray. (I like to seal the top surface AND the edges with acrylic spray - helps keep the edges clean!)

Hang and enjoy!

NOTE: I really wanted the detail of the patterns in this collection of leaves to stand out and therefore I choose to use stark white canvas. However, painting the canvas surface in a complimentary or related color before applying leaves would also create a lovely alternative.

Great information and perfect

Great information and perfect project I pressed some and deco podged and painted scenes on them and needed to gdt ideas for mounting your information helps so much Thankyoufor sharing

Hi, i was asking many that

Hi, i was asking many that could we stick the real leaf in canvas but they said no. I am glad to see like minded and sharing ur ideas too. Happy to imagine. A small clarification. Can i use varnish instead of mod...

Kav!  So happy you will be

Kav!  So happy you will be trying this!  It is very important that your leaves be pressed (between sheets of paper and under heavy books) for at least two or three weeks before applying to canvas.  As for using varnish in place of Mod Podge - I do not know the answer.  I wish I could be of help there.  But it wouldn't hurt to try just one and see what happens!

Your leaf pressing and

Your leaf pressing and mounting are just gorgeous! I have been picking and pressing some colorful maple leaves and putting them on canvass is a great idea. I would like to share them with my family in the tropics since they don't get to see these marvelous fall colors.



I think your relatives would enjoy these as small touches of fall color!!  Just in case - since they are heading for the steamy tropics - might want to apply several coats of acrylic spray - even a couple coats on the back side of the canvas.  Just added protection.  Light coats should be fine.

Hi Pam! Can you recommend an

Hi Pam!
Can you recommend an acrylic spray? I tried to inquire at Home Depot but was at a loss for the proper spray. So many choices!

Would a regular diluted crafting glue be enough substitute for Mod Podge?

Michelle, I have never tried

Michelle, I have never tried to substitute any product for Mod Podge.  It does such a great job for what it is designed to do - I stick with it.  As for acrylic spray, I have always used either Americana Acrylic Sealer/Finisher (Matte or gloss) by DecoArt OR I have used Plaid Patricia Nimrocks Decorative Crafts Clear Acrylic Sealer.  Both work equally well for the projects I am into.  But I do think your best bet for finding a suitable product would be to purchase Mod Podge and the Acrylic spray at a craft supply shop like Michaels or JoAnn.  And if you do not live close to a craft shop - Plaid has a web site and you can order product there.  

Wow, these leaves are

Wow, these leaves are amazingly beautiful! I so enjoyed preserving leaves last year using your great instructions, just may have to look for cool leaves like yours :-).

You really found some unique

You really found some unique patterned leaves - beautiful. Displaying them on canvas is a great way to show them off.

Hi Pam this is cool and a

Hi Pam this is cool and a brilliant ide to glue those beautiful leaves of yours on canvas as art. Love it, and such a great tute you've made!!!!
thank you for the sharing, and have fun with surching and picking up new leaves;-D

I LOVE this! If I see any

I LOVE this! If I see any nice leaves outside, you can be sure I'll be pasting them down this fall. If I can find nice vibrant orange colors like yours, I'll prep a canvas with some royal blue - will look fabulous. Thanks for a great project - it's simple & beautiful and totally doable without hours of prep (which means I'll actually get something finished!)

Ooooh, gorgeous! The leaves

Ooooh, gorgeous! The leaves are so unusual and pretty. Can't wait to try mod podging some myself. :D

Gorgeous! At first, I thought

Gorgeous! At first, I thought those leaves were artificial. I've never seen anything quite like those patterns before. What a great way to display those amazing leaves!

Where's the "LOVE" button

Where's the "LOVE" button when you need it?! Thank you for sharing...

Those leaves are so

Those leaves are so beautiful! I wonder how/why their colors changed the way they did in those sorts of strongly defined patches - so pretty.
Another really great idea and brilliant tutorial. I really must try and track down mod podge here in the UK, I'm sure I've seen it but it's not a common product in most art shops.

Joanie!  I wish i knew why

Joanie!  I wish i knew why these leaves turned in the way they did.  I have never seen leaves with these kinds of color patterns and pools before or since.  

I do understand that something called wood glue (like Elmer's Glue here in the USA) combined with a little water works much the same way.  I have not yet tried it however.

Love this idea! :)

Love this idea! :)

Thank you Silvia!  Knowing

Thank you Silvia!  Knowing how much you love seeing art and beauty in nature, I was thinking of you while I was gathering these leaves.  I am sure you would have rescued and preserved them too!