This Thanksgiving, whether you’re hosting guests or sharing a meal through Zoom, it pays to dress your table to make the day different, special even. Fall leaves are an obvious and charming decorative element, but if yours is faded or washed away, create your own leaves from accordion-folded paper.
Newsprint sheets, an economical and environmentally friendly material, are thin and therefore easy to fold, and the size will allow you to create oversized sheets. Painting the paper with craft acrylic paint gives it extra strength. Scatter individual leaves in the center of a table or hot glue them onto a ribbon to create a garland. After the holidays, fold the leaves and wrap them for reuse next year.
There is an element of fun surprise to this technique, seeing the leaf shapes you end up with. After you have mastered these basics, create your own models. Experiment with different triangles, squatting or tall. Try to make a stencil in a quarter-circle, smooth, or with scallops.
Step 1. Painting
Paint a few sheets of newspaper. Thin the paint with water if you want to be able to see the newspaper. Depending on their size, you can get four to six sheets from a full sheet.
Step 2. Create the shape of the leaf
Cut a square of paper a few inches larger than the desired size of your sheet and fold it in half. With the crease on the left, draw your freehand design on the right or with a stencil.
For a maple leaf, make a cardboard template using this printable template as a guide and trace it onto the folded paper.
For an almond shaped leaf, to make it without a template, draw a line from corner to corner, diagonally, or you can use this printable template as a guide.
After tracing your shapes, cut out your leaves.
Step 3. Fold
Open your paper and place it face down with the wider side facing up. Flip the paper over and fold the top (the crease on top is three-quarters of an inch but you can make yours thinner or wider) and continue accordion-folding all of the paper.
Step 4. Fold
Hold the paper completely folded like a strip and fold at the existing center crease, so that the ends meet each other.
Step 5. Band
Glue the two ends together from behind.
Step 6. Finish
Let the sheet unfold and admire your work.