DIY Autumn Leaves Thanksgiving Place Cards

North Carolina is known for beautiful Fall foliage, and this year has not disappointed! Pretty much every time I head outside, I want to pick up all the leaves and make a million craft projects - they may technically be “dead,” but these colors will certain bring your home to life! Last year, on a whim, I picked up a bunch of fallen leaves and made place cards for Thanksgiving dinner later that day - this year, we’re planning a little further ahead so I thought I’d put together a DIY post for you featuring our very popular Autumn leaf calligraphy place cards. Our friend Carley at CZ Invitations just posted a new blog with a bunch of Holiday Place Card ideas, so check them out for some more ideas as well!

autumn leaves place cards


This part is actually pretty simple - we have most of these supplies linked on our Supply Page, as well as here for you (yep, some of these are Affiliate links that help us keep up the free information!).

  • Any old Paintbrush

  • Gold leaf paint - We used this one, but if you can’t wait for Amazon Prime then head over to Michael’s and grab the Martha Stewart brand!

  • Gold Brads - We have this mixed set and like that it works with whatever hole punch we need for various projects. You’ll want to use the mini ones for this DIY, but there are even a few different sizes of those, so make sure it works with your hole puncher!

  • Hole Puncher - You can’t go wrong with a 1/8” or 1/4” (standard size) hole punch! I used the 1/8” since my leaves are on the smaller side.

  • Cardstock - Doesn’t matter too much what you used! I used some cream tented place cards that I had leftover from a calligraphy order.


Truly, you could do this DIY with almost any leaves you have nearby! We have a lot of maple trees around, and they produce really vibrant colors, so I used those. Try to find ones that are 3-6” long, not extremely brittle, and whatever colors you like best! You may have the best luck if you pick the leaves on Thanksgiving morning, and make sure you get some extras as they can be somewhat fragile. I broke one or two in the hole punching and assembly processes.

autumn leaves
fall leaves

Writing Tools

Use whatever is comfortable to you! We created 3 versions with some of our favorite tools:

  1. UniBall Signo Gold Gel Pen - Just like a normal pen! Go over your “downstrokes” (anywhere that your pen goes down) for a faux-lligraphy look!

  2. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen - My absolute favorite brush pen to use. Press down harder when you’re writing downward to get those thick and thin contrast lines.

  3. Dr. Martin’s Iridescent Copperplate Gold Ink + Brause Blue Pumpkin Nib - If you’re comfortable with pointed pen nibs, this is a great gold ink to use!

brush pen
gold calligraphy ink

The Do-It-Yourself Steps

1. Start by prepping your leaves.

Cut the stems down and hole punch close to the middle near the stem.

gold brushed place cards

2. Next, brush the gold paint onto your paper.

Less paint will get you that dry brushy effect - cover the bottom and then make light sweeps upward.

3. Wait until the paint dries.

In the meantime, you can learn juggling, play a game on your phone, join our email list (below), or maybe even get some chores done around the house (just kidding, have a snack instead - you’ve worked hard!).

4. Once the paint has dried, slice the paper into strips.

We went with 1” based on the size of our leaves, and our dislike for complicated math. We used our favorite mini Fiskars cutter, basically the best tool in our entire office!

thanksgiving diy place cards
hole puncher
gold brushed calligraphy

5. Write your names, and hole punch the ends of the strips.

6. Pat yourself on the back and get another snack if you need to. This is hard work!

7. Assembly time!

Place your brad into the name card, then line it up with the hole in the leaf. The leaves will be very fragile, so gently clamp the brad by separating the two tines in the back, like so!

8. Repeat as necessary (including the snacks) until all names are done.

9. Practice your humble face, cause you’re gonna get a lot of compliments on these babies!

placce cards for holidays
greys anatomy place cards

Let us know what you think and make sure you tag @designbylaney if you make these yourself! Just remember, unlike every other thing on the plate at Thanksgiving dinner, these beauties are not edible ;)