With the holiday season and fall weather approaching, it’s time to decorate for Thanksgiving by making this Easy DIY Fall Leaf Banner. This banner would be the perfect edition to your home this fall. It can be customized using a Cricut, plus I’ve got other tips that make creating this banner even easier! Follow along and learn how to make your own and also get the files to make this same Cricut Project at the end of this post.
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Supplies You’ll Need
- 3 different types of paper, here is what I used (I got all at my local Michaels store)
- Two 12×12 glitter sheets for the leaves
- One 8.5×11 rose gold foil sheets for the circles (purchased in a pack of 50 cause it’s so pretty)
- One 8.5×11 black cardstock sheet for the letters (purchased in a pack of 50)
- Xyron Sticker Maker (Check out this video on YouTube of the updated Xyron Sticker Maker)
- Optional: Double stick tape (ATG Runner is one of my favorites) or Tacky Glue if you aren’t using the Xyron Sticker Maker
- Cricut cutting machine (Check out my review here)
- Fall Leaf Template OR Cricut project link (get both in my FREE resource library)
- Cricut cutting mats (standard grip and light grip)
- Mini clothespins
- Jute or other string
- 3M Command Decorating Clips
Get Started to Make a Fall Leaf Banner
For this project, three different layers of paper will be used to create the banner. I found this gorgeous glitter paper in single sheets at my local Michaels craft store. It almost looks like wood grain, but it’s glitter color reminded me of the fall. I used that paper for the fall leaves and two sheets of 12×12 paper will be needed.
Then I used one sheet of rose gold foil cardstock for the circles and one sheet of black cardstock for the letters. The banner will spell out the word THANKFUL, but you can customize it to say whatever you would like.
Choose your color scheme for your project when you are picking out your paper. Pick out some papers with different color, patterns, or texture and see if they coordinate. Also, using paper from a scrapbook kit with colors you like helps to keep a coordinated look. When I tested this project, I used designer cardstock paper from a My Minds Eye line that was 10 years old! It ended up looking really good too!
After selecting the colors, also decide on the size you want the project. For the THANKFUL banner in this project, each leaf measured 5.5 x 5.5 inches. Once spread out and finished, the banner I created hangs approximately 5ft wide. But, you can adjust the length depending on how close you hang the leaves together.
Step 1: Upload the Fall Leaves Custom Image
The first thing to do is cut out the fall leaves for the background of each letter. Since we are spelling THANKFUL, you will need to cut 8 leaves. You can get a copy of the fall leaf template from my FREE resource library. Sign up at the bottom of this post to get the password.
Once you download the fall leaf template, or use one that you find on your own, it needs to be imported into Cricut Design Space. Be sure to check for any blemishes on the file you are using and use the Contour button to remove those parts so they don’t cut on your project.
NEED HELP? If you’ve never imported your own custom image, follow along with this tutorial. I walk through the exact steps on how to upload this fall leaf for this project into Cricut Design Space. This includes also info on how to correct blemishes and use the Contour feature.
Step 2: Prepare the Fall Leaves to be Cut on Two Sheets of Paper
I know this sounds simple, but Cricut decides to cut projects however it thinks is the most efficient. However, I’ve found that it is not always efficient. In fact, the first time through this project, Cricut Design Space put one leaf on a cutting mat. That meant I would have needed 8 sheets of paper just to cut the leaves. That’s not efficient!
So, I use my handy paper saving hack (check out the full tutorial to save paper in Cricut Design Space if you want to learn more) to cut out the fall leaves. Since the glitter paper for the fall leaves are 12×12, I was able to fit 4 leaves on each paper.
To trick Cricut into cutting four leaves on one sheet, simply use the ATTACH function. First, organize four leaves in a space that is no larger than an 11.5 x 11.5 inch square. Some leaves may need to be rotated first to make them all fit. Don’t worry, you can get the leaves pretty close together when cutting on cardstock paper.
Step 3: Cut the Fall Leaves
Now the fun part, cut the fall leaves on the Cricut. If you are using the link to my Cricut project (get it in my FREE resource library at the end of this post), then all of the elements will be included in the Design Space Area. Hide any other elements in Cricut Design Space by clicking on the “eyeball” to change the setting to invisible. Leave only the two groups of fall leaves in the project area, then click MAKE IT. Double check that your material size is selected as 12”x12”, prep your cutting mats with the paper you want to use and click CONTINUE.
TIP: If you are using cardstock, you can use the standard grip cutting mat (the green one). If you are using lighter weight cardstock or a thinner paper, try using the light grip cutting mat (the blue one). Just BE CAREFUL when using a new cutting mat. Even the light grip blue mat is still super sticky when it’s brand new. Sometimes I like to “dirty up” the mat before using it.
Follow the prompts to connect your Cricut, check that your blade is set and your paper is set to match your paper type. Load your cutting mat and click the Cricut Go button to start cutting the leaves. When the Cricut is done cutting the first mat, unload it. Then load the second mat and paper to cut the rest of the leaves.
TIP: When peeling your leaves off the mats, especially if they are super sticky, try turning it over and peeling the mat back from the paper. This also helps so that the paper doesn’t curl or bend. You can also use the scraper or other Cricut tools to help you get the paper off the mat.
After removing the leaves from the cutting mats, set them aside. It’s now time to work on the circles.
Step 4: Create the Circles in Cricut Design Space
Now it’s time to create the circles that will go behind the letters. Add a Circle from the SHAPE button on the left side panel. The circle should be approximately 2.5 inches wide. Use the duplicate button to make 8 circles total.
TIP: To keep your project area organized, select a different color for the circles so that you can see that they look different and will end up on different paper than the leaves. This will also help the Cricut organize what elements will be cut on the same paper. The color selector can be found in the top menu next to the “Linetype” dropdown. (See the arrow in the photo below where to find this section.)
Step 5: Cut the Circle Shapes
Similar to the leaves, the circles will need to be set into position to fit efficiently on the paper you’ll be using. I had an 8.5×11 paper, so I organized the 8 circles so they would all fit on the paper and used the ATTACH function. Follow along with the Paper Saving Hack for the Cricut tutorial if you aren’t sure how to do this. You can see below how I used a rectangle shape as a guide to be sure I fit within the size of an 8.5×11 paper.
Hide all other elements, then click MAKE IT. Next it’s time to prepare the mat. I used a standard grip green mat and put the 8.5×11 rose gold foil cardstock on the mat. I also made sure the circles on the screen were still within the area of my paper (8.5×11). Once the mats are ready, click CONTINUE. Follow the on screen prompts to connect your Cricut, check your tools, load your paper, and begin cutting.
Don’t forget, if you are having trouble getting the circles off the mat or they are sticking try these tips. Turn the mat over and peel back the mat from the paper so the paper doesn’t curl. Try using the scraper or spatula tool to get the circles off the mat.
Step 6: Create the THANKFUL Letters
Now you will write out the THANKFUL letters. This part is so much fun picking out great fonts. You can use any of the fonts in Cricut Design Space. There are two free fonts plus other fonts that you can purchase. Also, there are a lot of fonts that are available if you subscribe to Cricut Access. However, you can also use a lot of the fonts that are already loaded into your computer!
When adding text, click on the Font dropdown menu. Then, look across the top and instead of selecting “All”, change it to “System”. That will show you all of the fonts that you have loaded on your computer. The best part about this is you can use any custom fonts you have added to your computer.
For this project, I downloaded the “Playfair Display SC” font from Google Fonts. I uploaded it to my computer, then opened the Cricut Design Space and it was loaded under the System Fonts menu.
After typing out the word THANKFUL and selecting the font style, resize the text to be approximately 2.5 inches in Height. You can use the resize arrow button or the enter 2.5 in the Height size box in the top menu bar. Also, select the color of the text to all be one color that is different than the leaves or the circles. This will help to tell the Cricut that it will be cut on a different color.
Next the letters need to be separated. To do this, select the text, then click on the UNGROUP button from the layers panel. Now each letter is able to be moved on its own.
Step 7: Cut the THANKFUL Letters
Hide all the elements that have already been created except the THANKFUL letters. Click on MAKE IT. Notice that I didn’t use the ATTACH feature this time. There is another method that you can use to adjust where content can be cut. If the Cricut places all of your elements on the same cutting mat, then you can follow these steps to organize where each element should be cut.
Since the letters are being cut on an 8.5×11 sheet, I moved each letter around on the Mat Prep screen so that they stayed within the area of where an 8.5×11 sheet of cardstock will be placed. Simply click and drag the letters around until they are in the appropriate location.
This is the ONLY place where you can move objects around and the Cricut will follow where you place them exactly on the mat. The benefit to doing it this way is ONLY when the Cricut thinks everything can fit on one mat. If it decides not to fit everything to one mat, then you should follow the tutorial using the ATTACH function.
Once the cutting mat is organized on the screen, prepare the mat to be loaded, then click CONTINUE. Follow the on-screen prompts and cut the letters. When this step is done, and your mat is unloaded take extra care to remove the letters from your mat. If they are sticking, try to use tweezers or the spatula to get under the letters.
Step 8: Build Each Fall Leaf for the Banner
This part is super fast and fun if you use a Xyron. If you haven’t used a Xyron before, it will change your crafting LIFE! The Xyron is a simple crank machine that allows you to turn anything into a sticker. They even have an updated version compared to mine that is more versatile! Check out this YouTube video for more info (I’m adding this updated version to my Christmas wishlist right now!)
Each circle and letter should be inserted into the Xyron face up and cranked through the machine. Once it comes out the other side, cut the end of the strip of the sticker sheet.
Then, rub your hands or fist over all the elements before removing the top plastic sheet. If you don’t have a Xyron, you can use double stick tape, scrapbooking adhesive, or tacky glue to create each fall leaf banner.
After peeling off the plastic top of the Xyron sheet, start to layer the circles on top of the leaves. Then peel and stick the letters and place them on each circle. Some of the letters will overlap the circle onto the leaf from the design of the letter.
Step 9: Put Together the Thankful Fall Leaf Banner
Now it’s time to put it all together. Measure out the banner length you want by laying out the letters across a flat surface. Then cut a piece of Jute or other string a little longer than the banner.
Now connect each leaf to the banner using the clothespins. I folded over the stem part of the leaf so that the jute string was underneath it. Then I clipped on the clothespin.
Once I finished the project, I decided where I wanted to hang it. I used some 3M Command Decorating Clips and tied off the ends of the string and hung the banner on our mantel.
Thankful Fall Leaf Banner Decor
And you are all done! It may seem like there are a lot of steps above if you make your own banner from scratch in Cricut Design Space. But, if you follow along it will go quickly.
If you are in a pinch for time, you can also just Make the Project immediately in Cricut Design Space. You can get the link to the project in my FREE resource library by joining my mailing list. Find this project and more in my library that is just for email subscribers.
Look for the Project Link called Thankful Fall Leaf Banner and click on the Project Link. It will have all of the elements already built and ready to cut for you. You will need to sort and organize the circles to cut on your size paper (Step 5). You will also need to download the font Playfair Display SC from Google Fonts for the letters to cut (Step 7). Be sure to install the font before working on the project.
Fill out the form below and get access to both the Fall Leaf Template and also find the Cricut Project Link in my FREE resource library.
I would love to see your projects in action! Tag me on Instagram @craftyjulienow – I hope you love this project and can’t wait to see all that you create!