The autumn leaves are just starting to fall this week – perhaps a week later than last year, but still in time for Halloween.

I’m a little bit embarrassed to post this because it’s so incredibly simple, but the glow from the lights is so lovely and it’s one that little ones could definitely do with a little bit of help.

I was inspired to try this first last year, because the leaves were just so beautiful and bright. It seemed a shame for them to be swept away – I wanted to bring some of their colour inside.

"And the leaves that are green turn to brown..."

“And the leaves that are green turn to brown…”

You’ll need:

  • Some jam jars or Kilner jars
  • Leaves in different shapes, sizes and colours
  • Some string, twine or ribbon
  • Tealights or battery-powered tealights
  • Something to weight the bottom of the jars – rice, sand or dried split peas all work well


First, lay out the leaves on a table so you can see all the colours and patterns.

(You may wish to take a little Fotherington-Tomas moment to admire nature’s beauty. Hello leaves, hello sky.)

Then comes the fun bit. Layer three or so of the leaves to show off their colours and shapes. Mix and match them ’til you’re happy with the effect.


Pro tip: Large leaves like the sycamore ones here curl inward on themselves as they dry – so if you use them “wrong side” up then they’ll curl naturally around the jar, for a good fit.

When you’re happy with your choice, cut a length of string that’ll go comfortably twice around the jam jar and lay it flat out on the table. Then place the leaves, face down, on top of it, and the jar on top of the leaves.



Time to do the back now. Select another set of leaves and place them on the jar.


Holding them in place, bring the string up on either side.


Then wrap the string once again around the jar and leaves and tie it firmly.


That’s it.

You can also sew together leaves using the string and a large darning needle, like this:


And then overlap them so they’ll wrap neatly (ish) around a jar:


So it ends up having a kind of leafy ombre effect:


(Kind of.)

And when they’re put together, and the lights go down, the glow is rather lovely.

Leaf-wrapped lanterns

Cosy glow.

Obligatory candle safety statement: Please don’t leave candles unattended. Don’t let the leaves overhang the top of the jars. Don’t burn them for so long that the jars get hot. Keep them out of the reach of children. Maybe don’t do this at all, in fact, because you don’t want your lovely home to burn up in a huge leaf-lantern fireball.