No Thanks
Keep In Touch With

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Leaf Print Tablecloth

Martha Stewart Living Television

In the fall, when fire-colored leaves in shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown light up trees and cover the ground, the woods seem to glow. Whether you are walking in the woods or raking the lawn, the world feels alive with color. Using leaves for craft projects is one way to capture the season's beauty. Fallen leaves can be used as stamps to decorate a tablecloth. Through using a simple technique, their raised, veined undersides can create wonderful designs on fabric.

Collect leaves of various shapes and sizes, and use only the best specimens. You'll need fabric paints in fall colors, such as brown, dark green, and deep red. You can customize your own colors through blending the paints.

To make your tablecloth design, experiment by moving the leaves around on the fabric. You can create a border, but covering the entire tablecloth with leaf prints is also lovely.

Tools and Materials
Light-colored cotton or linen tablecloth
Prewashed leaves of various sizes and shapes (make sure they are not brittle)
Fabric paint
Sponge brushes
Paper towel, parchment paper, or kraft paper
Brayer or rolling pin
Muslin or scrap fabric (optional)

Leaf Print Tablecloth How-To
1. Use a sponge brush to lightly coat the veined underside of your leaf with fabric paint.

2. Place the leaf, paint side down, onto the tablecloth. Cover the leaf with kraft paper, parchment paper, or a paper towel to prevent the paint from getting on the brayer or rolling pin.

3. Roll the brayer over the paper a few times, firmly pressing the painted leaf onto the fabric. Keep the paper as still as possible; if it shifts, the paint beneath the leaf will smudge. Lift up the paper and the leaf.

4. Repeat the process, using a different leaf and different piece of paper for each new print.

5. Before heat-setting the paint, wait 24 hours. With the pattern side down, press the cloth with an iron set at medium high. Protect your ironing board by covering it with a piece of muslin or scrap fabric first.

Comments (8)

  • louly309 26 Nov, 2011

    Does anyone know if i could use acrylic paint than fabric paint? Cuz i've used textile paint and did the same steps and ironed the cloth , then i washed it but the paint were smudged and the whole cloth was colored not it's original color which is off white

  • catglass 20 Sep, 2008

    Does anyone know if you can use fabric paint on material other than linen or cotton--such as a polyester blend that doesn't need ironing?

  • Sandraew 18 Sep, 2008

    What a wonderful idea, thanks! Thanksgiving is coming soon in Canada. This would be perfect for decor and to create the right ambiance.

  • sheltab 18 Sep, 2008

    Oh, my goodness, talk about stepping back into my childhood. We made napkins and placemats this way for our mothers for Thanksgiving when I was in elementary school. That would be -- hmmmm -- 56 years ago. It is a wonderful, festive and useful crafts. It pleases the crafter and the receiver. Thanks for bringing this one back.

  • ElyseLucie 17 Sep, 2008

    Purchase fabric paint from Dharma Trading: - Fabric paints are made just for fabrics - fabric stays soft - must heat set - not a stiff acrylic - don't use acrylic paints - acrylics dry hard on fabric. Prewash tablecloth before painting for best paint adhesion. Brands are Setacolor, Jacquard textile, Lumiere metallics,

  • eileenbartnick 17 Sep, 2008

    To Curlygirl222,
    The type of paint used is acrylic. There are many brands - a well-known one is Ceramacoat. Many colors and after the heat setting the cloth and paint is washable. I would also suggest adding a fabric medium, which will make the paint soft to touch after laundering instead of "crusty" feeling. You would also have to follow the laundering specs for the tablecloth. Have fun and good luck!

  • curlygirl222 17 Sep, 2008

    Do you have any suggestions about the specific type of paint to use or washability?

  • Linkhart 17 Sep, 2008

    I have made these bags by myself,with my grandchildren all in an effort to have people be aware and use them for shopping instead of getting paper or plastic bags at the super market. I always put "B Y O B" on the handle, bring your own bag. Wonderful gift to give to anyone anytime. Maria Linkhart