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  • Writer's pictureGraylie Events

How to Make Easy, Eco-friendly Leaf Placecards

Leaf placecards are a great alternative to the traditional paper placecards. There are so many advantages to using leaves but what I like the most is they are 100% compostable while still being beautiful! So much waste is generated when creating traditional placecards and that waste is used for such a short period of time before it is set aside and discarded. You don't have to worry about the waste generated from leaf placecards because leaves are 100% compostable.

Leaf placecards are also very versatile. They can be created to be elegant for a wedding, funky for a dinner party, or holiday themed. The only materials needed are some leaves from your neighborhood and a permanent marker. The rest is up to you!

leaf placecards, compostable placecards, leaf decorations
Leaf placecards are great for any occasion!

As I prepared for this project, I practiced on many different leaves with many different markers and I have summarized all of my expert tips into this article. I hope you find it useful!

The Leaves

When choosing your leaves, feel them with your hands. They should feel thick and waxy. If you select leaves that are thin, they will dry out or fold up quickly. Thin leaves are also very difficult to write on because they move easily under the pressure of the marker. I personally used leaves from an Andromeda plant that I had near my house with excellent results.

leaves, examples of thick leaves, examples of thin leaves
Examples of thick, waxy leaves and thin leaves

Expert Tip: Don't pull the leaves off of the branch when you collect them. Instead, collect many small branches off of the plant and put them in a vase with water until you are ready to write the names. The leaves will stay healthy for at least a couple weeks in this condition. If you were to pull the leaves off, they would dry out within 12-48 hours making them much more difficult to work with.

branches of leaves in water, vase of leaves, how to keep leaves fresh
Put the branches of leaves in a vase of water.

The Marker

You'll want to select a permanent marker as they write more easily on the leaves and the ink stays put. I found that paint pens worked best. Paint pens are made for writing and decorating on all types of surfaces, including leaves. I went with a medium line tip and an assortment of metallic colors. Paint pens come in all different colors and finishes so you should choose yours based on your wedding or event color scheme.

Expert Tip: Keep the paint fresh and full on the tip of the pen by pressing it down on scrap paper after each leaf. This keeps the lines smooth and the color solid when you write.

The Process

I recommend doing a trial run before your wedding or event to make sure the leaves work well with the markers you have chosen. You'll want to verify the following:

  • The leaves are large enough for what you want to write on them

  • The leaves are relatively easy to work with - watch out for leaves with thick veins that make it difficult to write on

  • The marker writes easily on the leaves

  • The marker color is easy to see on the leaves

Once you have verified your materials will work well, you'll want to collect all the branches of leaves that you think you'll need. Put the branches in a vase with water until you are ready to write the names. Once you are ready to write the names, you could either pluck the leaves off right before you write the name or you could write the name on the leaves while they are still on the branch. Which one you do will depend on how soon you need the placecards. If you plan to use the placecards within 24 hours, then plucking the leaves off before writing the names would be fine. If you won't need the placecards for at least a day, I recommend leaving the leaves on the branches. By leaving them on the branches, you can put the branches back into the vase of water to keep the leaves fresh.

Expert Tip: To keep the placecards organized on the branches, write the names on the leaves such that they align with the seating assignments. For example, everyone at table 1 would go on the first branch of leaves, everyone at table 2 would go on the second branch and so on. This can save you a lot of sorting time down the road if your party is for more than 50 guests.

That's all there is to it! With leaves from your backyard and a permanent marker, you can create ecofriendly placecards for any of your upcoming celebrations.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other blog posts for tips and tricks on how to make your wedding or event more ecofriendly!

'Til next time

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