Stenciling Fall Leaves in the Colors of Autumn

Stenciling Fall Leaves in the Colors of Autumn

Like most people, I adore the colors of fall leaves. But even more specifically, I love leaves that are “mid-change”. The ones that showcase a gradient of colors in green, yellow, orange, and red. So, I decided that I really wanted to try to capture those colors of autumn by stenciling some fall leaves on a cabinet door in my stash.

I found this cabinet door at Habitat ReStore a year ago – it was this gorgeous natural wood that was swimming in a sea of plain white doors

Cabinet door at Habitat ReStore for upcycling into a sign with Fall Sayings and the colors of Autumn

And I knew that the warm, Earthy hue of this cupboard door would be ideal for a Fall sign. AND I could try my hand at stenciling fall foliage, too!

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Fall Sayings and Fall Leaves

First, there was some prep work that needed to be done on the cabinet door. Removing the existing hardware was at the top of my prep list, even though I’ve left it on some of my previous cabinet door projects.

Removing the hardware from a cabinet door before using the stencils for wood signs

Next, it needed a good cleaning. Like many salvaged cabinet doors, there was a lot of grime and splatters to deal with.

I scrubbed off what I could with a cleaning wipe first. Then, I wiped on some Murphy oil soap which left it gorgeous and gleaming.

Cleaning a cabinet door with Murphy Oil soap before stenciling on some fall season quotes

NOW I could break out my stencils and start transforming it!

Using Fall Stencils on a Cabinet Door

I perused several fall stencils with fall sayings on them and settled on one that suited me perfectly. Bright white paint seemed too harsh against the warm wood, so I used the leftover cream paint from this project.

Stencils for wood signs with Fall sayings or fall season quotes on a wood cabinet door

Using a large stenciling brush, I stippled on the paint over the autumn quote. I had to tape it in the center over the largest letters as there was no room on the sides.

Autumn quote on a cabinet door with a fall stencil or stencils for wood signs

I stippled paint around the taped parts before carefully removing the tape and stenciling the remainder of the fall saying. When all was said and done, it looked perfect!

Fall sayings on a cabinet door using a fall stencil as autumn home decor

Now came the fun/scary part – trying to stencil fall leaves in a gradient of colors!

I assembled nearly 10 bottles of craft paint – a couple of greens, as many hues of oranges and yellows that I had, and a dark red.

Lastly, I also grabbed a leaf stencil I had used once before with metallic paint.

Painting the fall leaves in the colors of autumn with a fall stencil on a wooden cabinet door

To capture the colors of autumn in my fall leaves, I taped the stencil on and started in the center of the leaf with a darker green.

I switched stencil brushes and stippled orange paint at the outer edges of the leaf, working my way in towards the green. I overlapped the orange over the green a bit and that was it!

Fall leaves in colors of autumn using stencils for wood signs as fall decor

And the moment of truth – did my first attempt look relatively authentic?

You know what – I LOVED IT!

Stenciling the fall foliage with color gradient on a cabinet door with Fall sayings and a fall stencil

An Autumn Sign with Fall Leaves

I went all the way around the cabinet door, varying between leaf shapes and using different autumn colors of paint.

Even though I always started the same way (in the very center), I sometimes finished the entire leaf and went back with the center color for more overlapping.

Autumn decor by using the stencils for wood signs with fall sayings and fall leaves

Finally, I was done stenciling on the fall leaves and y’all…I am so in love with my cabinet door sign. It’s like a love letter to autumn…

Fall sayings or an autumn quote on a cabinet door and stenciling fall foliage in the colors of autumn

Now, to be fully transparent, I should tell you that it took 2 or 3 days to finish the leaves. I have a limited number of brushes and I worried about constantly layering paint onto the stencil. So, I’d do 3 or 4 leaves at a time, wash everything, and start back up the next day after the brushes had thoroughly dried.

But, I’d do it all again if I had to because it was worth it! I thought about adding some salvaged hinges to the sign for a little visual interest, but I decided the fall leaves shouldn’t be covered up!

Fall decor on a cabinet door with stencils for wood signs and fall sayings in the colors of autumn

What do you think? I know a stenciled sign on a cupboard door isn’t exactly ground-breaking in its cleverness, but project was as much about a craft technique to try than the end result.

And if you’re interested in another easy painting technique for fall decor, you’ll love these decorative gourds I made from glass bottles!

Decorative gourds for harvest decor or autumn decor by painting glass jars and bottles for pumpkin decorCraft on!


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Upcycling a cabinet door with fall stencils of fall sayings by using the colors of autumn on the leaves

Fall Leaves or Fall Foliage with a gradient of colors of autumn by using stencils for wood signs


  1. turned out lovely. You’re smart Sadie!

  2. Very pretty! I love that time when leaves still show their original color, too!

  3. Sadie, you did a beautiful job.

  4. Very pretty Sarah! I love the Fall colors!

  5. vickie l obrien says

    Sadie — I love your email – blog – ideas – they are simple, functional, creative, and most of all beautiful. I’m digging in my stash now for a cabinet door 🙂

  6. Thank you for always sharing such doable projects!! They are always perfect!

  7. Shirley Freeman says

    Thanks for the information.

  8. Wow, this is so beautiful! You’re immensely skilled and creative, Sarah. The fire-y color of autumn leaves is my favorite too. The colors of fall bring the cozy vibe and peaceful thoughts to mind every time.

  9. Oh I love this idea! And I loved that you used an old cabinet door – I’m always looking for new ideas for all the ones I bought from ReStore!

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