When the leaves start falling, don’t rush to rake them up—or completely pulverize them by jumping in a pile over and over and over! As tempting as that may be, reserve a handful or two for some fall-inspired DIYing. These 12 ways to use real fall leaves will transform your living space into a fun, fall wonderland that looks just as festive as the outdoors! And don’t worry: while some of these projects list faux foliage as a material, we’re fairly certain that freshly fallen leaves can stand up to each of these projects.

1. Giving Thanks Gold Leaf Garland: We love the sentiment behind this leaf DIY: each gold painted leaf is personalized with something to be thankful for. This beautiful garland acts as a great reminder to pause, say thanks, and celebrate! (via The Sweetest Occasion)

2. Leaf Pillow Cases: Turn leaves into the ultimate fall stamp with just a bit of black fabric paint. This bold leaf graphic transforms these plain, decorative pillows into a stand-out piece of living room decor. (via Butiksofie)

3. Gold Lead Mobile: As you know by now, mobiles aren’t just for nurseries anymore, so do trick out your ceiling with this dashing gold leaf mobile. Don’t the gilded leaves look gorgeous falling from the natural twig hoop?

4. Clay Leaf Bowls: Don’t be intimidated by this super pro-looking DIY clay leaf bowl. We’ll put things into perspective: a 3-year old made this dish. Yep. And it looks really amazing. Kudos to mom who helped every step of the way and who’s fully responsible for its beautiful, iridescent finish, which you can get by spraying gold paint on a base coat of bright acrylic colors. (via Debbiedoo’s)

5. Leaf Place Cards: Save that gold spray paint for this easy DIY that turns fallen leaves into personalized place cards. You can bet that this is how we’ll be dressing up our table for our office feast next week! (Brit + Co.)

6. Painted Leaf Banner: Take the bold approach when it comes to natural leaf garland (we would!). These color block leaves look so clean and modern, they could for sure decorate your room all year long. (via Scrappy Happiness)

7. Leaf Printed Linens: We’re obsessed with this amazing way to customize your Thanksgiving table. An almost ghostly leaf pattern amps up a plain linen table cloth to epic autumn proportions. (via Funtober)

8. Stamped Metallic Leaf Plates: This might be the perfect way to deck out that set of white thrift store plates in time for Thanksgiving. Food-safe metallic paint gives a handsome shine to the stunning natural graphics. (via Wayfair)

9. Painted Fall Leaves: Here’s another one of our favorite leaf DIYs. Tied to twigs with shiny gold, these two-toned leaves would make the ultimate fall centerpiece.(via Love from Ginger)

10. Glitter Leaves Garland: Embrace the dark browns and rich golds of autumn with a glittery twist. Hang this garland anywhere in your pad that could use some extra sparkle. (via 6th Street Design School)

11. Fall Leaves Bowl: This delicate leaf bowl is quite the head turner, all thanks to an ample amount of Mod Podge and a foam ball form. If you want to use real leaves for this DIY, make sure they’re freshly fallen so that they’re flexible enough to bend without breaking. (via Shelterness)

12. Pennant Leaf Garland: We love the idea that a leaf-collecting outing with the fam can turn into a day of making together. Be sure to get the kids involved in this easy DIY, which uses dried leaves to embellish a pennant banner made from old books. (via Simple As That)

Have you used real leaves in a fall-inspired project? Tell us in the comments below!