Fall Leaf Ristra

During our trip to New Mexico, we learned that the strings of chiles hanging pretty much everywhere in the state are called ristras. They make nice decorations and supposedly bring good health and good luck. But their primary use is to dry and store chiles for future cooking.

Trevor was very interested in bringing a ristra back from New Mexico to decorate our house. For a variety of reasons, we did not. I told him we could make a ristra craft instead. We were originally thinking we could use construction paper, but as we were walking home from school, we noticed that the fallen leaves on the sidewalk resembled chiles.


Fall Leaf Ristra


  • red liquidamber leaves
  • cardstock
  • craft glue
  • raffia

How to Make it:

  1. Start by gathering several dozen liquidamber leaves. 

2. Thinking of the leaf as a hand, trim off the 'thumb' and the 'pinkie' to leave just the three center parts. Trim the stem and any brown tips off as well.

3. Starting from the bottom, glue the leaves to the paper with the tips pointed down.

4. Layer the leaves, overlapping each and offsetting them slightly to mimic chiles in a ristra. Gather the raffia together and glue it to the top of the leaf ristra. 

5. Hang and enjoy!


  1. What a great idea!!! I thought it was chiles until you said otherwise!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Nicely done and it looks so much like the real thing! Too bad it's going to get all dried up and brittle... :0(

    1. Steve suggested we dry the leaves flat first, but we're not going to try to store this after fall, so I don't mind if it gets brittle.


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