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11/4 How to Make a Beautiful Leaf Garland

Monday French Country Crafts

Wax Dipped Fall Leaf Garland

Gather Leaves

For this craft, choose leaves that are still rather supple, skip the ones that are already crispy dry. Also, choose leaves that are still flat avoiding ones that have begun to curl. Gather as many or as few as you'd like. There's no right or wrong and no exact number to make it perfect.

A Box to Dry

While it is possible to dip the leaves and place them on parchment or wax paper to dry, the bit touching the paper tends to lose some of its luster. It also means loss of a little beeswax which could lead to the leaves to brown rather than keep their color. To combat this problem, it is best to hang the leaves to dry.

A cardboard box is perfect for this task. Cut the flaps off one end of the box and open up one end completely. On both sides of the open end, cut 1″ slits into the cardboard. Space these slits about 2 inches apart. String some scrap yarn, garden twine, or other small cord through these slits. These will be the ‘clothesline' for the leaves to drip and dry.

Other Supplies

Beeswax or Paraffin: The leaves will need to be dipped into some kind of wax to preserve them. I always have beeswax on hand, so I go for that. Regular paraffin for making candles will work too. How much you need will depend on the amount of leaves to dip. the wax can always be remelted and reused later if you start with too much.

A Double Boiler: A bowl over a saucepan with water in it works, it doesn't have to be an actual double boiler. You simply need a place to melt the wax and don't want to do this over direct heat.

Paperclips or Clothespins: You'll need something to hang the leaves from the line to dry. I've found that clothespins are too heavy for the garden twine I use but paperclips work just perfectly.

If you're going to make a garland with the dipped leaves you'll also need a fine sewing needle and some thread (I use cotton hand quilting thread but I imagine any thread would work).

Dipping the Leaves

Melt the wax in the double boiler and keep the water in the bottom of the double boiler on a low simmer.

Hold the leaves by the stem and dip into the wax. Coat it completely. Shake off the excess wax and hang it to dry on the line. Repeat until all the leaves are coated.

It may be necessary to place the wax back over the water if it gets too cool and remelt. You'll know when it's getting too cool because it will clump on the leaves.

Let the leaves hang until dry and cool. An hour at the very most, likely much faster.

To Make the Garland

Using the thread and needle, carefully insert the needle through the stems of the leaves. Continue stringing until all the leaves are used up. Slide the leaves along the thread and space as desired. Hang from hooks and display proudly.

DIY Magnolia Leaf Garland

Materials:

12×12 colored cardstock (I used 24 pieces from this pack which yielded 240 leaves)

scissors

leaf template (download here and print at approximately 5 1/2 inches long)

an Xacto knife

a cutting mat

a ruler

12 feet of sturdy twine

hot glue gun

I used 4 sheets each of 6 different colors of card stock and then used a paper trimmer to cut the sheets in half for easier cutting of the leaves.

Then, I used the template to cut the leaves 5 across. I layered about 4 sheets and cut them at once to save some time!

The cutting of the leaves is the longest part, but if you do it while watching your favorite show, it will be done before you know it!

After all the leaves are cut, score them to get a good fold and give them some dimension! Just use a ruler on a cutting mat and make a light cut down the center on the back of the leaf, being careful not to cut through.

Fold your leaves gently along the scored line.

Once you have a nice pile of gorgeous leaves, it’s time to make the garland!

You’ll need a large workspace to spread the garland onto as you go. If you want to make a spectrum pattern of colors like I did, divide your colors evenly. I started with 13 leaves of each color, repeating the pattern to the end. Start with one end of your twine and begin to glue the leaves on, layering them upon each other as you go.

Glue some of the leaves directly to the twine and others to the other leaves to fill in and make the garland full and wide.

When done, just simply cut off the rest of your rope.

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