The Paper Fall Leaf Wreath
In this blog post, I will walk you through the process that I use to make one of our paper fall leaf wreaths.
You will need:
Fall colored card stocks ( I used greens, burnt orange, yellows, and a deep dark red)
Our Leaf Templates (Coming to Etsy Soon) or Hand Drawn Leaves
Cutting Machine, scissors, or Exacto Knife
Scoring Tool (Flat side of a butter knife also works)
self healing mat, or stack of papers
Wire Wreath Frame
Hot Glue & Hot Glue Gun
Distress Ink ( I use the color rusty hinge by Tim Holtz here)
Wet wipes, or wet rag to clean hands
UV Resistant Spray
Trace/Cut the leaves
After you have your supplies gathered you start making your leaves. Either by using your cutting machine or by tracing by hand. If you are as into details, you'll want your leaves to be close to their true fall colors, so you can plan your leaves by color and fit as many onto the paper as you can. Various sizes as well since you want a more natural look. Here I have Aspen, oak, white oak, and various maple leaves cut. (Please ignore the various many other parts of projects also in this picture, I usually have multiple projects in the works at once)
After the leaves are cut, you'll want to grab whatever you're using as your scoring tool, and your self-healing mat or stack or papers. This is where you will score the leaf veins into the paper. This step is optional, but I do find that it gives the leaves a more realistic look and can help add a natural curve to the leaves. I always love my creations to have a good bit of detail. The picture has them already stamped with the distress ink because I forgot to snap a picture beforehand. You want the distress ink to go on after you add the detail lines.
Place the leaf you will be working on top of the self-healing mat, or stack of papers (this will provide the soft yet firm surface for clean lines. If using a hard surface the results will not be as clean, and you can damage the surface of your cardstock if you press too hard. Start with the center line and go from stem to tip, always travel from stem out. Add a line at every point on the leaf, I find making it like the tree trunk and branches works just fine.
Here is where you'll want to grab those paper towels, or a surface cover you do not mind getting messy. Place the leaf you are working on ontop of the paper towels, and grab your sponge brush and distressing inks. For me, I use my first two fingers to pat down the sponge brush onto the ink pad, and then gently blot the brush onto the leaf. The gentle pressing will help avoid harsh lines from the edges of your sponge brush. Use the wet wipes or wet rag to wipe off your hands periodically so you don't start leaving inked fingerprints on your leaves. We'll save that for another craft lol.
Placing on the Wreath Frame
Here is where you will plug in that hot glue gun and get it ready for assembling. My wreath frame is 19in so I use a poster board to help hold my wreath at my workstation because it is larger than my desk space. My husband did laugh at my rigging but, he did agree, I need a big work table for my larger projects.
Now is the part I always struggle with, where to start. This wreath is going to have a bow in the upper right-hand corner, so that is where I will start. But I am not covering how to make the bow in this blog today, (that will more than likely require a video) so if you go all the way around it does not matter where you start. I like to start with a large Maple leaf because it gives a lot of coverage across. Along the base of the leaf, I will pump out a few lines of glue just along the bottom. This allows for you to lay leaves under the front of the previously attached leaves. When laying leaves I place them underneath the ones already attached, this allows all the leaves details to show. I continuously rotate the wreath as I work so that I am constantly working on my right, which allows me the best angle to lift top leaves down and slide new leaves under. I leave a space here at the end for my bow to be secured, but if you are not using a bow, you can continuously place leaves until you close your gap.
Sealing with the UV-Resistant Spray
The final step is sealing the wreath with the Krylon UV-resistant spray. This I usually do a few times over a day or 2. This spray will protect the paper from yellowing due to UV exposure, and it also makes it water-resistant. You can even go a step further and after this sealant has cured you can top it off with some outdoor poly spray, which I do for extra measure. After you've given the sprays at least 8 hrs (I prefer at least 12) to cure you are good to go!
And there ya have it. A front door safe paper fall leaf wreath!