We've got a great park just across the (dead end) street from our house. It has so many different kinds of trees, and the leaves are just starting to turn colors.
I wanted to make a garland to bring some of those shapes and colors inside. Preserved leaves are nice, but not enough of them have changed color yet here, and I wanted something a little softer.
I think I'm going to make more because it was fun to do. I think Benjamin's preschool class might like one for their window... :)
You will need:
felt in assorted colors (I used Eco-fi, which is made from recycled bottles)
string or cord for the garland
leaves from various trees
Step 1: Gather and Trace Leaves
Gathering leaves probably deserves its own step, but I didn't take pictures of walking through the park, looking at trees, and choosing leaves.
It's good to get a variety of leaf sizes for each type, in case you get home and realize some are either too small or too big to look okay with the rest of the design. I tried to get leaves that weren't all dried out yet. It's easier to trace them if you can flatten them without breaking them.
Tracing leaves with a pen or marker would take too long. I used a powder instead. I put some flour on a plate, dabbed it with a roll of felt, then dabbed the flour onto the leaf and felt. It worked really well, and the flour wasn't a problem removing after I'd cut out all the leaves.
Step 2: Rinse and Paint
I'm a little messy and ended up with flour everywhere. It didn't easily shake off the felt, but that wasn't a concern.
I took all the leaves and ran them under cold water, wrung them out lightly, then spread them out to prepare for painting. The felt leaves need to be soaked before painting, so don't skip rinsing them even if you didn't make a mess of the flour like I did.
Mix up some brown acrylic, or another autumn shade that looks nice with your felt leaves. I like to use darker colors for the outside of leaves, or lighter colors if I'm painting the inside. Look at the real leaves you gathered if you need some color inspiration.
Make sure the paint is thin enough to spread into the wet felt a bit so you don't have definite lines where the paint is and isn't. Brush the edges of the leaf if you're using a darker color than the felt, then turn the leaf over and repeat.
When all the leaves are painted in the way you like, spread them out and let them dry. This took a day for me.
Step 3: String the Leaves
Once the leaves are dry, you can string them. I used a small hole punch, but you could sew them onto a ribbon if you prefer.
I wanted a garland to be roughly 5 feet long, so I measured a length of hemp cord about 7 feet to allow for knotting. I decided to lay out the leaves first to figure out what type of pattern I liked best.
I tied a wooden bead to one end to keep the other beads and leaves from falling off. I then strung on one small leaf and two more wooden beads, then tied a knot to secure them.
I added more wooden beads, each with a knot on either side to keep them in place, and tied a knot in the cord where each felt leaf was strung on. This secured each one in place, but it also gave it a little extra cord so the leaves would hang down from the cord.
Once you've added all your leaves and beads, finish the end like you tied up the beginning. I once again used two wooden beads, a small felt leaf, then one more wooden bead tied to the cord.
Thanks for reading! I hope you post pictures if you make your own.