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Jessica Ackerman : Create a Natural Fall Leaf Wreath

Create a Natural Fall Leaf Wreath

By Jessica Ackerman

Fall LeavesAutumn is the perfect time to decorate with natural materials. Bring some of the beautiful colors of the outdoors inside by making a natural fall leaf wreath. Although you can certainly use branches of leaves "as is" when creating a wreath, they do tend to dry out and crumble over time. Instead, preserve them with glycerin before crafting your wreath to create a wreath you can use season after season.

Choosing the Leaves

You'll get the best results with this craft if you select leaves that are still soft and supple. Don't wait until the leaves are brittle and dry — instead, select those which have just recently started to turn colors. You can also select green leaves to add to the wreath, which will add nice color contrast to the orange, red and brown colors of autumn leaves. If you have plenty of different trees in your backyard, choose a variety of different shapes and sizes of leaves to add visual interest to the wreath. Pull the leaves directly from the tree, taking care to include the stem of the leaf. Make sure to gather plenty of leaves, so that you are sure to have enough to create an entire wreath. Because the glycerin preservation process will take several weeks to complete, you won't have a chance to go back and select more leaves later.

Preserving the Leaves with Glycerin

Glycerin is becoming more difficult to find, but you should be able to locate some at your local pharmacy. Mix a solution of two parts water and one part glycerin. You will be pouring this solution into shallow pans into which you will submerge the leaves, so make enough to accommodate the leaves you have collected. Shallow glass casserole or rectangular cake pans work well for preserving leaves. Pour about an inch of solution into a pan then add your leaves. In order to preserve properly, they need to remain submerged in the solution. A second glass pan nested inside can be used to weigh them down, or use Styrofoam plates and glass cups as weights. You can cover the pans with plastic wrap to minimize evaporation of the solution. Allow the leaves to remain in the solution for 2 to 6 days. The solution should be absorbed into the leaves, making them soft and pliable. If they don't seem ready, allow them to remain in the solution for another 2 to 6 days. Then remove from the solution and gently dry them with paper towels.

Crafting the Wreath

A grapevine wreath works best when creating a natural leaf wreath. Using florist's wire, create small bundles of preserved leaves. Then, wrap the wire around the branches of the grapevine wreath to attach. You can cover the entire wreath in leaves, or intersperse them with other natural materials such as dried seed pods or flowers. These wreaths also look nice if you leave some of the grapevine wreath base exposed. When complete, add a beautiful bow for the perfect finishing touch. Be sure to add a loop of cord to the back of the wreath so that you can easily hang it. •

Copyright 2010, Wall Decor and Home Accents.

Jessica Ackerman has extensive knowledge in interior design and decorating. More »

9/17/10