Real Fall Leaf Garland Tutorial

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Happy Fall! Or is it Winter; it’s snowing outside today! Ack! We have had such a lovely year for beautiful vibrant leaves, and I’ve wanted to collect so many and keep them all! This is the first year I’ve actually pressed some leaves in books and dried them. So easy, yet I always seem to forget to do this. But then I was left with a pile of gorgeous yet very delicate dried leaves and I had to think of some way to display them. Because cats + toddlers + babies = not a good place for delicate dried leaves laying around. So here’s what we did!

I wanted to do something that involved my almost-3-year-old, so I decided to decorate these leaves with colored markers. I didn’t get any action shots while we were drawing, but he really liked coloring on the leaves. I had to remind him to color gently lots of times so we wouldn’t tear the leaves, but he did awesome and they weren’t too brittle for a toddler.

Next I wanted to seal the leaves to make them a bit more resilient and also give them a nice shine, so we Modge Podged these babies on both sides. I used a cheap foam brush and held them by the stem on a big piece of cardboard (or scrap paper would work), and gently coated them with a thin layer of Modge Podge, keeping my strokes all downward from stem to leaf tip. Once one side dried, I flipped them over and coated the other side. My toddler even helped out with this step!

The only thing that didn’t really go as planned was the drawings my son did on the leaves smeared into colored blobs and streaks with the Modge Podge. We used washable kids’ markers, but I bet if you use permanent markers this can be avoided. But I kinda like the way it added an interesting tint to the leaves; especially when he used green markers because it looked like parts of the leaves were still green.

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After the leaves were all dry on both sides, I dug out a ribbon to attach them to. Actually this was just a package of hem tape, but it looks like a pretty lacy ribbon. Again, I don’t have an action shot of this, but you want to lay out your leaves upside-down in the order you want them arranged, then put a bit of white glue on the top near the stem. Then lay your ribbon down and press down on each glue spot. You might want to do this step in an area free of kids and pets; I made the mistake of going out of the house while these were drying on the table, only to come home to the entire thing piled on the floor and one of the leaves slashed in half by a cat’s claw. No idea why they thought that was necessary. Sigh… But it was rescued, never fear.

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And that’s it! I tied one end to a shelf above my doorway and stuck the other end into the wall with a push pin. What an easy and festive garland above our Thanksgiving table! This would also be fun if everyone in the family wrote one thing he/she is grateful for (in permanent marker!) on a leaf before Modge Podging them.

And of course my little butter ball had to photobomb in one of the pictures…

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Have fun and enjoy the last few weeks of those pretty Fall leaves! Next step: 6 months of raking up the piles and piles of the rest of them.

I would love to see your Fall leaf garlands! Have fun creating!

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