Autumn Leaves Wreath
By IGMA Artisan, Michele Carter
Skill Level: Beginner
Time: 3 to 4 hours
1 3/4" to 1 78" plastic Cabone Ring
Preserved, dyed oak or ruscus leaves
OR Rice or Mulberry paper in same colors
Preserved eucalyptus stems and leaves
Tiny pine cones or seeds
Landscape Coarse Turf (Burnt Grass)
White tacky glue
Americana® Light Avocado craft paint
Matte spray acrylic sealer
• Preserved oak and ruscus leaves are available in the fall at most craft stores that carry dried natural materials. I used dyed ruscus leaves and rice paper for my wreath.
• Mulberry paper is available at most scrapbook and craft stores in a variety of colors. Rice paper is a bit tougher to find, but look in paper or scrapbook stores. I got mine in Japan town in my city. If you can't find either rice paper or mulberry paper, use construction paper in the same colors listed above. I would not use smooth bond paper as it wouldn't have the right texture.
• Eucalyptus bells and buds are abundant in the seed clusters of eucalyptus trees. Dried ones are better because they shrink as they dry out. Same for the buds.
• The tiny pinecones are hard to find, and therefore are optional. You can substitute small seeds like mustard seeds, caraway seeds, and peppercorns. For this wreath I would use red or green peppercorns, not black.
• Landscape coarse turf is available in train stores or in the railroad section of your hobby store. The brand is Woodland Scenics®.
• Plastic rings come in many sizes and are found in the notions department of a fabric store. The best size is one that is slightly under two inches in diameter so that when you have added all your leaves, the finished size is about 2" across.
• Leaf punches are available from scrapbook stores and hobby stores. The ones I used are very common, easy to find, and run between $4 and $10 each.
- Sand and paint plastic ring
Use an emery board to roughen the surface of the plastic ring, then paint it with Americana Light Avocado craft paint. Paint both sides. Set aside to dry on waxed paper.
- Glue on coarse turf
Once the paint has dried, apply a liberal coat of white glue to one side of your painted plastic ring. Then press small clumps of the "burnt grass" coarse turf into the glue. Cover the entire front surface of the ring. Set aside to dry.
- Punch the leaves
Preserved leaves can be punched just like paper. When you punch them, try to line up the punch with a small vein in the leaf, so that the centerline of the punched leaf will have a vein. Punch leaves in all the colors listed above. I use green and brown in the wreath because in autumn some leaves don't turn a pretty color, and there are still green leaves among the bright colors. Also, it gives the wreath some relief from the bright, intense yellows, reds and oranges. I recommend using these color guidelines for punching:
• Maple - red, yellow and orange
• Oak - brown and burgundy
• Serrated - shades of dark green and yellow green
Try to get a variety of shades of the same color, and mottled textures, which will give the leaves a more natural look.
You will need LOTS of leaves, so when you think you have punched enough, punch more! The more leaves you apply, the fuller the wreath.
- Apply leaves
Once the ring has dried completely, start applying the leaves to the ring. Glue them with the stem toward the ring. Start with the outside perimeter of the ring and glue a layer of leaves all around the exterior circumference of the ring.
Then do the same thing to the inner circumference of the ring. Go back and forth between the outside and inside of the ring, adding leaves, building toward the front face of the ring. Make sure to balance the color, shape and texture of the leaves as you apply them, so they are evenly distributed around the wreath.
- Add seeds, buds
Once the entire surface of the face of the wreath is covered with leaves, add the seed and bud embellishments. The eucalyptus bells are the largest element, so start with those. Glue about 10 to 12 eucalyptus bells around the wreath, placing some on the face, some on the inside edge, and some on the outside edge. You don't want all of them to be on the top "face" surface of the wreath. Make sure they are evenly distributed around the wreath. Next add the eucalyptus buds, pinecones and small seeds, dispersing them evenly around the wreath.
- Add eucalyptus growing tips
For the final embellishment, cut the growing tips from 5 to 7 of the green and burgundy preserved eucalyptus stems. Look for two tiny opposing leaves, with a growing tip bud in the center at the very tip of each stem. Make sure they are tiny and work with the scale of your wreath. If your eucalyptus growing tips are too big, skip this step.
- Seal Wreath
To keep your wreath looking fresh, spray with matte acrylic sealer. You can use a satin finish if you wish, but I used matte.
IGMA Artisan Michele Carter is a professionally trained artist and a skilled miniaturist who makes high-quality, collectible miniature floral arrangements, paintings, and accessories. To see more of her work, visit her web site at www.pepperwoodminiatures.com.