Leaf Crowns, Wreaths and Garlands
Fall is beautiful in the Pac NW. It’s damp, but the rain washes all the dirt (and your cares) away and leaves everything shiny and new. This past weekend, we went on a long walk as a family on Saturday morning. Leaf gathering, walking through Georgetown’s bustling shop fronts, and a good session of swinging in the rain were our morning’s activities.
After we dried off and warmed up, Elise and her Dad played while I made a couple of crowns to determine a ‘best practice.’ Oh, pardon me my “Type A” is showing. Join us for a wonderful activity that adds a bit of whimsy to any Fall day.
As a crown, this is a quick and easy project for older kids to do on their own. It would also make a wonderful wreath for your front door (we now have one ourselves) or even a beautiful garland. We’ve made all three and they come together easily and quickly. This was my first picture, aside from Elise, that I shared on Instagram. I’ve just signed up so take pity on me and add me please (@rufflesandrain).
As I mentioned, I came up with three different ways to make them: stuff, sew, and weave. Two worked and one was a complete disaster. Let’s visit the disaster first, shall we?
Stuff Method Crown
I thought the stuff method would be the easiest to get the little one involved and she loved it! What we did: braided a few strands of ribbon together and tucked leaf stems into the braid. It was great for about two seconds, because it fell apart. Big. Drama. Big, big drama. So much drama that the little one TORE IT APART because she was so upset. I didn’t even get a ‘craftermath’ picture because I was busy consoling the little one.
In order to help you minimize the drama, here are two techniques that actually worked.
Sewn Method Crown
The fastest way I made a crown was to sew the leaves onto a braided piece of ribbon. I used some paper ribbon that was originally intended for wrapping gifts and it worked just fine. I had to use 9 strands of it to make the head piece solid enough to hold the leaves, but it was easy.
As you can imagine, you just put the leaves onto the ribbon and sew. Once the leaves are secure, you cut off the stems. That’s it. The crowns using the weave method below are my little girl’s favorite, but this one is easy if you’re creating many at a time, like for a fairy play date. These are really fun because they have the ribbons dangling down in the back – that was my daughter’s favorite part.
We use this method for garlands more than the crowns because it allows the leaves to dry hanging upside down and without a curve. It makes a beautiful garland that is quick to come together. If you have turning leaves in your area at Thanksgiving, this would be a fun way to decorate the front porch for the holiday.
Woven Method Leaf Crown and Wreath
This was by far the winner with my little girl, which is kind of fitting. When my sister and I were little, we would twist and weave random nature bits together – pine needles, leaves, dandelions, and even the front bushes we had with the tiniest pastel flowers on them. I don’t know what they were called, but they had the smallest flowers I’ve ever seen, and my sister and I could make chains of them a mile long. My brother would then play Godzilla and wreck them, eliciting the combined wrath of two sisters scorned.
Ah, good times.
Anyway, I can’t remember if my Mom showed me this technique or if it was Mrs. Slade from Apple Hill’s Finishing School for Young Ladies. Yes, that was a real place I attended, but that’s a post for another time.
Note – the light yellow leaf crown is being modeled by my happy little girl 7 days after we made it. They look great when the leaves have dried out and started to curl. The picture below (the multiple-colored leaf crown) was made about 4 hours before we took the picture.
This works using damp or at least moist leaves, something we have in abundance here in Seattle. I normally just wipe them off to remove any bits of nature that might want to tag along. Gather some supplies to help make it easier, but they aren’t necessary: scissors and a toothpick (or a skinny twig you find next to the leaves).
Step 1: Snip or break off the end of the leaves where they were attached to the tree. I’ve left them on before and it works but it makes a larger hole than you need, causing the crown to be less secure than it can be.
Step 2: Start with a leaf with a long(ish) stem. Fold over the leaf by 1/3 to 1/2 (eyeball it) and hold the folded piece behind while you punch two holes with the toothpick about an inch or so apart.
Step 3: Insert the long(ish) stem of another leaf into the top hole and then up through the bottom hole. Don’t cut the stem off, you’ll need it later. Pinky swear you won’t cut it off. In fact, don’t cut off the first couple (leave the first two stems entirely intact). Continue adding leaves in the same way.
In-process clean up: I do about 5 leaves and get a secure section before doing this next step. You will have stems poking out where they were woven once, and you will want to poke another hole (between the previous leaf’s holes) and weave the stem through to the back. Only then will you want to cut it or break it off.
Step 4 through whatever your desired size is (test fit around yours / your child’s head): repeat the steps above and do the clean up. Remember, do not cut the first 2 stems.
The last step is to weave the first leaf’s stem through the last leaf, just like you’ve done all the others. You will want to weave it as many times as you can without making too many holes. Repeat with the second leaf’s stem to add extra stability at the join-point. Or you could just staple the thing closed. I’ve done that, too. We’ve made a ton of these, so I’ve started looking for short cuts…
We have one of these hung on the front door right now and it looks amazing – Elise can’t even let me take a picture without telling me how fun it was to help make. There have been a couple of neighbors ask how we did it, so I’m adding this to the blog, thinking someone else might find it a fun Fall craft.
If you think it worthy, go ahead and share the picture below with your friends and followers on Facebook or Pinterest. And because we’re new to this whole parenting thing, let us know if you have any fun Fall crafts you’ve made into a tradition.
Emily, with the adorable Nap Time Creations, selected our Fall fun as a feature from the Create, Link, Inspire party! How lucky are we? Know what? This was also featured by Jennifer at A Little Bird Told Me Wednesday party – such a fun party with so many great ideas to get you crafting!