Fall is in full swing here in Connecticut. When I decorate for fall I like to bring the outdoors in by combining the artistry of nature with my own. My son and I have been hard at work collecting leaves for my latest project. Remember the Shower Curtain leaves from last week? I told you I had something special planned for them. I coupled the shower curtain leaves with the real leaves to create a fall tree display in my home.
I made a similar tree last year. If you are a fan of Wonderland you may want to check out my Alice in Wonderland Tree. I learned a lot while making the Wonderland tree about what works and what doesn’t when working with real fall leaves. Being armed with the knowledge of past mistakes made creating the new tree much easier.
I have some great tips for you about Fall Leaf collecting and step by step instructions for you to create a Fall tree of your own. This is a great project to make with kids. My son was an excellent leaf hunter and really enjoyed going out on “leaf hunts” with me.
How to Make a Tree with Fall Leaves
First thing’s first you need to hunt down some leaves. Seek out leaves of all sizes, shapes, colors, and species. An easy way to collect leaves is to carry a magazine with you. The leaves begin to curl and dry out quickly (I learned this lesson while walking the dog and collecting leaves sans magazine). When you find leaves simply place them in between the pages of the magazine. The glossy pages eliminate the need for wax paper. When You are done place heavy books on top of your magazine and leave overnight.
Once the leaves are pressed stamp them with Black Archival ink and emboss with Ranger Holographic Embossing Powder. I used a Variety of stamps including Recollections Sheet Music, Paisley, and Harvest Scene. I also used Stampers Anonymous “Falling Leaves” set. This set was great because it defined the natural veins and texture of the oak and maple leaves I collected.
I’m a little obsessed with Ranger Holographic embossing powder as of late. Can you see why? Look at that lovely sheen!
Last year Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer did not exist. I had a bit of trouble Mod Podging some of the crisper leaves by hand last time. This year Pre-sealing my leaves was a breeze thanks to this magical elixir in a can! I sprayed the front and back of my leaves and added a coat of Mod Podge Sparkle to the backsides for good measure. *If you prefer a matte look you can use Matte Mod Podge Spray , sealer, and clear embossing powder.
Another thing I learned from last year is that wiring is key! I only wired some of the leaves on the Alice Tree and hot glued the rest…not great. This time I cut 4 in pieces of 26 gauge floral wire and adhered them to the back of the leaves with Glossy Accents. This will support your leaves and make them pliable when you attach them to your tree. The Glossy Accents is nearly invisible when it dries.
For the planter I used a flower pot cast off given to me by a friend. Do you get this a lot…”Here, I saved this for you. I figured you could make something out of it.”
To support my tree I hot glued a brick of floral foam into the bottom of the pot. Instead of filling the pot with foam I stuffed a large plastic bag from a package I received around it. I usually fill my pots with glass gems or stones. This can really weigh down your project and your wallet. Instead of stones I hot glued a piece of Bubble Wrap (also recycled packaging) on top and sprayed it with Krylon Glitterblast Diamond Dust. While the paint was still wet I sprinkled Martha Stewart Glitter in a festive fall color scheme (Golden Beryl, Florentine Gold, Fire Opal, & Cinnabar). Seal with Krylon Glitterblast Sealer and it will keep your glitter in place…for good! *To insert your tree branch cut an X in the middle with an X-acto knife.
Now all you need to do is arrange your leaves. Be gentle! The Mod Podge seals and adds strength to the leaves but they are not indestructible. Neither is your tree branch. Gentle fingers are a must when attaching the leaves. Make sure the wire is wrapped tightly and you will be able to bend and turn your leaves exactly how you want them!
If you’re looking to bring the outdoors in this season you needn’t look any further than your own back yard. Now is the perfect time to start gathering leaves and sticks for a Fall Leaf Tree. The autumn colored leaves seem to come and go so quickly but not on this tree! All you need is a little Mod Podge and some wire and you can harness the beauty of fall for your home.
Thanks for taking a walk through the autumn woods with me today!