How to Make a Real Leaf Garland
If you are looking for more sustainable decor options or perhaps looking for something to do with all those Fall leaves in the backyard I have the perfect project for you! A DIY Real Leaf Garland! Fall hit here in Texas and the leaves begin to fall. At about the same time I decided we as a family need to start saving money for Christmas gifts. These 2 thoughts birthed the Red Oak Leaf Garland you see below. If you make this earlier in Fall you can enjoy it for all of Fall, then flock it as I did for Christmas giving you several months of use!
Table of contents
How to Make a Garland using Real Leaves
- Gather Leaves! Why rake when you can create!
First, for this real leaf garland, you need to gather leaves. I am using Red Oak leaves but you could easily use Maple or any larger scale leaf. Look for all kinds, brown, green, spotted, they all are great. And it doesn't matter if they are a little beat up, if they have a good stem, they are a keeper. So head out there and clean up that yard. I ended up cutting a few out of the tree as well to have more bright green included.
- Set Up Your Workspace
Second, find a comfortable place you have room to spread out and work. As your garland grows it starts to need more space. I used a hot glue gun so I needed an electrical outlet nearby. This project can get messy too as the dryer leaves break, so keep that in mind. I worked outside at a table.
- Start Your Garland
Third, get started! I made the ends of my garland pretty all the way around so they could hang off the edge of my mantle and look nice from all sides, but the middles are flat on the bottom and pretty on the top so they will lay on the mantle without rolling.
Gather a group of 5 – 10 leaf stems in your hand and wrap the floral wire around them good. Do not cut the wire, it will run the full length of your garland. After wrapping the stems in the wire I added a touch of hot glue for extra security. The greener leaves will start to dry out therefore their stems will shrink in size.
- Add to Your Garland
Once you have your 1st bunch started, gather another group of leaves and add them to the base on 1 side using the floral wire to secure them. Wrap it around and around. Add a bit of hot glue. If you want to gather a bunch, wire them together, then add the wired bunch to the garland, you can do that too. I did both. Just make sure to have a separate floral wire (so 2 total) for making little bunches. Repeat this on all sides so that the garland is pretty on all sides. I made the 1st 10″ – 12″ pretty on all sides before swapping to a flat bottom and pretty top and sides.
- Garland Design Options
Once you have your start you can swap to a flat bottom from a round if you want. Here is where I added the string. The string really doesn't do anything more than act as a base. Take the string and tie it around the garland base. Gather a bunch of leaves and attach them to the string. You won't pick up the garland any more, you will just scoot it as you add bunches on the sides and top.
- Repeat the Steps Until you Reach Your Desired Length
And last, it might be easier to create 2 separate garlands and connect them. This really depends on what you are using the garland for. In my case, I put them on my fireplace mantel, therefore, I want the leaves to face 2 different directions, so 2 garlands were required. The same would go for if you were framing a door. But if you are laying the garland as a table centerpiece then 1 solid garland would work. This is where the string comes in handy too. You can tie your garland to things or even each other!
- Place Your Garland
Once you have reached your desired length you can place the garland where you want it or hang it from the string and done! You can add to it throughout the Fall season if you want. There is no rule saying you have to stop here! And you can spray it with fake snow to turn it into a Winter garland. This is a project that grows with you!
DIY Garland Supply List
- Regular scissors
- Floral Wire x 2
- Wire clippers
- Hot glue gun
Tips & Tricks to Creating a Leaf Garland
- Take your time! This is supposed to be fun 🙂
- Gather all your supplies so you aren't chasing things.
- Throw on some good music or invite a friend over.
- Make your kids gather the leaves so you don't have to bend over.
- Rather than show your significant other the garland first, show them the clean yard first!
- Don't be stingy with the wire and glue. They are so cheap, use them!
- Measure the space your garland will go, you need to know how long to go.
- You don't have to complete this all at once. I am adding to my garland as leaves fall. What started at a table centerpiece is now a fireplace mantel wrap!
- Spice it up! I created this garland in the Fall. As a result, I was able to spray it with Santa Snow Nieve from Hobby Lobby and make it a winter garland too.
Final Images of the Real Leaf Garland
Fireplace Mantel Decorations
Almost all of the Winter mantel decorations you see here are from my favorite home decor subscription box DecoCrated. I have been a member for over 2 years so there are 2 years represented here, DecoCrated Winter 2019 box and DecoCrated Winter 2020 box. You can check out the DecoCrated 2020 Winter box by clicking the button below.