Making Fall Leaf Garland is a special way to keep autumn around a little longer. It’s a simple craft, loved by children and adults alike, and will make a beautiful addition to your home’s fall decor.
As we head into November, with cold temperatures and grey skies that threaten snow, the vibrant fall leaves we all love will begin to disappear. But, have no fear! There is still time to save all those rich fall colors! Waxing leaves and stringing them into a beautiful garland is a really sweet to hold onto a piece of fall for months to come. Read on to learn how to make your own garland!
The more you get to know me, the more you’ll come to realize I have quite the love affair with garland. I string it on the mantle of our fireplaces, hang it in my windows and doorways, decorate our Christmas tree with it, and so on. I even add miniature ones to birthday cakes! But this is the first time I’ve tried making a fall garland with real leaves and it turned out beautifully. And it’s so easy! I hope you’ll try it too.
What you will need to make fall leaf garland
- Leaves. These are essential. Look for lots of vibrant colors and leaves that aren’t ripped or cracked or too dried out.
- Beeswax. I got a large block of beeswax from a craft store a few years ago and have used it for many different projects over the years. You won’t need much for this craft, so you’ll surely have some left over for the next project. Luckily, it keeps for years!
- Sharp knife. You’ll need a sharp knife to cut off chunks from your block of wax.
- Bowl or pot. This is used to melt the wax. Now, cleaning up wax isn’t particularly fun or easy, so consider using a bowl or pot you don’t care too much about and it can be your designated wax container for all you future wax crafts.
- Oven-mitts. The bowl gets pretty hot in the microwave, so you’ll want something handy to protect your hands from the hot bowl.
- Wax paper. This is for laying the wax-dipped leaves onto to let them cool and harden. The leaves won’t stick to wax paper, so pulling them up is a breeze.
- Scissors. You’ll just need scissors to cut the thread.
- Needle and thread. Use a needle with a large hole and I’ve found embroidery thread to be the easiest to work with. Anything thinner gets knotted so easily and anything thicker will put large holes in the leaves and potentially rip them.
How to make fall leaf garland
- Gather your leaves. Just like in my Autumn Stained Glass post from last month, collecting the leaves was both me and my daughter’s favorite part of this activity. You will want to find leaves that are rich in color; red, orange, yellow, and gold. Be sure to find leaves that aren’t ripped or cracked or too dried out. A full fall leaf will make a much prettier addition to your garland.
- Melt your beeswax. First, cut off small chunks from a block of beeswax with a sharp knife. Then place them in a microwave safe bowl and melt them on a low setting in my microwave. Be sure to check it frequently, because it melts fast! I put my 6-year-old daughter on microwave duty and she checked it diligently every few seconds, ha ha! Be sure to use oven-mitts to transfer your bowl from the microwave to your work station.
- Dip your leaves in wax. Line up sheets of wax paper along your work station. [Hint – cleaning up drips of wax is not fun, so be sure to line your work space well with wax paper, so you can avoid a mess and have an easy clean-up.] Place your bowl of melted wax down in front of you and choose your first leaf. Holding the leaf by the stem, gently dip the first side into the wax. Lift the leaf out of the wax and let the excess wax drip off. Turn it over and repeat on the other side. Then place the leaf on a piece of wax paper to cool and harden. Repeat until all your leaves have been dipped. I used 16 leaves for my garland.
- String your leaves. Use a needle with a large hole and embroidery thread because it’s bigger and easier for a child to thread. Measure the area you want your garland to hang and cut off a piece of thread that will fit. Our piece of thread was 72 inches long. Leave an extra six inches on each end, to give enough space to make a loop on each end to hang it up. To thread the waxed leaves, carefully poke your needle on the back upper right hand side, pulling it through to the front side. Then, poke the needle through the the left front side, pulling it to the back. Once your needle is through, carefully pull the leaf down the line of thread. Continue with the next leaf, until you are finished. Spread out the garland on a flat, even surface and spread the leaves evenly along the line. Create a loop on either end and hang it wherever you please!
Alternatives to Fall Leaf Garland
If you’re not as crazy about garland as I am, then there are so many other ways you could use your wax-dipped leaves around the house! Here are few to consider:
- Autumn leaf wreath
- Dining table centerpiece
- Photo frames
- Window or wall hangings
- Microwave safe bowl
- Wax paper
- Embroidery thread
- Sharp knife
1. Gather fall leaves that are rich in color; red, orange, yellow, and gold. Use leaves that are not dried out and that are still intact, without missing or ripped leaves. Lay them out flat on your workspace.
2. Melt beeswax by cutting off small chunks from a block of beeswax with a sharp knife. Place chunks in a microwave safe bowl and melt them on a low setting in your microwave. Be sure too check it frequently; it melts fast! Use oven-mitts to transfer your bowl from the microwave to your work station.
3. Line up sheets of wax paper along your work space to catch all the drips of wax for easy clean-up. Position your bowl of melted wax and then choose your first leaf.
4. While holding the leaf by the stem, gently dip the first side into the wax. Lift the leaf and let the excess wax drip off. Turn it over and repeat on the other side.
5. Place the leaf on a piece of wax paper to cool and harden. This takes about 10 minutes. Repeat until all your leaves have been dipped.
6. Use a needle with a large hole and embroidery thread to string the leaves. Leave about six inches on each end, to give enough space to make a loop on each end to hang it up.
7. Poke a sewing needle through the back upper right hand side, pulling it through to the front side. Then, poke the needle through the left front side pulling it through toward the back.
8. Carefully pull the leaf down the line of thread. Continue with the next leaf, until finished.
9. Lay the garland on a flat, even surface and spread the leaves evenly along the line of embroidery thread. Create a loop on either end and hang it wherever you please!