When I first got the idea to make leaf garland, I was beyond excited. Not just because I thought it would look pretty. I was excited because I felt like I was getting my groove back. Nothing kills inspiration more than stress and overwhelment.
As we walked around green lake collecting a vibrant assortment of fallen leaves, I looked at my boyfriend and squealed, “I’m so excited! I’m inspired! I haven’t lost it, love!” We took twice as long to walk around the lake as we usually do. Each new tree, each new color, each new leaf shape stopped us and begged to be gathered.
My love put the leaves he collected in neat stacks, one leaf on top of the other, and placed them into the bag. Had I realized how easy that would make it to string them together and use them as art, I would have done the same. When I took them out of the bag at home and laid them out across the table, they looked like warm-colored paint on a palette.
I set to work immediately to bring my creative vision to fruition. Working with the just-picked leaves was easy since they were still mostly-full of moisture and pliable. When I started the project, I imagined creating strings and strings of garland that day and hanging them outside. However, I underestimated the time I had that day and only managed to get a couple strands strung and hung. I left the piles of leaves on my table only to discover the next morning that the bulk of the leaves, the garland I hung in the house included, had begun to dry and curl out of the distinct leaf shapes I had wanted to admire. I quickly set some heavy books on the piles that were not crinkled and dehydrated beyond repair. I ended up with plenty of pressed, dry yet slightly-pliable leaves to work with.
I punched holes in the top of the leaves – some with two holes in the top for a more flat appearance and some with just one for a more stacked appearance and texture. I liked to use a combination of the two. The leaves that had been pressed and dried were a little more delicate, but still fairly easy to string together.
I used jute twine for a natural looking material to string them together. It turned out that the jute also had just enough texture and friction to hold the leaves in place and separated. A small piece of tape on the starting end of the jute kept it from fraying and made the string easier to push through the small holes I punched in the leaves.
The final product turned out amazing! The leaf bunting I hung above my front door, the strand with the big leaves with the most stunning combination of green and red, looks festive and inviting. My porch got dolled up for fall and I got to be giddy with inspiration in the process. I really needed that.