Paper leaf topiary and wreath

Found the topiary forms on clearance a while back.  The little urn came from a thrift store.

I hand cut the leaf shapes from old book pages.  Did an entire book over the course of a week or so while I watched TV in the evening.  Can’t do too many at a time or I get blisters and/or hand cramps!

To ‘tea stain’ the leaves, I use my own stain recipe (NOT made with coffee or tea – they get too stinky!)  Turn oven on to LOWEST temp.  Take a cookie sheet and spray it down with water (so leaves will stick in place)  Place paper leaves on cookie sheet and spritz with stain.  Put cookie sheet full of leaves in oven and turn over OFF.  There will be enough heat to dry the leaves in about half an hour.

I had to saw off (using a serrated kitchen knife) some of the base of the topiary to get it to fit my container.  Glued it into the container and then on to the leaves.  Using a hot glue gun, glue the leaves on, one by one, until your topiary ball is fully covered.

I also glued leaves over the top of my topiary base, in the container.  You could use moss for this, I just wanted to try it with leaves.

I’m sure everyone already knows this trick, but just in case you haven’t used your glue gun in a while (like me!) and have forgotten; to remove those pesky glue ‘hairs’ that are always left behind after using your hot glue gun, just give your item a once over with a hand held hair dryer set on hot, and they will disappear!

And while I had my paper leaves out, I decided to make a couple of wreaths, using styro rounds from the dollar store.  (You CAN buy the styro wreaths at a regular craft store for about $6.00. . but WHY would you when you can get them for a dollar?!?!)

Glue does not stick well to styrofoam, and HOT glue will just melt it.  (they do make a special styrofoam glue, but it’s pricey and I’ve not tried it)  So I cover my wreath with newsprint paper first.  ANY kind of paper will work, I just happened to have some newsprint packing material leftover.  Cut or tear your paper into strips.  I glued mine on with tacky glue.  Just be sure your entire form is fully covered with paper.

Glue your leaves on using a hot glue gun, all going in the same direction.  I usually end up doing 3-4 leaves across; and I do NOT cover the back with leaves, since it really won’t show.

The paper leaves ‘curl’ a bit when they dry in the oven, and variegate a little in color; which creates a very natural look.  The neutral color of these pieces make them perfect for year round display and work well in any color palette.


Book pages wreaths ~ revisited

LOVE all the different stuff bloggers are doing with old book pages these days!  It saddens me a tad to rip old books apart, but the end results just make you love the written word on a whole new level! 

It seems to have started with the ones with pages rolled into cone shapes and attached to a backing in a circular shape.  I passed on making any of those.  While I LIKE them, they just weren’t quite ‘my thing’.  THEN I saw (STILL cannot remember where!!) someone who had cut leaf shapes out of old book pages to make a wreath like this:

And I KNEW I had to make one.

Quite simple really; quick and easy.  The most time consuming part was covering the foam wreath form with paper!

Michael thought it needed ‘more color’.  That it was too plain.  So, I didn’t make any more for a looooooooooooooooooong time.  Decided to ‘get back into it’ on Monday, while I was resting up from setting up at our new space.  Cutting out leaves while watching TV was sedate enough to get rested, but productive enough to not feel like I’d wasted a day.

I came across a batch of leaves that I had TORN instead of cutting; and inked the edges.   My old arthritic hands did not like tearing out all those little leaves very much!  But this batch was done, so I worked with it.

Glued strips of pages to my green foam wreath from Dollar Tree.

Then hot glued the leaves to the wreath, one by one.

It DOES have more color and texture than the plain cut leaves one, but it still was not quite right.  And I actually liked the PLAIN one better than this one!  Was wishing I had some really OLD yellowed pages to work with!  HEY!!!  I can MAKE them look old with my grubby stain!!!

So I cut out a bunch more leaves.  Lightly spritzed my cookie sheet with some water so the paper leaves would ‘stick in place’.  Then I sprayed the whole sheet with my grubby stain.  (this is my own special recipe and does NOT use coffee or tea.  Can be made unscented or lightly scented.)   Turn the oven on to it’s LOWEST setting.  As soon as it reaches temp, TURN IT OFF!!!  Put your pan of wet stained leaves into the warm oven.  Don’t turn the oven back on!!  There will be enough heat to dry up your ‘leaves’ in about 10-15 minutes.

Look how beautifully they dry up.  Various shades of brown, some with darker edges and some nicely curled; just like REAL leaves do when they dry up!

Then I just get out my trusty hot glue gun and glue them to my covered wreath form!!

Love, love, love how these turned out!!!

And I couldn’t stop making them!!!

I didn’t even have to add any kind of ‘hanger’ to them.  The wreath part sticks out enough on the back to plop onto a nail.

I’m going to ‘go out on a limb’ and predict here and now that tea stained book pages wreaths will be the next ‘big thing’!  I wonder if I’m really the first one to think of this???  I know I haven’t seen it anywhere else before and came up with the idea all on my own.  But that doesn’t mean lots of other creative folks haven’t come up with the very same idea! 

Will be interesting to see!

* The inked edges wreath has gone to Stars.  The stained ones will be going to Camas.