Rake in the compliments with a wreath featuring brilliant autumn leaves. This works with maple, oak, sweet gum, hickory, dogwood—whatever is putting on a show in your yard. You can also make it with preserved leaves purchased at a crafts store or online.
Gather Your Materials:
• Hand pruners
• 12 branches of fall leaves (more or less depending on size of frame and number of leaves on each branch)
• 5-gallon bucket of warm water
• 2 cups liquid glycerin
• Food coloring (if desired)
• Florist wire
• Wire wreath frame (Ours is 8 inches wide.)
• Wire snips
• 2-inch-wide orange ribbon
Get the Look: Use pruners to cut 24- to 36-inch branches of colorful leaves—they can even be green. Choose foliage that's supple and fresh. Immediately place in a bucket of warm water for about two hours. Mix 2 cups glycerin (available from a crafts store) with 4 cups water in a pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; let simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool. For more vivid colors, add 2 tablespoons food coloring to each batch of glycerin, making a batch of glycerin solution for each color. Recut branches by slicing up the stems vertically about 1 inch. Empty water from bucket, and refill with glycerin solution. Add branches, and keep out of sun for several days until beads of glycerin form on leaves, indicating they've absorbed the maximum amount. (Glycerin solution can be reused.) Cut branches into smaller, 8- to 10-inch-long stems. Use florist wire to form bunches of leaves, and attach them to the top of the frame with snips. Hang with ribbon.
Take Care: If sheltered from direct sunlight, this wreath can last two to three years. To clean, blow off dust with a cool hair dryer. Store in a plastic bag in a cool, dark place.