Wow, so many horrible things have been happening in the world today: first there was Hurricane Harvey, then Hurricane Irma, now an earthquake in Mexico. Not to mention recent terrorist attacks abroad. What is our world coming to? If anyone reading this has been affected by any of these events or any other tragedies lately, I am thinking about and praying for you.
Personally, I have been stressing lately. Not only do I worry about the horrible events happening in the world today, I also worry way too much about things in my life that I cannot control. Add to that the extreme amount of pressure I put on myself and I end up with – you guessed it – STRESS! Since stress in my life leads to migraines, I have been fighting one all week. Do stress and worry play a too-big part in your life, too? Let me know about it and how you combat their effects in the comment section.
So this week, let’s focus on the positive side of life and make something pretty today.
Since Friday is the first day of fall, I decided that I needed a new wreath for my front door. I wanted to do something a little different from traditional leaves, so I choose felt for the leaves. Felt is so versatile – don’t you think? It’s not just for kids’ crafts anymore. I think my wreath turned out really well and I hope you like it, too.
If you want to make your own Felt Leaf Fall Wreath, follow the steps below. DISCLAIMER: This is my first tutorial and the first time posting photos of this type. I tried my best, but I am sure there are at least a few mistakes and some of the pictures are not the best. But, if you see any mistakes, are unclear about any steps, or think something is missing or needs to be clarified, PLEASE let me know!!!
Now, let’s get going!
First, you will need to gather your materials. These are the materials I used but you can change it up any way you want. For this project I used:
- 18” Straw Wreath (it can be straw like mine, grapevine, even a pool noodle wrapped in burlap)
- 4 pieces of felt – each a different fall color
- 2 skeins brown embroidery floss
- 2 bundles of Fall Berries (I got mine at Dollar Tree)
- Burlap (I had some scraps, but about 1/8 yard should do)
- Acrylic paint (I used a dark red)
- Wire (thin jewelry wire or floral wire will do)
- Leaf & banner templates (downloads below)
- Freezer paper
- Glue gun
- Peltex 71F Ultra Firm Fusible Interfacing (optional)
You can use any leaf and banner pattern you want or you can use my template. Some of the images I used to create these templates came from this pin I found on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/151292868712059794/. However, when I went to visit the link, http://www1.craftitbakeit.com/?kw=bread%20makers, it was gone. If any of these images are yours, please let me know so I can give you credit!
Click the link below each template to download.
CUT THE LEAVES
You can cut out the felt pieces one of two ways: 1) print the template on cardstock and trace with a sharpie or 2) print the template on printer paper and pin to the felt. Either way will do. For this project, I printed on cardstock and traced the pattern with a sharpie. If you use the tracing method, trace one leaf right-side-up and then one right-side-down. This way, the trace marks will be on the inside when you put the leaves together. Either way, draw the veins on 1 leaf of each pair, on the inside, to stitch later. I cut 2 pairs of each of the large leaves. For the smaller leaves, I ironed Peltex 71F Ultra Firm fusible interfacing to the back of the felt and then cut out the leaves; I wanted these leaves to be sturdier.
STITCH THE FELT LEAVES
I wanted to create some texture by stitching the veins on the leaves. This, of course, is your choice. You can use a Sharpie or a fabric marker and draw the veins (I could have stitched the veins on the smaller leaves as well, but I wanted to save some time and just used a brown Sharpie). To stitch the veins, I used the brown embroidery floss and a backstitch. Since I did not want to see the trace marks on the final product, I drew the veins on the back. At first it was difficult to get the stitches right, but eventually it worked.
After I had stitched all of the veins on half of the leaves, I matched the pairs and used a blanket stitch around the edges to join them together. I stitched around the leaf, left about a 1” opening, stuffed with Polyfil, and then finished stitching.
In case you do not know embroidery stitches, you can learn them easily from many tutorials on the internet. My favorite embroidery tutorials are from Anne at Pumora. She has a huge glossary of stitches and many really good tutorials. At Pumora you will find a tutorial for backstitch and just about any stitch you can imagine. I have gone to this site numerous times when I forget how to do a specific stitch or I am looking for a fun new stitch.
If you need help with the blanket stitch on the edge of the leaves, I like the tutorial at Holiday Crafts and Creations. Kelli and her mom Greta share some really neat projects; I am already thinking about their Thankful Felt Garland.
PAINT AUTUMN ON THE BANNER
Now that you have the leaves ready, it is time to make and assemble the banner. I wanted my banner to read AUTUMN. I do not have a steady hand and I do not paint or write nice-looking freehand letters so, I made a stencil. Because my drawing skills are minimal at best, I use stencils, patterns, and templates a lot. Nevertheless, if you have a steady hand and can paint or write letters well, go ahead and just paint AUTUMN on your banner pieces – You will save yourself a bunch of time.
For this project, I decided to make a Freezer Paper stencil. You can make a Freezer Paper stencil two different ways. 1) You can print the letters directly on the non-shiny side of the Freezer Paper and cut them out using an Xacto knife or 2) use a cutting machine. Since I have a Silhouette Cameo (a relatively old one) and wanted to save some time I used this method. To make the stencil, I started by opening trusty Microsoft Publisher (my go-to for this type of work). I created the letters in Publisher and saved the file as a JPEG (the image is below). Next I went to my Cameo. But, this is the first time I have used my Cameo in a while so it was covered in about an inch of dust. So, after I could see the machine and found the cutting mat, I opened Silhouette Studio and got to work. I attached my Freezer Paper to my cutting mat, shiny side down, let the Silhouette do its work, and then cut out each individual letter stencil.
The JPEG is below and you can use it to make your own cut file. Or, if you do not have a cutting machine, you can print it on Freezer Paper then cut it with an Xacto knife. Any method will work.
CREATE THE BANNER
Now that you have your AUTUMN stencils made, you need to put them on something. Cut out the banner template and trace six onto the burlap. After you have them traced, cut them out – but be careful to cut inside of the tracing lines so you do not see the lines on the finished product.
Okay, now you have your stencil and your mini banner pieces. Center the letter on the banner piece and iron the stencil to attach it to the burlap. Your iron does not have to be at the highest setting – start lower and add heat if needed. Make sure all parts of the stencil are adhered to the burlap – let cool.
After the stencils are attached, you are going to paint the burlap. Make sure you have something under the burlap because the paint will soak through. I have a variety of Dollar Store placements that I use for painting, gluing, etc. Also, when stenciling on fabric I prefer to use a brush as opposed to a sponge dauber because fabric really soaks up the paint. So, I paint carefully and make sure that the entire open area is covered with paint. Paint all of the banner pieces and only remove the stencil when the paint is dry.
Once the banner pieces are dry, I applied some Fray check to the edges. Yes, I wanted the frayed look of burlap but I did not want my little banner fraying to pieces. So, I applied some Fray Check to the spots that were really fraying. Of course, you can skip this step.
Okay, you have now spent what seems like forever on this teeny, tiny banner. But now it is time to put it together. This is really easy. Cut your twine about 24” (it is better to have too much than too little) and center your banner pieces on it; I placed mine about ½” apart. Then, use your glue gun to put a small line of glue on the twine and place each banner piece on the glue. Now, I have a habit of burning my fingers whenever I use my hot glue gun. So not too long ago (yes, I burned my fingers for many, many years before seeking a solution) I purchased some finger protectors. The finger protectors I got at Joann (with one of my 40% off coupons, of course) are non-stick silicone so you can press the fabric to the glue, not burn your fingers, and then peel them off easily. I’m still burning my fingers, but not as much.
MAKE BURLAP ROSETTES
We only have one more part to make before assembling the wreath. I decided that I did not want a bow on this wreath – all of my wreaths have bows and again I wanted something different. But, my vision of the layout had a blank spot. So, I thought I would make some burlap rosettes to fill in the gap. As usual, I searched “Fabric Rosettes” on Pinterest and found a ton of tutorials. Craftaholics Anonymous always has great tutorials so I clicked on the How to Make Burlap Flowers Tutorial. For my rosettes, I cut 3 strips of burlap in widths from 1-1/2” to 2” or so (I was not precise at all) and 24” in length (that’s all I had) and followed Linda’s steps in the tutorial. Easy, peasy.
ASSEMBLE THE WREATH
To assemble the wreath, I arranged my leaves and rosettes on the bottom center of the wreath. I used some pins to hold some of the leaves in place until I liked the arrangement.
To attach the stuffed felt leaves, I threaded some thin wire (mine was 24 gauge, but even floral wire will do – this is just what I had) through the back of the leaf and twisted it around the wreath. I only twisted the wire together a few times; I did not want it too tight because I wanted to be able to adjust them later.
Now, when I originally arranged my leaves, I forgot about the berries. So before I attached the smaller leaves, I added the berries. I cut 4-5 of the berry stems with wire cutters and placed them where I wanted them.
After placing the berries, I added only a few of the smaller leaves (remember, having more is better than not having enough). Once I had everything where I wanted it, I hot glued everything to the wreath to make sure it was secure.
ATTACH THE BANNER
To attach the banner, I centered the letters but offset it so it would hang at an angle. I just used a little hot glue at the ends to attach it to the wreath. Then, to give it a more finished look, I tied two twine bows and hot glued them over the raw edges.
CLEAN IT UP
Once everything was secure on the front, I turned my wreath over and cleaned up the back. I made my wires tighter and cut the tails. Also, I made a loop out of wire (nothing fancy) and attached it to the top of the back to use as the hanger.
HANG IT UP AND ADMIRE YOUR WORK!
Finally, it has all come together. Hang your wreath wherever you want it – on the front door, over the mantle, even on the bathroom door – hang it wherever it will make you happy. And lastly, admire your work. You made something pretty today.
Thanks for reading my tutorial and I hope you were able to make a pretty wreath, too. If you are interested in other tutorials like this one, stay tuned; I have many planned for the future. Take a minute to subscribe to my email list to get all posts as soon as they are available.
Don’t forget to make something pretty today!