Today I'm sharing a tutorial for how to make your own yarn-wrapped oak leaf wreath. It feels a little bit weird posting an autumn (fall) craft project in August, but as I'm sure all my UK-based readers will agree it definitely feels like autumn at the moment!
This project originally appeared in the Autumn 2010 issue of UK Handmade, a fantastic free online magazine celebrating the UK craft scene.
The oak leaf wreath is decorated with a yummy autumnal shade of yarn and oak leaves cut from paper or felt.
To make your own wreath you will need:
- Either a ready-made wreath base from a craft store, or some corrugated cardboard, two plates, a pen or pencil and some scissors
- A ball of yarn
- Gold or brown paper, or brown felt
- A darning needle and sewing scissors
- Oak leaves to draw around, or the oak leaf templates at the bottom of this post
1) First you need to make the base for your wreath. Use a large dinner plate to draw a circle onto a piece of stiff corrugated card, then use a small plate to draw a second circle in the centre of the larger one. Use a pair of scissors to carefully poke a hole in the centre of the card and, starting from the hole outwards, cut out the middle circle until you’re left with a doughnut shaped piece of card. If you're using a store-bought wreath shape you can skip this step!
2) Now you need to hide that boring base with some lovely yarn. Choose yarn in a rich, autumnal shade and remember that the chunkier your yarn the less time you’ll have to spend wrapping your wreath.
Make a few small balls of your chosen yarn – these will be much easier to thread round your wreath shape than one large ball, and you want you can use two or three strands of yarn at a time to make the yarn-wrapping stage even quicker
3 ) Tape or the loose end of the first ball to what will become the back of your wreath (or just tie it tightly to secure it to the wreath) and gradually wrap the yarn round and round and round the card until you run out of yarn.
Tie the end of the first ball and the start of the second together (so the knot is hidden at the back of the wreath) and continue wrapping. Keep doing this until your wreath is evenly covered in yarn and none of the wreath base can be seen peeking through.
Tie the final end of yarn into the back of the wreath and trim any loose pieces.
4) Set aside your wreath for the moment and print and cut out the oak leaf templates provided (alternatively you can collect your own oak leaves to use as templates, or use other leaves that grown in your part of the world).
Using your leaf templates, draw an assortment of leaf shapes onto gold paper and cut them out. If you can’t find any gold paper, you can always use gold spray paint to decorate plain brown paper leaves or leave them as they are for a more natural, rustic look. You could also use brown felt, or a mix of autumnal leafy shades.
5) Now it’s time to decorate the wreath. Cut a length of the same yarn you used to wrap the wreath and knot the end onto the back of the wreath.
Using a darning needle make a small stitch at into the base of yarn wrapped around the card where you want to position your first leaf and then make one long stitch down the bottom half of the leaf. Your stitch should start and end at the back of the leaf. Finish by making another small stitch in the base of yarn to help keep the leaf in place.
Repeat this process with each leaf shape, gradually layering the leaves on top of each other as you work your way down the side of the wreath. You will use several lengths of yarn doing this, as before tie the final ends of the yarn into the back of the wreath and trim any loose pieces so they are not visible.
You could alternatively glue the leaves in place, or if you're using a polystyrene wreath base you could use pretty pins to stick your leaves into the base.
6) Finally, use another length of yarn (or a piece of co-ordinating ribbon) to hang the wreath in place. Please note that the wreath is not waterproof, so you'll need to hang it indoors or on a porch where it will be well sheltered from the elements!
This wreath would also look lovely made in a springtime colourway - just use green paper or felt for the leaves instead of brown or gold, and use a bright and cheerful shade of yarn.
Here's a template for some leaves, including a selection of oak leaves in different sizes. Click on the image to view it, then click again to view it full size and print.
This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it for as many wreaths and leaf-themed things as you like for yourself or as gifts for friends but please don't make any for sale. Please feel free to borrow photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial on your site. Thanks!
Want some more ideas for leafy craft projects? Make a paper leaf garland, use leaf shapes to decorate simple notecards, or wrap your gifts with fun woodland-themed gift wrapping.