Monday, December 14, 2015

DIY Scrap Leather Magnolia Wreath

I've had this idea in my head for over a year now. I really love the look of fresh magnolia leaves in Christmas decorations. They just have a wonderful contrast of rust brown, and a fresh glossy green. I thought that this wreath idea would be a great way to use some of my large quantities of scrap leather (all off-cuts from upholstery projects given to me - literally a large black garbage bag full).

The wreath was quite easy to make, and there are a lot of ways you could customize the look. I chose to make all the leaves the same size (roughly) using a pattern. The leaves are made up of 3 pieces each. A leather front (shades of greens, browns, and a few flat black ones), a brown backing paper (cardstock), and a length of floral wire. They are glued together with contact cement, then trimmed into leaf shapes. I tried spray adhesive, but it wasn't strong enough of a glue bond.

I had a look at a number of real magnolia wreaths as inspiration. Here are two simple ones:

You can make the wreath with a lot more leaves, smaller leaves, or with a mix of different sizes. You can also keep them all the same colour, or use only green and brown. I've also seen wreaths with lots of different bows, with flowers (real or silk), and with a mix of other decorations (red berries for more of a Christmas look). Mine is pretty plain, so it can work as a Fall/Winter wreath as well.

The leather scraps that I used were in a pretty wide variety of shades, glosses, and textures.

I custom made the wreath frame (heavy wire, thin wire wrap on the joints, solder, and then black spray paint), but you can use a commercially available one, or even a foam one. The leaves are individually wrapped onto the frame, and then bent into gentle curves.