Thursday, January 23, 2014

TNO's Tips & Tricks # 46 - DIY Leaf Garland

After a quick search on Etsy, I realized that purchasing a leaf garland for the kids' first/third woodland themed birthday party was going to cost me a pretty penny.  Like this garland below from Etsy, which costs $22 for 10 feet.

It's gorgeous, right?  But ten feet could barely cover my fireplace - it certainly couldn't cover the entire ceiling which is what I had envisioned for the party.  Instead of scrapping the idea, I hit the fabric store to try and figure out a better plan.

With a coupon, I was able to pick up 2 yards of green felt fabric and some felt glue for less than $15.  I also had some twine around the house that I used for the project as well.

While making my own DIY leaf garland definitely took quite a bit of time - it wasn't anything that a few episodes of television shows on Netflix and some later nights after the kids were in bed couldn't handle.  I started out by finding this pattern for leaf templates.  I printed the template out on card stock and then cut out the 6 inch and 4 inch leaf templates to vary the sizes a bit.

I cut out the leaves so that I would have two to three of the smaller leaves to every one of the larger leaves.  This left me a good pattern when I strung them on the twine as well as more bang for my buck with more leaves on the same sheet of fabric.  Out of the two yard piece of fabric, I was able to cut out several hundred leaves.

Once I had the leaves cut, I grabbed my twine and felt glue.  I'd cut just a little extra stem on the end of each leaf so that when I affixed them to the twine, I had a piece of fabric to fold over and glue around the piece of twine - meaning the leaves would all stay in place exactly where I glued them.  Once the glue was in place, I found I needed to sit a can on top of the folded over and glued stem to keep it in place while it dried.

The gluing process took a bit of time, as I only had so many cans.  I had to glue, leave the cans sit on the leaves for about an hour or two, leave them an additional 2-3 hours with the cans off to cure, and then I could start the whole process over further down the piece of twine with more leaves.  It was easy work, but did take a bit of time.

Once finished with this step, I would highly recommend if you aren't going to string your garland immediately that you wrap it around something so that the twine doesn't tangle and your loving husband doesn't end up spending hours untangling your DIY leaf garland.  Love you, DH.  After that debacle, we used an empty toilet paper roll, but a wrapping paper roll would also work well.

To affix the garland to the ceiling was relatively easy.  Since the garland consisted of only felt and twine - just a piece or two of tape did the job.  I put up the garland about a week before the party to get it out of the way and also to give it some time just in case anything was going to fall down.  Only one strand did fall down {a strand I'd only used one piece of tape to string up}, and with an extra piece of tape it stayed until we took it down after the party.  Check out how it looked at the party here:

I was able to string my one piece of twine across our living room/kitchen area {approximately 2-3 feet in width} at least 12 times.  I also was able to add garland to the trim of 6 doors {two being double doors} and our first to second story staircase railing.

For under $15, I was able to make over 200 feet of leaf garland for the kids' woodland themed birthday party.  If we were using the same shop I linked at the top of this post - it would have cost me almost $500 for a garland that length.  If you're planning a party and only want a shorter length - you can still save money by buying only a letter sized sheet of felt at your local craft store as well!

If you'd like to see more of our woodland birthday party decor {DIY and store-bought!}, check out my other posts here & here!

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