diy project: autumn leaf bouquet

I don’t know what it’s like in your neighborhood, but when I step outside here in Oakland, I sense it right away: Fall is in the air! I’m lucky enough to have a few turning trees on my street, so I don’t miss out entirely on the brilliant autumn colors I remember from growing up in NH. Speaking of brilliant autumn colors, I’m thrilled to share this stunning maple leaf rose bouquet DIY from a fellow Kate — clay, fiber and paper artist Kate Hust.

Kate first learned how to make these a few years ago from a retired art teacher in her community, and now they’ve become an annual tradition when fall rolls around. Her instructor taught her to wrap the leaves really tight, so they looked like rose buds,  but Kate has modified the technique a bit to suit her own tastes: She likes to find the really big leaves and make them with large open “petals.” She’s clearly perfected the craft, and I’m so happy that she’s decided to pass the tradition on to us. Thanks for sharing, Kate! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump!

The best part of living in Northern Michigan is the changing seasons. For a few weeks every fall, we live in a picture-perfect postcard. Our home is on a street lined with maple trees, so the materials for these are abundant. As I carefully select fallen leaves from my front lawn, picking them up individually, I have to reassure my curious neighbors that this is not how I do all my yard work! Every time I make these, I am convinced “this one is my favorite!” These are a great way to make those few weeks of fall last a little longer, and when given to others, they’re a sure way to brighten someone’s day. — Kate Hust

Materials

  • 10 colorful maple leaves per flower in various sizes (they should be dry & freshly fallen, so they are pliable)
  • short twigs
  • scissors
  • floral tape

Instructions

1. Using one of the smaller leaves, place the colorful side down and fold the points in. Begin to roll the leaf from one side.
2. Take a second leaf and fold the center point down. Place the first rolled leaf in the center, fold down the side points on the second leaf and wrap both sides around the first “bud.”
3. Continue to add leaves, rotating the flower as you go to get an even size. Work with the smaller leaves at the center and the larger ones toward the outside. When you rotate, it also helps to keep the petals tucked in so that it doesn’t unravel.
4. When you have added all your leaves or reached the desired size, pinch the leaf stems tightly and begin to wrap with florist tape. Trim the stem ends by cutting with scissors.
5. Finally, if you are wanting a “long stem,” use a stick and attach to the flower by wrapping it with a bit more florist tape.
6. You’re done!

 

  1. Oh, I SO love this! I make such roses from paper and fabric, but have never thought of using leaves! Such a great, great idea, THANK YOU! :)

  2. Incredible and creative! I guess I’m not raking up and tossing the leaves away!

  3. JOANNA SHOEMAKER says:

    Those have got to be the coolest thing I have EVER seen! I live in Central IN. Most of the leaves have fallen & are getting yucky. But, rest assured, I plan to try this apparently simple project next fall! Thank you and thanks to Kate for sharing!

  4. Gina says:

    Such a great idea.. as everything you do! Bravo!

  5. Aaria says:

    OMG… these flowers are looking really beautiful….. i just love the idea…. great post…thanks for sharing! :)

  6. Allison says:

    We did this for Thanks Giving. It was a great idea… and turned into a family creativity session to see who could design the most beautiful leaf-flower. The kids especially liked it!

  7. Tori says:

    Man! I wish I had seen this tutorial a few weeks ago! The leaves are all dried beyond foldability now. Bummer. I’l def. be doing this next year! We have a sugar maple right next to the house…..

  8. wow! i’m amazed by such creativity! Very beautiful! I’m gonna try this one.

  9. Cheryl Leu says:

    Incredible! Inspiring! Must try! Thanks so much for posting and for all the gorgeous photos!

  10. Natalie says:

    love this!!!! you could try it with artificial leaves….they wouldnt dry out and break

  11. Lilibet says:

    What an amazing idea. All the leaves around me are too crispy already. I wish I had seen this post earlier!!

  12. claire says:

    beautiful!

  13. Ramya says:

    Awesome..First time I am seeing something like that…really nice flowers.. And they’ve been folded really neatly too…

  14. Lindsey says:

    This is just what I was looking for. I am having a outdoor country fall wedding on Oct. 6, 2012. I am a nature loving girl and I wanted my bouquet to be super personal and natural and well to be honest how much closer could I get. These will also make wonderful Boutonnières paired with a contrasting leaf and maybe a mum and a few acorns. Thanks this idea was perfect!!

  15. Beautiful! YOu make it look so easy!

  16. Connie says:

    Love these! It feels like fall but it’s not yet spring…I may try this with some new leaves.

  17. This is gorgeous!! What a great idea! Bookmarked for sure ;)

  18. IRENE LOUBERE says:

    This is really cute, im going to try it for sure, and show it to my little nieces on holyday there, and share. Many thanks!!

  19. Amanda says:

    This is awesome. Fall is my favorite time of year so I am definitely going to give this a try.

  20. Anne Denney says:

    Love it! Thanks for posting :)

  21. salve says:

    beautiful! I”ll try the technique with other material. No maple leaves in the Philippines! Thanks for sharing!

  22. salve says:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing.No maple leaves in the Philippines. I’ll try other options.

  23. Martha Merriam says:

    I wish you had directions that could be printed for this rose leaf made from maple leaves.

  24. Ashleigh says:

    I have Successfully gotten this to work with Silk leaves to! In New mexico you never know when the leaves will change colors

  25. Ci.dy says:

    Absolutely beautiful you are amazing! It seems so simple but when I do it it does not look like yours. Can you make a tutorial on this maybe on youtube? I want to make this for my bridesmaid.

  26. Bridelicious says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Too bad there aren’t any maple leaves in HK, will have to try with other leaves and see if it works and looks the same!

  27. Jessica says:

    How well do they keep? Do you think spraying them with a clear acrylic spray will preserve them?

  28. Tristan King says:

    I like it so much I plan to do it for this girls birthday and hopefully she will like it and say yes to going out with me

  29. I mentioned that to my son Jessica, and he said you would have to use automobile clearcoat which you mix with “activator” and dip them in in order to coat it thoroughly. But then again, it’d be fun to just do it yearly anyway :-)

  30. kiki says:

    that looks FABULOUS!!

  31. cristina says:

    How do you get those inner-most leaves to stay put. I haven’t been able to make my roses as big as yours because the inner leaves start to slip out when I begin to wrap with the floral tape. What’s the trick???

  32. Brent says:

    You can also buy fall leaves from specialty online stores, I found one called botanicalart.etsy.com that sells these leaves, pressed and preserved. Especially useful if you live in an area with not much fall color, like me in Texas! :-)

  33. Cameron says:

    I am going to try this is fake leafs I got from a craft store! Will it work as well as real? I see everyone has used real leafs….

  34. Rick Brumfield says:

    I was wondering if theres a video out there on this? Or maybe a few more pics? I did some for my girlfriend & they looked ok, but I could not get the open flower look. The folding/rolling was sending for a loop. A few more pics at the beginning to show how you get to core shape & how to roll the leaves on to the core would be great.

    Thanks!

  35. Kate Pruitt says:

    Hi Rick,

    Sorry, we do not have a video tutorial. However, this type of project has been recreated elsewhere, and an earlier commenter posted this tutorial that has some additional photos of the first steps: http://www.lobzik.pri.ee/modules/news/article.php?storyid=244. Hopefully this helps, good luck!!

  36. tippau says:

    If you want a leaf rose that will last forever, consider using silk leaves. They’re available in stems, bunches and garlands at craft stores and dollar stores this time of year.

  37. Hayley says:

    Just tried this with apricot leaves, which are quite small. It worked beautifully and was so easy to do. I’m going to try this with my kids this weekend.

  38. Kelsey says:

    How long does it take to make one flower?

  39. Bryanna says:

    I don’t have any crimson trees around me, but there is a nice orange one next door at the neighbor’s. I’m sending my brother out as I type to go get me some leaves so i can try this!

  40. ravey says:

    Really cool.great idea

  41. ravey says:

    Great idea thanks

  42. Patricia Villa says:

    Grear idea, thanks

  43. Michelle Matthews says:

    I love the roses and I was wondering when using gel medium do you coat all the leaves first before making the rose? Will the leaves still be pliable to make the roses?

  44. Michelle Matthews says:

    I’m leaving another comment about the process to make these beautiful roses. I got my leafs and coated them with gel medium. The tuned white, lost color and not pretty at all. When using glycerin does it make the leaves shiny? Does it dry to preserve the leaves? And in my previous comments, do you coat the leaves before you make the actual rose?

  45. betty says:

    How did she do that it looks hard.

  46. Michelle Matthews says:

    I guess I’m not going to get an answer to my comments. That’s ok because I’ve looked elsewhere for the information.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      Michelle

      I sent your request to the post author but have not heard back. As this is a rather old post, it sometimes takes authors a while to get back to things they don’t have immediately on hand.

      Grace

  47. Michelle Matthews says:

    That’s quite ok, I understand. I tried using the medium gel…It didn’t work so well; so I put the project on hold until fall. I will look for a different coating. Thank you

    Michelle Matthews

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