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


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


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!



These are so sweet and simple. I love that they’re roses which are kind of girly but made out of leaves which is not so girly… And I LOVE those FALL COLORS!!!


I used to work with fall leaves (they’re everywhere in Virginia). If you brushed those fall roses with gel medium (Liquitex – gloss or flat – doesn’t matter), not only will they’ll pretty much last forever but they won’t dry out or lose color.


how long would these last? does the color continue to change color? i would love to make these as boutonnieres for my november wedding. my trees are changing color now and i’m afraid there won’t be any left if i wait till mid-november. think i could make them now and they will still look as beautiful?


Thanks all. Jess the flowers will try within a few days but keep quite a bit of color. I like Latasha’s suggestion above about brushing them with a gel medium.



Thanks for the tutorial.

Any ideas how well these will dry? Will they crumble once the leaves are dry?



I just bookmarked this post! I am absolutely positively going to make these for my mom on Thanksgiving! She’ll love them! =)

Thanks so much for the tip!


i will be doing this for my fall wedding next year! this is so supremely perfect!


oh neat Kate – my mum taught me how to do this with dyed stockings and wire :) I still remember making these as a little girl with her art students. What a great idea to do them with leaves.

Saeed Neamati

Leaf to rose flower. That’s just amazing. Though I’m not good at art works, but I enjoyed watching the simple idea of creating a rose from autumn leafs.


This is gorgeous! I can’t wait ’til the leaves turn color, fall on the ground, so I can start collecting them & making these! :)

Bridget from Refined Vintage

What a fun fall project! I too live in MIchigan but southern, and we are just starting to see some Autumn color changes.
I have pinned this to my Pinterest DIY board. It is always good to learn a new craft. Thank you Kate for sharing the technique.


I will look for colored leaves and may just make them with greenish ones I have in front of my house….Looks like fun to make. Thank you.


this is amazing, bright, clever, and WONDERFUL! i’m DEFINITELY going to try this when we have more fall leaves here in NYC.


This is awesome!!! so happy I stumbled across this blog! Love it!
your new follower – Jackie

Fresh Cut Spaces

I love how bright these flowers are – so vibrant!!! Wow :) I want to try this… if only I could DIY some time into my schedule! xo


So sweet! Love making anything that comes from nature. Thanks a bunch!


On April 23 in Catalonia we celebrate Saint George’s Day. It’s tradition that men give to their women a rose and women gift a book to them. It’s like Valentine’s day. It’s a nice day because all streets are full of books and roses, it smells good!


It’s such a wonderful idea!
I’m going to visit my little niece the first time on sunday..The roses are a perfect present for the parents (for Lilith i have an old musical box)
Thank you so much for sharing!


Can you spray a fixative/varnish type product on these to keep them past the season? They are gorgeous, and the colors would fit into my decor perfectly all year long.


these are fantastic! i would love to do this! but sadly, in hawaii, fall doesn’t show on the trees (: maybe i’ll go to a craft store and see if i can find artificial leafs anyway!



Rositsa a.k.a. roz

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! :)


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!


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


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!


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…..


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


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


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


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!!


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


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!!


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


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


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

Martha Merriam

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


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


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.


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!


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

Tristan King

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

kathleen quinn-farber

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 :-)


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???


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


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….

Rick Brumfield

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.



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.


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.


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!

Michelle Matthews

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?

Michelle Matthews

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?

Michelle Matthews

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

Grace Bonney


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.


Michelle Matthews

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