Autumn Fancy

Celebrate nature in transition with a fall wreath.

November 17, 2011

Made with the colorful but perishable leaves of autumn, this wreath fleetingly captures the beauty of the season. The technique used to craft the wreath also works with longer-lasting evergreen foliage, such as magnolia, boxwood, and fir; but when applied to deciduous leaves that have just begun to turn, the results are brilliant.

Leaves that are somewhat thick or leathery to begin with will hold up better than paper-thin leaves, which are more likely to shrivel as they dry. For this wreath, designer Mark Kintzel of Allentown, Pennsylvania, collected foliage from a dogwood that displayed a rainbow of fall hues: chartreuse, amber, russet, and bronze. Expect the wreath to last a week or two as a table centerpiece indoors or twice as long when hung outdoors on a door or gate. Because the leaves aren't preserved with chemicals, they can be put into the compost pile when you're done with the wreath.


Continue reading to get started.


Gather tools and materials

  • 12-inch wire wreath frame
  • Paddle of 22-gauge floral wire
  • Wire snips
  • With pruning shears, cut 30 to 40 leafy branch tips, each about 8 to 12 inches long, from trees or shrubs that are starting to show fall color.

Step 1

Twist a 1-inch loop of floral wire and secure it to the back of the frame. The loop will be used later to hang the wreath.


Step 2

Cluster three or more branches in a way that allows the leaves to feather naturally over each other; avoid crushing the leaves.

Using a short length of floral wire, secure the stems together.

Twist the wire to leave two ends about 3 inches long.


Step 3

Place the bundle of stems flat against the wreath frame and secure it in place with the wire. Snip off the excess wire and tuck the sharp ends behind the stems.


Step 4

Repeat step 3, placing each successive branch cluster so its leaves cover the stems of the previous cluster. Overlap the leaves densely to make a full wreath and hide the form entirely.

Tuck the last bundle of branches under the tips of the first.

A wreath of this size usually requires 10 to 12 leaf clusters. For variety, consider adding crabapple-laden twigs, sweetgum seed pods, or grass plumes.

For more seasonal decorating ideas, check out Outsider Art.