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I have a lot of scraps and craft supplies. A lot. When I survey them all I wonder how all of this … stuff … made the move with us when so much else got left behind. But I am grateful for it, too, as it gives me easy access to materials to experiment with.

Case in point: this month’s craft. I have a box of leather scraps that were given to my husband by our friend, Moira. He’s used much of the larger pieces to make cuffs and runes (like the ones pictured below), but there’s plenty still left over. I’ve had this wreath design pinned for years and I wondered if I could put the two together.

Since I was dealing with leather, though, which wouldn’t fold the way the felt does in those wreaths, I had to improvise. Which kicked off a two week period of unstructured, free-wheeling crafting that ended with four different wreath designs featuring three different types of materials, some close calls with the X-acto knife and several hot glue burns. Totally worth it.

This tutorial shows you how to make each wreath and a door hanging using leather, cardboard and felt. Don’t feel limited to those materials, though. The leaves could be cut from vinyl, pleather, balsa wood, etc.

The Magick of Wreaths

Wreaths have a long history, practically, symbolically and magickally.  They are often made from evergreen branches to symbolize strength.  They can include a variety of leaves such as ivy, oak, olive, myrtle, laurel, as well as stalks of wheat and even vines.  Laurel leaves are associated with Apollo, victory, achievement and status, thus the reasoning behind crowning winners with laurel leaves in the ancient Olympics.  Oak leaves are associated with Zeus and wisdom.  And traditionally, harvest wreaths–made from wheat stalks and red and white wool thread–were hung to bring protection from crop failure and plagues.  The magick isn’t just in the materials used to make the wreaths, though.  As I wrote in Sew Witchy: “[The circle] represents unity, the whole, the entirety and deity. … Use circular designs to bring spells to fruition ….”

According to Bridget Broihahn, “Spring and summer wreaths are reported to mean life and growth. Autumn wreaths mean the changing of time and the cycle of life. Autumn wreaths can also represent abundance and the harvest.”  While they can be used as protective talismans, it’s their welcoming energy that I prefer to tap into. Hanging a wreath on a door is an intentional act, one that can be used to manifest abundance, happiness and other positive energies. 

As a piece of spellwork you could write what you wish to bring into your home on the back of each leaf.  This is a craft that could be done in a group as a coven craft. People could each decorate one or a number of leaves to be used in the wreath. If you are  pagan parent you could work on the wreath with your children and talk about Persephone (covering the multiple versions of her myth), and discuss what abundance means for them. 

I recommend using scraps for this project if you can, to tap into the theme of the harvest, and to keep those items out of the landfill.  If you don’t have access to scrap leather, you can find leather belts, bags and coats at local thrift stores. For the door hanging I use craft weight interfacing in between the felt to give the leaves a bit more bulk, and because I have tons of scraps of it in my workshop, but it is optional.  You can get the same effect, if you wish, by using another piece of felt.  If working this project with children make sure to supervise them as it does require cutting with a X-acto knife and hot glue.

If you make any of these wreaths, please post pictures in the comments. I’d love to see them!

Leather Leaf Wreath

Autumn leaf wreaths made from leather scraps.

Materials

Tools

  • Leaf shape template
  • X-acto knife or rotary cutter
  • Hot glue gun

Instructions

1) Print out the Autumn Leaf Wreath Template PDF and cut out the template marked Leaf A. You may want to either print the template out on cardstock or trace the cutout onto a piece of heavier paper like an index card.

2) Trace the template onto the leather scraps and cut them out using an X-acto knife or a rotary cutter. You will need a life, the universe and everything’s worth of leaves, otherwise known as forty-two (42).

3) Draw a circle with a 7” radius on the cardboard. Inside that, draw another circle with a 5” radius to make a ring that is 2” wide. Cut out the ring with the X-acto knife.

4) Mark the top center of the ring and glue a ribbon at that point for a hanger.

5) Starting at the ribbon, lay one leaf on the ring and glue the bottom of it in place. Do not glue the entire leaf down as you need the top part free when you finish the wreath. Lay down the next leaf, offset and slightly overlapping the first. Continue to lay down and layer the leaves in two rows around the ring.

6) When you reach your starting point, slip the bottom of the last leaf under the top of the first leaf and glue down. 

7} When the glue dries hang your wreath.

Cardboard Wreath A

Autumn leaf wreaths made from cardboard.

Materials

  • A piece of cardboard at least 10” x 10” square
  • Scraps of cardboard 
  • Colored pencils, markers, paint, crayons, etc. for decorating the leaves
  • Hot glue
  • A piece of ribbon 6” long
  • Autumn Leaf Wreath Template PDF

Tools

  • Leaf shape template
  • X-acto knife or rotary cutter
  • Hot glue gun

Instructions

1) Print out the Autumn Leaf Wreath Template PDF and cut out the template marked Leaf A. You may want to either print the template out on cardstock or trace the cutout onto a piece of heavier paper like an index card.

2) Trace the template onto the cardboard scraps and cut out seventeen (17) using an X-acto knife.

3) Draw a circle with a 5” radius on the cardboard. Inside that, draw another circle with a 4.34” radius to make a ring that is 1/2” wide. Cut out the ring with the X-acto knife.

4) Mark the top center of the ring and glue a ribbon at that point for a hanger.

5) Decorate leaves. (Note: the leaf shape is similar to a vulva. The yoni symbol is one of fertility and abundance, and so it isn’t out of place when it comes to this project. However, if you don’t want to include that kind of image in your wreath, you will want to avoid designs that accentuate the similarity.) Write what you want to bring into your home on the reverse of the leaves. Arrange them around the ring how you want before attaching them to the ring.

6) Glue the leaves onto the ring. Let the glue dry and then hang the wreath on your door.

Cardboard Wreath B

Autumn leaf wreaths made from cardboard.

Materials

  • Scraps of cardboard 
  • Colored pencils, markers, paint, crayons, etc. for decorating the leaves
  • Hot glue
  • A piece of ribbon 6” long
  • Autumn Leaf Wreath Template PDF 

Tools

  • Leaf shape template
  • X-acto knife or rotary cutter
  • Hot glue gun

Instructions

1) Print out the Autumn Leaf Wreath Template PDF and cut out the template marked Leaf A. You may want to either print the template out on cardstock or trace the cutout onto a piece of heavier paper like an index card.

2) Trace the template onto the cardboard scraps and cut out fifteen (15) using an X-acto knife.

3) Paint or color five of the leaves green, five purple and five blue (or another three color combination, perhaps white, red and green).

4) Lay one leaf over the other and glue in place. Using a circle as a guide, continue to layer the leaves until you’ve made a complete circle.

5) Add a ribbon to hang the wreath or hang on the door.

Autumn Door Hanging

Autumn leaf door hanger.

Materials

  • Stick measuring about 10” – 12” long
  • Felt in coordinating colors
  • Matching embroidery thread
  • Twine
  • Craft interfacing (optional)
  • Autumn Leaf Wreath Template PDF  

Tools:

  • Scissors
  • Embroidery needle
  • Drill or Dremel
  • Awl

Instructions

1) Print out the Autumn Leaf Wreath Template PDF and cut out the templates marked Leaf A and Leaf B (if using craft interfacing). You may want to either print them out on cardstock or trace the cutouts onto a piece of heavier paper like an index card.

2) Trace the Template A onto the felt scraps and cut out twelve (12) using scissors.

3) Stitch letters from the Autumn Leaf Wreath Template (or stitch your own) onto six of the leaves using a long straight stitch.

4) If using craft interfacing cut out six (6) inner leaves using the Leaf B template. Sandwich the interfacing between two felt leaves, one with the letter. Using a blanket stitch or other stitch stitch the two felt leaves together taking care to not catch the interfacing in the stitching.

5) If not using the craft interfacing use a blanket stitch to stitch two felt leaves together.

6) Using the awl, poke a hole at the top of each leaf.

7) Cut six (6) lengths of twine. Fold one in half and thread the looped middle through the hole from the backside. Run the loose ends of the twine through the twine loop and pull closed, creating a hanger for the leaf.

8) Arrange the leaves how you want them spaced. With a pencil mark the spacing on the wooden branch. Drill holes in the branch.

9) Thread the twine through the holes in the branch and knot the twine. You can use glue to secure the twine if you want.

Celebrate the Autumn Equinox by making one of these autumn leaf wreaths with materials you have around the house.

10) Cut a length of twine and tie it to each end of the branch to make a hanger. Hang your door art on your door.

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