Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Magnolia Leaf Wreath (A Tutorial)

I'm showing you how to make your very own magnolia leaf wreath. You know the kind. The big, beautiful, full, lush, kind made from the big leaves of a southern Magnolia tree. One of two things are going to happen. 1.) You'll be totally inspired and start harvesting leaves directly or 2.) You will run screaming for the hills.

This is why the 'big companies' charge SO much for this type of wreath. On a scale of 1-5, I give it a four, but only on the time consuming end, it is actually very easy to construct. I'm going to show you how. If you chose number one read on. :)

Now you guys know I love a wreath, my Etsy Shop is full of them, but I wanted to try my hand at this sort of wreath. Typically, I like investing my time in something that is going to last several years (which is why I specialize in permanent botanicals) but I have been wanting to expand into drieds and thought this is the perfect time.

Supplies you will need:

Magnolia leaves, fresh (from tree) and dried (fallen)

Paddle wire, 22 gauge

Wire cutters

14 " wreath form



First of all, collect leaves from the ground. At this time of year they are all over. Also, involve your kids. Logan helped me A LOT and totally had a ball.
We filled Walmart bags and spent about 45 minutes picking up leaves.

To make a 28" wreath I'll give you the numbers:

I made fifty bundles of six leaves. 4 brown and two green. That's 300 leaves. If you are wondering, I did not count as we gathered, I counted bundles after (specifically for this tute). It took me about and hour and a half to make all the bundles.

(Thanks to Keegan who took pictures for me)

I'm working outside (I told you it's been really mild) where there is plenty of room. Magnolia leaves are so perfect for making a wreath because the stems act as little handles and allow the wire a place to be. (Does that make sense?)

I started with four browns and put two greens on top and wire together at the stem
Pardon my ugly 'working hands'. :)

I moved inside when the sun went down and worked right on the counter. This is when the process speeds up considerably.

Wire on the first bundle of leaves. Wire on another bundle right next to it. Then repeat. 50 times. Wire it on the the wreath as tight as you can, keeping them close, creating a full look.

Just keep swimming wiring...

Just keep going around the wreath. You may not believe me, but it really does happen, it just naturally shapes itself as you work around, it's really neat. You'll see.

This is the view from the back. You can see all the wire from the bundles. At this point, snip off the excess wire, to give it a neat look (even though no one see the back:) It took maybe another thirty minutes to wire on the bundles.

You are done! It's ready to hang. I did put a 'loop' of wire on the back so it hangs at the right height on the wreath holder. Step back and admire your handiwork. You did it!

I think with some care, this will last for some time, although I'm sure the green will eventually fade to brown. So just under three hours, a wreath is born {Whoa!}. Just to give you a point of reference, I can usually crank out a silk wreath in about thirty minutes. :)

All in all, I am tickled pink with the result and really happy I tried to do this. I hope you'll give it a try too.

Need a design boost? For advice and guidance on style, contact me!


  1. Oh wow, your wreath is gorgeous! Now if I only had a magnolia tree!

  2. The wreath is beautiful, I have 4 magnolias in my yard so I should have plenty of leaves to make one or more. Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. I don't know how you do it, but each and everything you do on here I love. If I were made of money, I'd hire you out to come make my home look amazing like yours is! I do love this wreath, just like I love everything we do. We just moved to a new home, and I literally have throught about you, and tried to implement things I've seen on here. Is that okay? :)

  4. I love it! I look forward to email daily :) stop by and see my holiday paper wreath.

  5. You did a beautiful job. I wanted to pick magnolia leaves off the trees at our hotel in South Carolina, but I thought I might get arrested! I really wanted to make an all green one, but I wouldn't have thought to get that many leaves anyway. I think they are gorgeous and I'm always too cheap to order one. Maybe next year I can find a place to "pick"!

  6. Oh my goodness! Your wreath is beautiful! Thanks for sharing directions. I love the way you altered the front and back sides of the leaves!

  7. Thanks for the tutorial. I have a young magnolia tree and usually cut branches for decorating, but hopefully, it'll have enough large leaves for a wreath. Yours is gorgeous!

  8. I have ALWAYS wanted to do this and have been trying to "mentally" prepare myself that this is the year :) Thank you for this wonderful tutorial. Now I just have to go sweet talk some neighbors into allowing me to pick some leaves off their trees :)

    I really enjoy your blog and wish you a very happy holiday season!


  9. We recently planted a dwarf magnolia tree. I want to make two of these in the future :).

  10. Have you considered using magnolia leaves preserved with glycerin solution? They are a beautiful bronze color and remain supple...and last several years.

  11. Hi Michelle, I found your tutorial pinned on Pinterest and couldn't wait to try to make one for myself. Your instructions were so easy to follow and I love your beautiful wreath and had fun creating my own I finally posted it today and thought you might enjoy seeing it. I credited you and your tutorial in my post and added a link back here. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Here's the link to my post: http://cottonpickincute.blogspot.com/2013/10/make-your-own-magnolia-leaf-wreath.html

    Have a wonderful week. Hugs...Tracy @ Cotton Pickin Cute

  12. Beautiful flowers. Always make me be filled with joy and more and more joy.
    Thank you.

    Apple Trees & Magnolia Trees

  13. They are so beautiful! I used both the flowers and leaves for my wedding so they are very special to me, love the name too!

    Landscape Gardener Suffolk & Timber Decking Suffolk


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