I like challenges. Contests. Deadlines (although those frequently go Whoosh! in passing they do get me moving.) So, thank you CSI Project, for inspiring this bit of Autumn deco.
- Leaf pattern
- Old catalog (a magazine or newspaper would also work)
- About 1 foot of wire (I used 20 gauge copper – colored craft wire would be fun)
- Mod Podge
- Paint (I used red and orange)
- Craft knife
- Wire cutter
- Brush (I used a little foam brush for both the Mod Podge and the paint)
I started with a Google Image search for a maple leaf pattern. I found one (along with 4 Pumpkin Pie recipes) at http://www.gweni.mrogenski.com/photos.htm. I printed it and cut it out.
Using my pattern and the craft knife, I cut leaves out of the catalog. It might have been easier if I’d used a little something to stick the pattern down with. But since I knew I wanted a rough, not-quite-finished look this worked fine. I cut 3 sets of leaves. I cut from the inside to the outside on each point, and moved the catalog around so I was always cutting AWAY from myself. (Cutting through the layers pulls on the blade and it wants to zoom off as you finish.)
Since I was cutting down through multiple layers of pages, my cuts weren’t all the same depth so I had a couple leaves where I tore a corner that hadn’t been cut. I ended up with about 2 dozen leaves of mostly the same size and shape.
Next I worked on the stem. I took the wire and cut about 6″. I folded it in half and twisted the ends together, leaving a loop (about big enough to fit a pencil into). Then I curled the end into a spiral so there’d be a good surface for the Mod Podge to stick to.
To assemble this, I started with a piece of cooking parchment so my leaf wouldn’t stick too much while I was layering it. I applied Mod Podge between each layer of paper leaf. I wanted a rough finish, so I didn’t worry about getting the leaf layers lined up exactly, or about keeping the surface perfectly smooth.
When I got half-way through the stack, I added the stem. After that, I made sure I pressed firmly around the stem each time I added a layer. When I had all the layers stuck down, I turned up several of the points to give it some shape.
To let this dry, I strung several paperclips together, hooked the top one over the arm of the chandelier, and the other end through the loop on the stem. Just make sure it’s dry enough first that the stem doesn’t slide out. I kept picked it up and moving it around on the parchment so it wouldn’t stick.
When the Mod Podge was dry, I painted the leaf – front and back – with red. I left the uneven edges plain. Then I added the orange, more or less through the center of the leaf, leaving brushmarks to give it some texture. I liked the way the print on the catalog pages showed through. You could add extra coats if you wanted less transparency. I then hung it back on the chandelier to dry again.
After the paint dried, I took the remain wire and cut it into three pieces, one longer than the other two. I used round-nosed pliers to turn the wire pieces into coils, but you could wrap them around a knitting needle or pen or some such. After twisting them into tight coils, I pulled them into tendrils. I made loops in one end of each wire and added them to the stem.
Now my Shabby Leaf adds a touch of Autumn to my computer lamp. Let’s see if I remember to take it down before Christmas<g>