By Kid’s Craft Contributor, Gillian from the blog “Dried Figs and Wooden Spools”.
If your kids are like mine, you spend a lot of time in the fall looking at leaves. These days it takes us twice as long to walk anywhere because we have to stop at every leaf pile for a jump or a stomp, examine the red or orange or yellow leaves that have fallen to the ground since the day before, be awed by the color and the wonder of it all. Because fall is amazing, especially for kids but also for adults. So I’m willing to deal with extra long walks in order to get a chance to be a little amazed myself.
Although all the changing leaves in the neighbor hood fascinate my children, there is one standout that, fall or not, they will stop at every time. The Gingko tree.
I have to admit that I’m kind of fascinated by it too. The leathery leaves, the fan-like shape. The fact that, as my son never tires of pointing out, they were around in the time of the dinosaurs. Gingko leaves are just plain cool. And when they change in the fall, wow, do they put on a show. Every walk produces pockets and handfuls of the buttery yellow leaves that MUST be brought home. SO last week I went with it and decided to make a gingko leaf wreath with my children’s (and my) favorite fall specimen.
My daughter and I took a bag out one morning after the dew had dried and gathered a pile of leaves from a long row of the trees a few blocks from our house. When we got home I started pulling out the biggest, most perfect leaves to set aside for the front and went to work on the sides of the wreath.
I covered the outside and inside edges of a foam wreath with overlapping, medium sized leaves and plenty of hot glue. The idea being that I wanted none of the green to show through but I also knew that the bigger leaves on the front would fan out to cover most of the sides anyway, so I didn’t worry too much about the pattern of style here.
Once the edges were covered I carefully glued the larger leaves to the front, alternating the direction and trimming the stems as needed to create the look I was after. In the end I got a beautifully colored, but not over the top wreath that sings fall every time I open my front door.
Just a few notes on the wreath: Because I start putting my winter decorations up at the end of November, I was not concerned about the longevity of the wreath. While gingko leaves hold their color well compared to most fall leaves, they will turn brown and brittle given time. If you want the wreath to last longer, I would suggest dipping the end of the stem (after they are trimmed to length) in glycerin before attaching them to the wreath. Also, because this is a hot glue project be very careful if you plan on letting little fingers help out. My daughter was relegated to picking the leaves out of the bag and handing them to be to attached but older children who are capable of handling a low temp glue gun could do this project easily. Finally, it takes more leaves that you might think so make sure you get LOTS of leaves before you begin, because how irritating would it be to run out a few inches before your done. The same goes for glue sticks, as I found out attaching my next to last leaf. Grrr.