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Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

For this year's fall decorations I wanted to expand on the style of my Paper Bag Pumpkins with their muted colors and rustic, crinkly texture.  I'm really on a Kraft paper kick right now.  I love the feeling of it and the simple brown tone.  These individually handmade leaves can be combined into a centerpiece or wreath.  I've made them in three colors: the plain paper brown, a matte dove gray, and a metallic silver.  I think they would also look amazing with gold, and maybe  a deep rusty pumpkin orange.

Supplies:

  • Brown Kraft paper
  • scrap paper
  • cardboard
  • pen & mechanical pencil
  • scissors
  • brown floral tape
  • 24 gauge floral wire
  • 16 gauge wrapped floral wire
  • wire snips
  • hot glue gun, hot glue sticks
  • awl
  • white glue
  • paint brush
  • matte gray acrylic paint, metallic silver spray paint
  • acorns
  • container of your choice.

Step 1: Oak leaves can be pretty tricky to draw freehand, so I've made a template. If you live in an area that has oak trees, by all means, trace real leaves!  I don't have access to oaks, so I've traced a vintage millinery leaf to get my shape.  You can also print out this picture here and use it to make a template.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial  

Step 2: I think the best part of this project is the texture of the paper.  Create the texture by taking a piece of brown paper, and crumpling it up in your fists.  Crumple, and then flatten it out.  Then repeat 4 or 5 times.  Each time you crumple it, you are creating a more complex texture.  There's a point where it starts to feel almost like fabric, and feels almost soft.  Smooth out the paper, and use your template to trace leaf shapes.  Imperfections are A-OK!  I let the lines wobble and stray.  They don't need to be cookie cutter.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

Step 3: Cut out the shapes. Again, feel free to be messy.  It's nice to have variations in the leaves.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial  

Step 4: Place the leaf on a piece of cardboard or the back of a notepad, and use a mechanical pencil (with NO lead!) to draw the center vein down the middle of the leaf.  It will just lightly emboss the paper.  This is a minor detail, but a nice one.  If you want to go all out you can draw in all of the veins.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial  

Now do it all over again, and make a big pile of leaves!  This is a good project to do in front of Antiques Roadshow.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial  

Step 5: Paint some of the leaves in a matte color.  I'm using Folk Art Home Decor Chalk paint in Parisian Grey.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial  

Step 6: Give some of the leaves a metallic finish.  I took some outside on a piece of cardboard and spray painted them silver.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial 

Step 7: Now we'll attach the stems.  Paint some white glue on the ends of your skinny floral wire, and use the tail-end of your paint brush to press the stems onto the backs of your leaves.  Let dry.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial  

Step 8:  Use some brown floral tape to bind the leaf stems onto a thicker piece of floral wire.  Add one or two leaves a little farther down the stem to make a branch.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial 

Step 9: Now we'll make acorn stems.  Use an awl to carefully poke a hole in the acorn's cap.  Fill the hole with a dot of hot glue, and insert a doubled piece of skinny floral wire.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial 

32Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

It's nice to have some acorns on their own in the arrangement, and some bundled together as if they grew in a cluster.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

 Add acorns to your branches with floral tape.   Make a nice variety of branches with different configurations of leaves and acorns.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns TutorialPaper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

Select a container for your arrangement.  I've used an antique ironstone pitcher with a spikey flower frog at the bottom to hold the branches in place.  A pumpkin would make a super vase, or even an old basket.

  Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial   

If you have extra branches, they can be bent into a little wreath to put on a window or cupboard.  

Paper Oak Leaves and Acorns Tutorial

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  As always, if you love it, share it!

1 comment

  • Suzanne Melton: November 05, 2016

    Loved this! Ordered the acorns and “Liked” your FB page. Always great to support a Seattle small business.

    As I was looking through the tutorial, I noticed that the white pitcher blends into the background wall and the oak leaves look like they have been added to the frame. I think I like that application even better!

    P.S. Ann from All Things Paper “sent” me.

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