Friday, October 16, 2009

make some faux fall foliage

I've had these cut branches from our back yard in my home for over a year. I've always enjoyed the stark shapes of the bare branches but often wondered what it would look like to embellish them somehow. I'm just getting around to it, so naturally I chose some fall foliage.

Ignore the ugly air conditioning vent. Porquoi, house builders?

I cut a bunch of simple leaf shapes from ochre, buff and yellow paper scraps I had on hand. I scored down the middle of each leaf and bent them slightly along the score to give them some dimension, light and shadow. Then I attempted to attach them to the branches. This did not go so well. The branches are brittle, dry, (and yes, dusty) from being indoors for a year. After some trial and error, I found that clear tape seemed to work the best.

At first I tried Fabritac and also thin foam pop dots. Both failures.

The Fabritac took a while to dry, so I had to hold each leaf in place until it got tacky enough to stay. With the number of leaves I needed, this was a time nightmare. Yes, I thought of my hot glue gun, but having been a multiple hot glue burn victim before and also envisioning the branches festooned with hardened threads of glue, I passed.

The pop dots worked like a charm at first. After about eight hours all the leaves fell off. Which is very appropriate for autumn, but not the look I was going for. So, on to clear tape.

I could be sure the leaf was on securely with the tape around the branch, but I don't like any visible shiny tape, so I made sure to angle all the leaves so that the backsides would not be seen from normal viewing height.

I really like the effect. It didn't take that long to do, once I figured out how to stick them on, and we can enjoy them until after Thanksgiving. I don't decorate for Christmas until December. It's a thing I have.


  1. very cool! I would have been frustrated with the glue dots and fabritaque. I'm sure the tape even took some time!

  2. Oh Goodie! I have some bare painted branches just begging for leaves. Thank you so much for the wonderful idea.

  3. That's lovely! And I'm with you on the Christmas decorating!

  4. Really cute idea. If only we had something besides pine trees around here I might try that myself.

    Glad you're back!

  5. This turned out beautifully. I am also a glue gun burn victim. I haven't touched one in 4 years. I'll take my chances with gorilla glue.

  6. CJ, all told, it probably took about 2.5 hours, IF you pretend I didn't try the fabritac and the glue dots and went right for the clear tape.

    Grandma G, I knew I liked you. Sounds like we are kindred spirits.

    Robyn, even pine branches might work, once they are denuded of their needles. Or do they not have a nice form?

    LeeAnn, I know right? Hot glue gun burns HURT. FOR DAYS. learned my little lesson. RESPECT THE HOT GLUE.

    I Purr-Furr to Craft, thanks!

  7. Which brand of glue dots did you try? And which kind (pop up, flat, etc) I'd love to see if there is any difference between the various brands.

  8. Looks great! What a perfect corner for something like that. Plenty of space and height so that they aren't in the way. Love the colors.

  9. Gail Green,
    they were AllNight Media Pop Dots, the .25 inch ones. Not sticky enough. I thought the foam would do a better job of adhering to the irregular shapes of the branches, but nope.

  10. Oh! Then they weren't GLUE dots. Those foam pop-ups are mainly for flat surface paper-to-paper 3-D effects. The adhesive probably won't reliably stick to non-paper surfaces.
    You would have better luck using Glue Dots adhesive.

  11. Gail Green, my bad! thanks for the clarification.

  12. Neat project. I also refuse to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving. I usually wait til December too.

  13. I love the new color scheme for the header! Very Halloweeny!

  14. I love that! I might even get ambitious and steal your idea.

    Yay for you for not decorating until December. I don't either. At least December 10th.

  15. LOVE this. It's a great idea!

  16. Oh my goodness I am just having a time with your site. I have been looking and looking and thinking: "WOW, this chick has it all!" I just made my VERY FIRST purse from YOUR tutorial. It turned out fabulously and I just got back from hobby lobby with new fabric to make a bunch more for all my relatives for Christmas presents!!!!!
    Also, I sure wish I would have found this tutorial around June before my wedding (july 4th) I really loved the idea of blooming branches but my colors were light blue and as the florist said " God don't make blue blooming branches this time of year" I loved that!
    Thank you for all your very clear, thorough, creative, and humorous tutorials!!

  17. Katie, wow, thanks! I'm so glad the blog was a great inspiration for you. Goodness knows, I've gotten plenty of that from others too. I'm so glad you are diggin the bag tute. I love getting feedback on tutorials. have a super night!


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