How to Make Garlands of Falling Leaves

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A flurry of colorful, cascading leaves is one of the most glorious sights of the fall. So why not bring the phenomenon indoors? Garlands of falling leaves hung from the ceiling create a magical effect, as if the leaves are suspended midair. The garlands can also take the place of a traditional centerpiece, freeing up the table for holiday dishes. Now, this is seasonal decor guests will fall for.

Garlands of Falling Leaves
(Jonathan Fong)

Things You'll Need

  • Artificial autumn leaves
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Craft glue
  • Poster putty
  • Measuring tape
Step 1

Purchase clusters of artificial fall leaves from the crafts store. They are typically sold in swags for decorating doorways and staircases. Then cut off the individual leaves.

Cut artificial leaves
Jonathan Fong
Step 2

Using a tape measure, determine the distance from the ceiling to your table. This measurement will be the maximum length of your garland. The ideal length of the garlands, however, should actually be between 12 to 18 inches less than this distance, as you do not want the garlands to come in contact with food and other table decorations. Therefore, if the measured distance is, for example, 60 inches, subtract 12 inches from that number, and your ideal garland length is 48 inches.

Determine the ideal length of your garlands
Jonathan Fong
Step 3

Cut some thread to your desired length. Choose a neutral color like white or beige, so the thread practically disappears when the garlands are hung. Then insert the thread through the eye of needle with about a four-inch tail on the other side, so the needle does not become unthreaded as you work.

Cut thread to desired length
Jonathan Fong
Step 4

For each strand, run the needle and thread through four to five artificial leaves. Vary the distance between the leaves; some can be equidistant, while others can be spaced more randomly. Try running the needle through the middle of the leaves, so they are well balanced as they are suspended on the thread.

Make the individual strands
Jonathan Fong
Step 5

Where the thread makes contact with the leaf, apply a dab of craft glue so the leaf stays in position. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

Glue leaves to the thread
Jonathan Fong
Step 6

If you were working on the table where the garlands are going to be suspended above, perfect – you're ready to hang them. But if you are transporting the garlands from one room to another, be aware that they tangle very easily. Therefore, the individual garlands need to be packed separately before moving them. Stack up the leaves and place each garland in wax paper, sandwich bags, or envelopes so they don't accidentally hook onto an another garland. This is also the way to store the garlands when you're through with them.

Individually wrap garlands
Jonathan Fong
Step 7

When you're ready to secure the garlands to the ceiling, unwrap them or remove them from their individual envelopes. Then roll a dab of poster putty into a small ball and attach the putty to the end of the thread.

Attach poster putty to the end of the thread
Jonathan Fong
Step 8

Hang each garland by pressing the poster putty onto the ceiling. Because the garlands are so light, the poster putty is strong enough to hold them. Space the garlands evenly above your table. When you take down the garlands when the season is over, the poster putty can be removed easily without damaging the paint on your ceiling.

Press the poster putty to the ceiling
Jonathan Fong
Step 9

Step back after every few garlands are hung to see if you are happy with their positioning. In this photo, there are about 20 garlands, which is a good number for an average table. Trim all the ends of the thread that are still showing at the bottom of the garlands. And if you feel any garlands are too long, go ahead and cut them to length you want.

Trim any long strands
Jonathan Fong

Tips & Warnings

  • Instead of using artificial leaves, suspend silk rose petals during other times of the year.
  • If you have a light fixture above your dining table, you can hang some of the garlands from the fixture.
  • No matter how careful you are, a couple of your garlands will get tangled up. It's a law of nature. Make peace with this fact, and you will not get frustrated.
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