DIY Copper Leaf Wreath

Welcome to Fall!  

... That may be a solid part wishful thinking, as we're still seeing 90 degree days in the Carolinas, but I'm rolling with it.  To embrace the change of seasons (and to give myself an alternative to the clearly winter wreath I've been rocking on my office door), I made this Copper Leaf Fall Wreath!

I really like how it turned out, and I love the copper color (though my secret hope is that it will develop a patina over time, and be even cooler looking).  This was a great project for sitting and catching up on television shows or podcasts - brainless enough so that it doesn't require intense focus, and pretty hard to screw up.

Tutorial: Copper Leaf Wreath

Let's start with the materials.

I know that there's wire pictured here, but I really only used that to make a loop so that hanging the wreath was a little easier.

I know that there's wire pictured here, but I really only used that to make a loop so that hanging the wreath was a little easier.

For materials, I used the following:

  • 12" wire wreath form (I started out with 18", but underestimated the amount of copper I would need to complete it)
  • One roll of 40-gauge thin copper (available here from Hobby Lobby) - 12" x 30"
  • One pre-made ribbon bow from Michael's
  • OPTIONAL: Set of embossing tools, also from Hobby Lobby.  I bought these, and used them, but you could totally multi-purpose other tools to trace the shapes on to the copper - it's really soft and easy to work with.

Total cost, utilizing sales and coupons - $15-$20.

The process is pretty simple.  I cut strips of the copper that were approximately 3" x 12" and then cut that down to squares/rectangles.  Once I had a pile of soon-to-be-leaves, I drew leaf shapes on the copper, using the metal embossing tools (which are basically just tools with rounded points that can be used to make indentations on the copper - you could also use the tip of a mechanical pencil without any lead).

This is not, not, not an exact science, so don't worry if your leaves end up looking a little lopsided.  They'll be layered anyway, so no one will ever see an entire leaf at once.

After you have the outline drawn, you can add additional detail (some of my leaves were more detailed than others, and it causes the light to reflect differently, which adds some depth to the wreath), and then cut out the shape.  I used a regular pair of craft scissors, and they worked really well.

See?  Totally lopsided.  Oh well.

See?  Totally lopsided.  Oh well.

I generally worked with three basic leaf shapes, as identified through a google image search of "leaf shapes."  These were helpful for showing both outlines and where veins/detail would go.  At the beginning, I left super long stems to attach the leaves to the wire in the wreath, but you really only need ~3/4" for a secure wrap.

To attach the leaves to the wreath form, wrap the stem around the two middle wreath wires.  I arranged them so that the leaves alternated pointing to the center of the wreath or away from the wreath, which generally covered the attachment points of earlier leaves.

At this point, it's mostly just a matter of working your way around the wreath.  I did enough leaves to cover all but ~6" of my 12" diameter wreath form, which used the entire sheet of copper.  I then attached the bow directly to the wire form, and spent a lengthy amount of time fluffing it appropriately.

And there we have it!  Here's a shot at home...

And here it is on my office door!  Very seasonally appropriate :)

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