Creating Lovely For Less

Diy Paper Leaves and Grasses

Easy to make paper foliage

This page contains a collection of my paper, leaves and grasses experiments. As I’m always seeking to do more in less time, I used connected leaves; except for the leaf made with coffee filters. Connected leaves use the same principles as connected petals found here.

 
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Autumn Foliage

Colored with diluted acrylic paints and mounted on wooden skewers.

 

foliage as stand-alone decor

Leaves, whether sprouting from tender plants or strong wooded branches, are a huge part of nature’s beauty. And in Autumn, when in their blaze of colour, they can rival the grandest bouquets. In the same way, I try to produce quick and easy foliage that can be used as arrangements on their own.

 
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Changing Seasons

Newsprint: laminated,painted and cut with curved edge scissors.

 

Made without templates - except

Non of the samples shown were made with templates; except for the coffee filter leaf below left. For that, I outlined a Hosta leaf and reversed the colour pattern.

 
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Mottled

Newsprint painted with three colors to achieve a mottled effect.

 

Materials used

Newsprint paper

Banquet paper

Tissue paper

Coffee filters

Frayed fabric strips

30” Marshmallow sticks

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Craft glue sticks

Diluted craft paint

Scissors (Regular and edge)

 
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Drought

Made with laminated newsprint and colored with diluted acrylic paints.

 

Laminating papers

Some papers were laminated: meaning, different or the same types were glued together to create thicker papers with different textures. Some combinations include, 2 sheets of newsprint paper painted and fused with a glue stick; 2 sheets of banquet paper coloured and glued together and 1 sheet of newsprint paper sandwiched between 2 sheets of tissue paper.

 
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Coffee Filter Leaf

Made with laminated coffee filters and dip-dyed in diluted acrylic craft paints.

 

Shapes and textures

An interesting all-foliage arrangement includes varied shapes and textures. For designs that look less cookie cutter in appearance, try mixing paper types leaf shapes and contrasting hues.

 
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Shape and Texture

Newsprint grasses surrounded by banquet paper leaves for contrasting shape and texture.

 

Easy shape with edge scissors

One of the easiest ways to achieve varied leaf outlines is to use edge scissors. They have limitations though: On sturdier papers, they make clean cuts; while on softer textures they lodge and are unable to make cleans cut through. Still, they make variety easy in minimal time. You can find them online and wherever craft supplies are sold.

 
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Cut on the Curve

Newsprint cut with curved edge scissors to create fantasy grasses.

 

Quick fix fantasy foliage

None of the foliage shown are models of nature. They were created to be quick and easy solutions when time is short. That though, doesn’t express thoughtless. Start with basic principles and follow your creative lead.

 
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Box Cut

These blades of paper grass were left blunt at the tips. I didn’t like it. Some things are best left as is.

 

Sometimes experiments fail

If all my experiments work, I’m not trying hard enough. The Box Cut blades of grass above right is a definite fail. I won’t use it anywhere. To me, it looks like I assaulted the tips of a plant with scissors. Failure is a necessary part of learning.

 
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Grass and Leaves Medley

Made with newsprint, banquet paper and tissue paper.

 

Making ahead and storage

Making your foliage ahead of time is always a good idea but that’s only feasible if you have storage room. Being paper, they need to be stored in ways that would prevent them from being crushed. I use sheets of craft styrofoam hung on the wall like large peg boards.

 
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Sun-Parched

Laminated and painted newsprint; my effort to capture the colors of fading grass.

 

Fabric foliage

When working with different materials, it’s only a matter of time before they cross paths and/or end up as mixed media. The fabric foliage below was made with strips of frayed fabric rolled unto wooden skewers and marshmallow sticks.

How to make tassels with fabric has detailed information on how to fray fabric strips.

 
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Fabric Foliage

Made with loose weave fabric, jute and synthetic burlap.

 

Create the ption to stand alone

For a quick change in decor; or when you have to deliver orders in a short time, paper leaves and grasses are a good place to start. Begin thinking of them as elements that unify bouquets and flower arrangements; not as a base or something that fills the gap.

Create your paper foliage like a little black dress to which much can be added; yet works perfectly on its own. It makes a difference.