Wednesday, July 20

how to make a crown of leaves

it's July. there are long, empty summer days to fill. spending them as much outside as possible is crucial. spending them outside plucking leaves from bushes so you can make a lovely garland for your head is optional, but just in case you ever feel like doing just that, here is a little tutorial.
I learned how to make leaf crowns from an old, red, hardcover book we used to have. it was full of enlightening activities for young people, and it had a section on photography, a section on sewing, and a few sections on outdoor crafts like this. crowns made of leaves. I know you're itching to make one, right? at the very least, you must be itching to teach your daughter or your niece or your kid sister how to make one. they're fun, I promise.
to begin, gather a bunch of beautiful green leaves (actually, they needn't be green. just alive enough to be flexible. dried out leaves will probably crack, break, and/or fall apart).

lilac leaves are some of my favourite to use, and that's what you see in my photographs, but any leaf with a decently long stem will work. how many leaves you need depends on the size of your head and the size of the leaves. you can always pick more if you need.
start with two.
gently pull off the stems of each leaf and be careful not to tear the main part of the leaf. you could use scissors here for a perfectly clean cut... but a sharp fingernail works well enough. keep the stems handy--we are going to use them in a moment.
as you go, you'll layer each pair of leaves like this, so the tip of one leaf covers the base of the next. note that this is a view of the underside, so it looks the wrong way around. I find it easier to work from the back. you of course can do things however you want, once you've got the concept down.
holding both leaves together, make two small slits with your fingernail (unless you really feel like breaking out a craft knife or something like that). be sure to cut all the way through both leaves where they overlap.
here's where you'll need the stems we removed from each leaf. use each little stem as a pin to sew the leaves together. go in from the back so the ends of each stem don't stick out on the front.
keep adding more leaves, using the very same process.
here's how it'll look from the front. I have heard of people hooking little flowers in where the leaves are joined, but I haven't tried that myself. someday I might get to that level. I'll let you know.
when your chain of leaves gets long enough, do a few fittings to test how it will look on your head. once you're pretty sure it'll fit, join the tip of the last leaf over the top of the base of the first leaf. connect it with the last little stem, and there you have a lovely little crown.
this one turned out a little bit large for me, but it stayed on for the most part. if yours is too big, there is always the option of taking out a leaf. or finding someone with a bigger head. or starting over. I suppose, to avoid such mishaps, you could always measure your head beforehand and approach this little outdoor craft with some kind of scientific precision, if that's your thing. I'll leave that up to you.
don't laugh at my slightly goofy grin here. instead, notice the lovely lilac bush in the background. thanks to it for a few handfuls of leaves, and extra thanks to friend Shara for playing photography assistant. somewhere in a box, I think, I have a picture of the two of us wearing leaf crowns we made way back during my first year of college. those were the good old days, eh?


Nic said...

I have conflicting feelings about this activity. Do the leaves mind that they will never photosynthesise again and that they are being dismembered and then strung together using the parts that were dismembered? Does the lilac bush mind that you may be hampering its progress?

However, the crowns are quite magnificent, and you do look very proud, so I might suggest we include this activity in the Family Area I'm in charge of. They'd go nicely with my wildlife wands :D

e said...

I did want to learn! And now I know....

look out bushes!

amelia said...

I would be the lilac bush minds losing a few leaves as much as I mind losing a few hairs from my head. they would've fallen off at some point anyway, right?

I'm glad you like them. :) make sure you get pictures if you end up making one....

Chris said...

Nic, I can't even tell if you're being serious. You sound a few leaves short of a bush, if you know what I mean.

I would like please a tutorial on how to make pants out of leaves.

We Krazy Knuts said...

I love that last picture of you!

amelia said...


it might take me all the rest of the summer to figure out how to make pants out of leaves. but i'll work on it. (maybe.)

Nic said...

Is that pants as in actual pants or pants as in trousers?

I'm not sure if I was being serious, it started out as a joke but grew into a genuine concern.

amelia said...

I asked Chris the same question about pants/trousers and pants/underpants... and he said he meant trousers. because he is a filthy northerner? or something? yeah.

Gale said...

Hello! Wonderful post. I just wanted to let you know that I pinned this on pinterest here:

If that's not ok, please, please let me know and I will remove it.


amelia chesley said...

how considerate of you to let me know. I'm glad you liked it!