DIY Leaf Bouquets Put Flowers to Shame

Stand aside, roses! Brides have a more remarkable (and more affordable) option than seen-it-done-it flowers. DIY leaf bouquets are a growing trend for good reason. When you walk down the aisle with a leaf bouquet, you’re sure to stand out. Even if your guests have been to a few dozen weddings already this year, once they see your one-of-a-kind masterpiece they’ll never forget it.

Gather Beautiful Leaves

While autumn weddings offer outstanding opportunities for colorful red, orange, and yellow leaves in some parts of the world, green leaves can also be used for a beautiful effect. The important part is gathering the types of leaves you love best. Look for large, wide leaves like those from a maple tree for ease of assembly. Smaller leaves can also be used to make delicate “flower buds.” 

If you don’t find any leaves to your liking in the outdoors, you can buy attractive leaves (natural or silk) from floral shops and online stores. When using natural leaves, be sure to wash them gently and pat them dry before use in your bouquet.

Create Leaf “Blossoms”

Take a leaf and fold it in half, with the more attractive side facing outward. Roll the halved leaf in a spiral so that, when viewed from the top, the folded edge takes on the appearance of a tightly-rolled scroll. This forms the center of the bud. 

Take another leaf and wrap it around the leaf you just rolled. Spiral this leaf more loosely, like the inner petals of a flower. Roll subsequent leaves around that leaf, wrapping each even more loosely so that the “petals” spread open like that of a blooming rose. Wrap the center in as many layers as you desire; the more leaves you add, the larger your flower will be.

When you’ve added the number of leaf petals you like, tie off the bottom of the flower by winding thread or delicate string around it. This secures the petals in place and ensures the flower won’t unravel once it’s in the bouquet. 

To give your flower a stem, use a thin stick. Natural sticks add rustic flair, while craft sticks or wooden chopsticks tend to be more homogenized and easier to work with. Poke the stick into the bottom of the flower and secure it tightly with floral tape. Wrap the tape a few inches down the stem to make sure the flower stays secure.

Arrange the Bouquet

While the overall shape of the bridal bouquet is ultimately up to you, there are a few techniques to make sure it looks its best. Combine large leaf blossoms with small buds in order to create a more sophisticated arrangement. Make individual flowers from leaves of the same color so you can intersperse red blossoms with orange, green, and yellow ones. Don’t underestimate the visual impact of leaving a few leaves unfolded, too–after all, even floral bouquets need foliage!

Don’t forget to decorate the bouquet. Look for ribbons that match the colors of the leaves you chose. Lace and tulle are also attractive options to wrap around the base of the bouquet. Look for additional decorations, such as strings of beads, to add visual interest.

Preserve the Bouquet

Once you’ve gone to all the trouble of making the bouquet, why not preserve it so you can treasure it during the years of your marriage? Leaf bouquets dry very well, and often preserve their colors nearly flawlessly. Dry them naturally by storing them in a cool, dry location with decent light and good air flow. 

To preserve your bouquet with a little artificial help, soak it in a mixture of glycerin and water. Glycerin can be tricky to find, so call a few local drug stores, craft stores, and natural food stores until you find it–or order some online. Mix one part glycerin to two parts water. The volume of liquid should be sufficient to submerge the bouquet.

Unwrap any extra decorations before dunking the bouquet into the glycerin mixture. The preservation technique is best used on natural elements alone. You can always add the ribbons and fabric accentuations again later when you put the preserved bouquet on display.

Dip the bouquet into the glycerin mixture so that the leaves are all fully submerged. Tap them slightly to ensure no air bubbles collect on the undersides of the leaves. Let the bouquet soak for a week before removing it and letting it dry. This allows the leaves to soak in the liquid, leaving them as soft and pliable as fresh leaves for years to come.

Whether you use autumn leaves for a splash of color, or green leaves for a more verdant bouquet, there’s no denying that DIY leaf blossoms are worth the effort. Skip the expensive flowers–most brides before you have covered that ground too many times already. It’s time to make your own statement with a leaf bouquet!