Learn how to make an antique paper leaf wreath using pages from old books. This is a fun and easy project requiring only basic supplies.
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I give my sister credit for providing inspiration for this wreath. She was cleaning out her house and came across some old books from the early 1900s. She asked me, since I am an antique/vintage dealer, if I would like them. Of course, I said “yes”!
It’s not that I would sell these books – they were in rough shape and some of them had the covers falling off. However, I love using the paper from old books for a variety of crafts. One of these books was in particularly rough shape and had some water damage – making it the perfect candidate for this project.
The first thing I did was remove the covers and detach the pages from the spine. Then I removed individual pages. Some people might be horrified at this thought of deconstructing a book. I prefer to think of it as giving the book a new life.
So let’s get started! I will walk you through the process.
Antique Paper Leaf Wreath
The first thing we need to do is gather our supplies.
- An old book with yellowed pages. Preferably one in terrible condition
- An MDF wreath form – I wanted a larger wreath so I selected the 18 inch size
- Thin card stock – I used the back of a greeting card
- A pen
- Fine glitter
- Rubber Cement Note – it’s important to only use rubber cement.
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
If making a wreath isn’t your cup of tea, I have linked some other similar paper wreaths that I found on Etsy, at the end of this post.
Step 1: Make the Paper Leaves
Using your thin card stock, on one edge draw the outline of half a leaf and then use your scissors to cut out the leaf. This will be your “leaf template” you will use to cut out all your antique paper leaves.
Technically, you do not need to use book pages for this project. You could also use old letters, sheet music or any other vintage type paper. I linked some sources for you below but you can usually find old books in thrift stores or at library sales.
Take a stack of 4 pages and fold them in half. Trace your leaf template along the folded seam of the book pages.
Here is an important tip – do not cut too many sheets of paper at one time. Too many pieces of paper being cut at one time causes the leaves to become disfigured and uneven.
Cut out a large pile of paper leaves. Initially I cut out about 60 paper leaves then as the project progressed and I needed more leaves – I would simply create more.
Step 2: Apply Glitter to Leaves
Now, not all the leaves in this wreath have glitter on them. I covered 20-30% of the leaves with glitter.
Having tested out different varieties of glitter – I have had the best result with fine glitter. For your convenience, I provided a link below, however, you can also get the glitter from any craft store. I poured the glitter into a medium sized shallow bowl, applied some glue to the paper leaves and then dipped the leaves into the glitter.
To ensure the paper leaves don’t get warped or too wet with glue, I used rubber cement. This is the only glue (that I know of) that won’t cause paper to warp. For your convenience, I linked some rubber cement at the end of this post, however, you can also buy it at any office supply store.
As you can see in the photo above, the leaves were only partially covered with glitter. That was simply my preference. You can cover the entire leaf in glitter if you desire.
Again, I only applied glitter to about 25%-30% of the paper leaves that I created. Roughly every third or fourth leaf I cut out was partially covered with glitter.
Step 3: Make the Wreath
Now it’s time to plug in the hot glue gun and let it heat up.
Find a work area with plenty of space to spread out.
First, using the antique paper leaves you cut out – start gluing them around the MDF wreath form using your hot glue gun.
To ensure good coverage and to give the wreath some interest, I overlapped the paper leaves and turned every third leaf towards the outside edge.
I repeated this process until the entire wreath form was covered.
Make 3-D Leaves
Once your wreath form is covered, it is time to create 3 dimensional leaves. For most of your remaining leaves, including the glitter leaves – you are going to apply a small dollop of hot glue at the base of the leaf and pinch it together.
Then you are going create “bunches of leaves” where you glue together groups of 3 leaves.
As shown in the photo, each leaf was glued at the base and then all three leaves were glued together. In every leaf bunch, I included 2 regular book leaves and 1 glitter leaf. Depending upon the size of your wreath, I would make 15- 25 “bunches” of leaves.
Here is a tip -do not use all your glitter leaves when making leaf bunches. You will need some individual glitter leaves for our next step.
Attach 3-D Leaves
Lay your bunches of leaves around the wreath and distribute them evenly. I also inserted additional glitter leaves so that the tips were pointing to the inside of the wreath. When you have everything laid out in a manner that looks balanced – then hot glue the bunches of leaves to the wreath.
If necessary – you can make more leaves and make more leaf bunches.
As you can see in the photo above, after attaching 2 bunches of leaves, I glued an individual glitter leaf to face the interior of the wreath.
When you have attached all the “bunches of leaves” and attached the individual glitter leaves – step back and look at your wreath. If there are any thin spots or any spots where the MDF board still shows, simply add more paper leaves.
Step 4: Enjoy your Wreath
Congratulations! You should be done with your wreath.
The photo above should give you an idea as to what the finished wreath will look like.
Here is one more close up so you can see how the “bunches of leaves” were attached.
if you liked this project, here are few more projects you might be interested in:
You can find the supplies for all these DIYs, and other DIYs, on my Sky Lark House LTK page – it’s one stop shopping so you don’t have to go back to every blog post to find links for supplies. I will also add this most recent project to my LTK site.
Thank you for stopping by the blog today! I wish you great success in finding a book in terrible condition! I also hope you have fun making your own antique paper leaf wreath.