Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Die Cutting Paper: Tattered Leaves Autumn Garland

Summers in Mississippi can be brutal, so it's no wonder that fall is one of my favorite seasons. It's such a relief when that first good cold front comes through and I can finally enjoy being outside again. Thankfully, we're not so far south that we miss out on all the wonderful autumn colors! Our house is surrounded by oak, sweetgum, hickory, and other trees that are showing off their colors right now. All that natural beauty inspired me to create a garland that will remain brilliant long after the last leaf falls.

These leaves are made from something you probably have in your cupboard right now, coffee filters! Coffee filters are perfect for this project because they absorb the stain beautifully and are strong, yet delicate looking and are a great material for die cutting. Let's get started!

Begin by dispensing various colors of Ranger Distress Stain onto a non-stick craft sheet.

Lightly spritz a coffee filter with water and lay into stains. Move filter around, completely saturating the coffee filter. Repeat with more filters, wiping the sheet and adding more stain with each filter. You can use the leftover stain after each one, but your colors will be less intense. To make my garland, I used about eight filters.

When stained filters are dry, stack and die cut with the Tattered Leaves die.

die cutting
After die cutting remove cut leaves. Cut 'waste' portion of filters, and lay onto die, over the leaf areas. Run through machine, cutting another set of leaves.

Separate all of the cut leaves. Apply Vintage Photo Distress ink directly to the raised portion of the Texture Leaves Texture Fade. Don't worry if it's a bit messy.

Place the leaves onto the folder, lining them up with their corresponding shape. Emboss the leaves. Repeat the process until all of your leaves are embossed.

How incredible are those leaves? They look so real!

Cut a length of wire (about3.5"). Run a line of glue down the center vein of the back of the leaf. Press wire into glue. Repeat for all of the leaves.

Cut a length of twine for your garland. Mine is 5" long. Using the same wire that we used for the leaves, insert the wire into the full length of the twine. This will make the garland easy to shape and bend. When you get to the end, bend about 1" back on itself and twist to secure.

Using the wire tail of the leaf, secure to twine by wrapping as shown. Add leaves as desired. Mine are spaced about 3-4" apart.

To give your garland an even more realistic look, hot glue acorns randomly along the length of it.

I absolutely love the brilliant colors of the Distress Stains, I think they make these leaves look so real. By adding the veining with the Textured Leaves Texture Fade, it's quite hard to tell them from the real thing. I hope you're inspired to create a garland for your own fall decor!

See you next month,


die cutting supplies

ink: Tim Holtz Distress Ink - Vintage Photo
stain: Tim Holtz Distress Stains - Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, Barn Door, Forest Moss, Peeled Paint
adhesive: Beacon 3-in-1; hot glue
other: wire; white coffee filters; jute twine; spray bottle filled with water

Interested in more great fall decor ideas?  Head over to and check out the Fall Decor gallery!
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  1. Wow, they look better than real!

  2. So pretty, Shelly! And just think, no crumbled mess to clean up as with real leaves.

  3. Beautiful Shelly! I really love how this looks. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Elaine Allen

  4. Pretty fantastic, but I probably won't make a garland. I'm just not a garland-type. ;-) I LOVE the tutorial, though. I have worked with coffee filters before--I think for an SCS challenge once. Nice to dig them out again. Thanks, Shelly.

  5. Me, too, Evelyn. Not a garland person. But the gorgeous colors in your facebook post "made me look." Now I see that I could use this idea without making it a garland--and I LOVE it. So gorgeous and too, too creative. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. that is great Shelly! I love the use of the coffee filters.

  7. You are crazy amazing!!! Talk about work and ingenuity! Just over the top awesome!!!

  8. Beautiful! The leaves look so real!

  9. Always brilliant! WTG Shelly!


  10. Brilliant!

  11. This is so pretty Shelly and such a great idea. The leaves look amazingly real and using coffee filters was very clever.

  12. The leaves are brilliant Shelly, what a fantastic idea to use coffee filters, they such great texture to the leaves! Love the garland! A x

  13. Coffee filter leaves! Brilliant!

  14. What a great idea! So many possibilities! Gotta get that leaves texture fade!

  15. Shelly - I can't believe those were made from coffee liners. what a brilliant idea. love it!

  16. You're so clever! I would never thought of using the matching embossing folder as a stamp! Wow, this is really amazing! Hugs, Sandra

  17. That is such a clever idea! The leaves do look real with all your techniques. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Another use for coffee filters! who knew? thanks for the tutorial,
    Shelly. That's one I can case for the Magnolias.

  19. What a fabulous project--thanks for sharing! And I'm so glad to see something for fall--so many are on to Christmas stuff and I just can't get into that mode yet :)

  20. Absolutely stunning - and a wonderful tutorial, thank you so much...
    Alison x

  21. Wow! What a great project! The leaves look so real. Love this!

  22. Gorgeous garland Shelly. Super tutorial. Will try this out. Nicola x

  23. That Shelly is Amazing I tell ya!! Wow this is sooooooo Pretty and I'm not even a Fan of fall colors...Love Love this!!

  24. Fantastic! I haven't seen that TF yet... LOVE the details and realistic marks it provides.

  25. Shelley,
    I totally agree with Anita (Quote)

    "You are crazy amazing!!! Talk about work and ingenuity! Just over the top awesome!!!"
    Gail in Oklahoma

  26. Oh, my, Shelly, that is fantastic. When I opened your e-mail I wondered where the project was, because I thought the leaves were genuine!

  27. Apart from a lovely tutorial...I am just loving those old books you used for your photo styling!!!!


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