Making Nature-inspired Autumn Decorations
Autumn is a lovely time to make decorations from natural materials. Woods, fields, parks and gardens are full of leaves, berries and seedheads in beautiful shapes and jewel-like colours. Berries can be easily turned into necklaces and leaves into table centerpieces. One could work on a project with a child, or decorate a table for a party or dinner with family and friends.
Crown from maple leaves
When I was a child I made crowns from maple leaves during autumn walks. Today I tried it again and here is the result:
The crown is very easy to make. Take two maple leaves and wrap the stem of one of them around the stem of the other as shown below:
Continue doing this with more leaves, until you reach the desired length:
Once the desired length has been reached (for example, enough to wrap around someone’s head), tie the ends of the garland together with a string to form a circle. For the crown shown, I added leaves more densely than in the photograph above to get a ‘fluffy’ appearance.
Necklaces from autumn berries
In addition to the crown, I made necklaces, one from red and yellow crab apples and another from pyracantha berries:
To make a necklace all one needs is berries, a reasonably long, heavy duty sewing needle and a strong thread. Crab apples are firm and require somewhat more effort, but the result is robust and can’t be easily squashed or damaged. Remember to cut off any stalks, because they can be rather prickly making the necklace difficult to wear.
Jewelry made from berries could be a good project for older children that can safely use a needle. Of course one has to be careful not to use toxic berries. Crab apples, rowan berries, pyracantha, rosehips, and firm, not fully ripe, sloes are all great. Apart from possible staining, they are perfectly safe to use for older children.
In fact all, apart from pyracantha, are edible and used in traditional recipes. One can make an excellent jam or conserve from crab apples and rowan, whereas rosehips are great in tea. Sloes are a classic in gin and can be also used to make a good autumnal syllabub. Pyracantha pulp is edible, but bland, whereas its seeds a mildly toxic.
Autumn table decorations
All leaf and berry jewelry can easily double as table decorations:
In the photograph above the maple leaf crown is wrapped around a flower pot with pansies. These are just some simple suggestions, but the possibilities are ENDLESS.
Autumn decorations for a mantlepiece
The photograph below shows an autumn arrangement for a mantlepiece. It is made from grass seedheads, dry fern leaves, blackthorn branches with sloes, hornbeam branches with yellow leaves and dry larch branches with cones. I collected all this during a walk in a nearby wood. The branches were inserted in dry floral foam and looked good for several days.