The White Wreath with a Heart of Coal

I’d like to preface this post with a quick message: if you’re looking for a practical tutorial on how to create a garland made of paper leaves, this story is not for you. If you enjoy reading about someone embracing obstacles and eventually failing, you’ve come to the right place.

When reading Curbly recently, a popular DIY blog, I came across a craft for paper leaf garlands. Since I was looking for a cheap way to decorate the apartment for Christmas, I thought I would give it a shot. For this particular project, they say you’ll need:

  • A used book ($1 from the local bookstore)
  • Green paddle wire ($2)
  • Natural green wire ($4.50)
  • White card stock ($3.50)
Sorry to

Sorry to John Downton Hazlett for using your book as scrap paper. It had the whitest pages!

What they fail to mention is that you’ll also need:

  • A lot of patience
  • Fingers of steel
  • An aversion to carpal tunnel

This is how far I got into writing this post before I was faced with a dilemma: give you a step-by-step how-to for “the garland from you know where,” since I did manage to make one, or provide a brief parody on how painstakingly slow it was to put together a measly 2 feet of paper. There’s no doubt that it looks pretty cool but it at this point, the cons definitely outweigh the pros.

Some of the downfalls that have come to my attention:

  • You basically need 75-100 leaves per foot of garland. That’s a lot of cutting and folding.
  • Playing with wire hurts.
  • Since you keep turning the wire around to get leaves on all sides, the ones touching the floor get smashed or torn.
  • The garland will never look as even and full as you want it to.

Don’t worry, I’ll show you what I ended up with:


It’s really not that bad. There are a few things that I would change on it but overall, it gets the job done. The reason I quit is because what originally was supposed to be a fun evening of handiwork was quickly turning into a full week of cutting, folding and wiring for mediocre results.

Verdict: this DIY project is a no-go.

On the plus side, I did get my Christmas tree up last weekend with very little difficulty so my little abode on Sheffield still has the trappings of holiday spirit:

photo-2 copy 2Anyways, here’s to trying, failing and sharing it with the world.

Have you ever attempted a project gone wrong? If you’ve succeeded at this particular craft, I’d love to know your secret.

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