How to Make an Autumnal Mixed Media Wreath

Create a beautiful mixed media rustic wreath for your abode using your favourite Tim Holtz ink pads and three different blending techniques, once you’ve mastered them they’ll be no stopping you!

This wreath can be recreated in any size and colour palette you like, all you need to do is make sure you have enough leaves pre cut. We’ve used our trusty Cricut machine to cut out the leaves used in this projects, however you could hand cut the leaves or even die-cut them – the choice is yours!

You Will Need Craft Essentials How to Make

1. Begin by covering the polystyrene ring with brown tissue paper. Roughly cut the tissue into 3cm long strips, and then into rectangles about one inch long. Make up a watery PVA glue mix, using two parts glue to one part water. Working in sections one at a time, apply the glue using a wide flat brush to upper side of the ring. Fix one piece of tissue at a time covering it with more glue. Overlap the tissue to make a random pattern. 

2. Go back over the prepared surface applying another rectangle of tissue to all the lighter brown areas covering the polystyrene completely. When dry, turn the ring over and repeat the process on the underside. Allow to dry overnight.

3. Use a Circut cutting machine and the Design Space software (you could hand or die-cut leaves if you prefer), cut three different leaf shapes in three different sizes. Cut approximately nine of each sized leaf from white watercolour paper, putting the leaves into piles by type as they are cut. 

4. Ink each leaf type using three different inking processes. With the first set of leaves, use a blending technique. This method works well when using the Tim Holtz Distress Inks, rather than the Oxides. Choose three colours and have them to hand on your non-porous craft mat/sheet. Using a separate blending tool and sponge for each colour, begin by applying the first coloured ink to small areas on some of the leaves, then blend in a second colour to these leaves at a different location on your craft sheet  – this will avoid contaminating the inks on the blender tool.

5. Blend in a third coloured ink to finish covering the leaves. Create a watery effect by flicking water onto the inked leaves using a long bristled brush. Leave the water droplets for a couple of seconds before dabbing once with a clean piece of paper towel. 

6. Next, it’s time to set to work on the second leaf type, using the drag and drop technique to colour them. To start, stamp more of the three distress inks (previously used in step four and five) on the craft mat/sheet, then spray with a couple of spritzes from a fine water mister. Start to drag a maple leaf through one coloured ink at a time, this can be done more than once in order to get a good covering. Allow to dry, or speed up the processes with a heat tool. Drop the inked leaf directly down into a second colour picking up a few random spots of ink. Dry and repeat with the third coloured ink. Set the leaves aside for later.

7. It’s then time to wipe your craft mat/sheet clean. The third and final set of leaves can now be worked using the direct to paper technique. The three Tim Holtz Distress Oxide inks can be used for this process. In separate places on a craft sheet/mat, apply the Oxide ink directly onto the leaf. Again work a few at a time choosing different sizes for different colours.

Top Tip – Hold the half inked leaves with a scrap piece of paper to prevent leaving any finger marks in the ink. Distress Oxides take a little longer to touch dry due to the fusion of pigment ink.

8. When the Oxide ink is almost dry, spray with a fine mist of water to oxidise. Allow to dry, or speed up the process with a heat tool. Next, apply water droplets from the long bristled brush to create a splashed watery pattern. Leave to dry.

9. Stamp more Distress Oxide ink onto the craft sheet/mat ready to use on the leaves once more. Repeat the drop technique again building up layers of coloured marks creating a layered effect. Try to cover the whole leaf leaving no white paper showing. Use more water droplets to create the oxide effect.

Top Tip – Always dry each inked layer before adding a different colour. 

10. Repeat these three inking techniques until all of the leaves have been worked with colour. So that no ink is wasted, spray any leftover ink on your craft mat/sheet with a water spritzer to create a wash that can be quickly applied onto the reverse side of each leaf. This just tints the leaf backs to hide the white paper.

11. To add a touch of further decoration and luxury to the leaves, use small amount s of gold gilding polish. Apply using a finger, and stroke the polish to each leaf around the edges. The oak leaves look great with a little more gold applied over the surface. 

12. When completely dry, shape each leaf using a ball tool and mat. 

13. The leaves are now ready to be fixed into place onto the wreath ring! Sort them into their different groups to make them easier to find. Apply dabs of tacky glue to place the leaves randomly, and slightly overlapping each other. Work the top face first.

14. Fill the inner surface with more leaves, and then add them to the outer edge. 

15. Leave to dry before hanging in pride of place.

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