Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Fall Ya'll: DIY Faux Red Maple Branches

Ever since the leaves started turning a few weeks ago, I’ve been dreaming of red maple branches on my table. My neighbors across the street have the most gorgeous maple, and every time I saw those brilliant red leaves, oh, how I wanted that tree to be mine.

After considering the possible consequences of sneaking onto their property in the middle of the night to snip a few branches for myself, I decided not to risk incarceration. So I came up with the idea of making my own.

I don’t often craft (and I’ve never blogged about it), but there’s something about this cooler weather that makes me want to fire up my hot glue gun. And if you’re like me, you’re hanging on to every last autumn leaf and golden sunset. This simple fall craft will let you hang on to fall a little longer, because it won’t ever dry up or crumble like real leaves. (I think it goes without saying, however, that if you have access to REAL red maple branches, USE them!)

You can make your own “faux” red maple branches for your fall centerpiece or mantle in about 20 minutes for less than a dollar! All you need is:

  • Bare branches of any type, roughly 2 feet long
  • 2 sheets of red tissue paper
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • pen or pencil
  • a maple leaf shape to trace

I cut the branches from my cherry tree, but if you don’t have a tree, you could gather sticks off the ground at the park, or sometimes you can find decorative willow branches at the dollar store. If you don’t know where to find sticks, I feel a little sad for you, wherever it is you live.

Caleb stayed busy by helping me take the leaves off the branches.
After you’ve gathered your branches, you’ll need the maple leaf shape to trace onto your red tissue paper. The easiest way is to Google “maple leaf” and print out whichever shape takes your fancy. You could also use a REAL maple leaf if you can find one, or preferably two or three of different sizes.

Fold your tissue paper in half about 4 or 5 times, then trace your leaf shape, so that for each tracing you cut, you’ll make several leaves.

TIP: Try to modify each tracing so that some of your leaves will be larger and some will be smaller. Also, the more angles and points you can make, the more realistic your leaves will look. You can make as many pen marks as you need, since you can just throw that top leaf away after cutting.

Once you’ve cut all of your leaves out, plug in your hot glue gun and start gluing! There’s no rhyme or reason--you may want to cluster a couple leaves here and there.

TIP: You need only a tiny dot of hot glue. Larger globs of hot glue will show through your leaves and produce thousands of annoying stringy things.

Meanwhile, I gave Caleb a few of the leaves so that he could work on his own fall wreath craft while I worked on the branches, but he was totally over it after about 7 leaves.

So here are a few finished branches.

And here they all are together, in a blue and white pitcher I fell in love with at a thrift store a few years ago.

So there you go--a beautiful and easy craft to bring fall foliage into your home, and it only takes about 20 minutes! ...Unless you have a toddler and a baby, and then you should plan on this stuff sitting on your kitchen counter for a few days before you actually finish it.

Speaking of...eek! Oh, and I can't wait to refinish our cabinets soon...or rather to be done refinishing them.

I think I’ll just keep looking at this spot.

What are your favorite fall crafts?


  1. That is so pretty! I can't believe how easy it sounds/looks. Your house is decorated so beautifully.