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How To Preserve Magnolia Leaves To Make A Rustic Fall Wreath

Y’all will not believe how easy and inexpensive it is to make this rustic fall magnolia wreath with preserved leaves. In today’s tutorial, you will learn how to preserve magnolia leaves and assemble a fall wreath easily.

You may have noticed that I’m easily inspired by nature’s bounty of free materials to decorate for fall. My attention was captured by the golden colors of some fallen magnolia leaves in our yard; I quickly gathered a handful to begin making this fall wreath.

I also knew that the leaves would continue to dry out and that it was essential to preserve them to keep the wreath looking great for the autumn season.

So here’s the secret to preserving the leaves and making a cheap and easy wreath.

Use budget friendly, thrifted and foraged materials to make a cheap and easy fall wreath.

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Can You Use Real Leaves To Make A Wreath?

I think there are two ways to use real leaves when making a wreath.

One is to dry the leaves before using them.

This method works better with some leaves than others. I suggest placing your leaves in a vase or container to dry and see if you like the result. You can also hang the leaves and allow them to dry. Some will curl and dry to a beautiful color. Others not so much.

Insider Tip

Be sure to place it out of the sun if you want to maintain color in your dried leaves or flowers.

Secondly, you can preserve some leaves, such as magnolia leaves. The rule here is the same as above, and not all leaves can be preserved. Magnolia leaves have a sturdy waxing finish, making them last longer, fresh, and easier to preserve.

Forage for a combination of fall magnolia leaves to make a preserved leaf fall wreath.

How Do You Preserve Magnolia Leaves?

First, gather and clean your leaves.

I don’t recommend washing, but instead, use a paper towel to remove any grit or dirt. If the leaves are damp, allow them to dry completely before beginning.

Spread a generous amount of wax paper over your table to protect.

Begin on the leaves’ backside and use a small brush to cover with mod podge completely.

Turn the leaf over and repeat. Lay the front of the leaf on the wax paper to dry.

Once dry, repeat by applying mod podge one more time.

How to preserve leaves with mod podge.  Use wax paper to protect your table top.

How Do You Attach Leaves To The Wreath?

You will see several methods for attaching magnolia leaves to a wreath. However, I’ve found that hot glue works best for me.

Begin around the outer edge of the grapevine wreath and add leaves by adding hot glue to the stem and pushing the stem in and amongst the grapevine. Angle the branches in the minor direction around the entire perimeter of the wreath.

Circle the outer edges of the thrifted grapevine wreath with magnolia leaves and attach with hot glue.

Next, add a cluster of leaves to a section of the wreath. Foam a bed like a cluster for the dried flowers to be added.

Fall Wreath Ideas that are cheap and easy with budget friendly, thrift store items.

Continue to fill in with preserved leaves angling away from the clustered leaves until the entire grapevine wreath is covered.

Fill a grapevine wreath with preserved magnolia leaves to make a cheap and easy budget friendly autumn wreath

Insider Tip

Hot glue is heat sensitive and if you place your wreath outside on a hot day, the glue can become soft.

When using hot glue for outdoor projects, you may need to secure the leaves or other objects with wire after the glue has set.

The hot glue will work perfectly if you plan to use your project indoors.

How To Add Dried Leaves and Flowers to Fall Wreath

Once the wreath is covered with preserved leaves, you can begin to add other dried leaves and flowers to the clustered bed you created earlier.

I began with some dried nandina leaves and okra pods.

Dried Okra Pods and Nandina Leaves make a great addition to the preserved leaf wreath for fall.

Next, add some dried flowers, such as black-eyed susans.

Magnolia Preserved Leaves and dried flower wreath for fall.

After adding several dried leaves, I realized the colors were so similar that the dried flowers disappeared on the wreath. Therefore, I began to add in some dried baby’s breath and tucked it under and around the other dried pieces.

Note: If your colors are similar, I recommend adding the baby’s breath first.

Use Hot Glue To attached dried flowers to DIY Fall Wreath.  Budget Friendly Wreath Idea.

What Supplies Do You Need To Make A Preserved Leaf Fall Wreath?

Here are the supplies I used to make this easily preserved leaf wreath. The grapevine wreath used here was a $2.00 thrift store find. For this project, you can purchase a cheap grapevine wreath and remove the old decorations to save money.

See Video Tutorial Here

A Fall Magnolia Wreath with Preserved Leaves

The fall wreath with preserved leaves was extremely easy to make. After the leaves were preserved, it only took about an hour to complete the wreath.

Mod podge preserved leaf wreath for autumn with dried okra pods and dried flowers and leaves.

Instead of using the fall wreath on an outside door, the wreath looks beautiful on the old barn door.

DIY Fall Wreath - Easy and cheap fall decor ideas.  How to preserve leaves with mod podge.

The natural elements also work well with the Sweet Gum Ball stems I shared earlier for free fall decorating. You might also like this Rusted Tin Can and Dollar Store Wreath for a fall decorating option.

The Secret To Making a Fall Wreath with Preserved Leaves.  Magnolia Fall Wreath Idea with dried flowers.

For more budget-friendly fall decorating ideas, see 10 Free Tips for Fall Decorating and Thrifting for Fall Decor.

I’m excited to share more budget-friendly fall decorating and DIY ideas with you this month.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

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Monday 23rd of October 2023

Awesome!!!! Great idea


Tuesday 24th of October 2023

Carolyn, I'm so glad you like this. Thanks for stopping by.

Kathryn Jensen

Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Hi Rachel,

I was wondering could this be done with other types of leaves, instead of Magnolia leaves? I'm in Northern Vermont with an abundance of Maple leaves as well as other types of trees.

Your wreath made with the magnolia leaves is beautiful! I'm glad I found your site& subscribed to your news letters.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Kathryn Thank you so much for following along. I don't think maple leaves will last as long as Magnolia, but it is worth a try. I just made something with oak leaves that had dried and it looks really pretty.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Thank you so much Rachel. Your wreath is magnificent. A magnolia leaf doesn't decompose. I think when they are on the ground, they will be there when Jesus comes back. The ones I had stayed green for a very long time, but I like what you have done so now that I have moved, I'll go out at the night and find some magnolia leaves along the streets. No one will miss them and I'm helping the environment. I love that you do asymmetrical rather than symmetrical. So much more lovely.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Diana, Thank you for your sweet comments. I appreciate you for following along.

Anne from Simply2moms

Monday 18th of September 2023

Love this idea, Rachel! Can’t wait to share it with our readers next week.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Anne, Thanks so much.


Monday 18th of September 2023

This wreath is lovely. Thank you for sharing.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Debbie, I'm so glad you like it.