This post originally appeared on House Revivals in 2011, and is being re-published because it is easily adapted to fall decor. While the inspiration was a Japanese Magnolia, this process will lend itself to chrysanthemum inspired projects, as well.
While we remodel our house, we're living in a tiny city apartment with a rooftop garden. The garden has some beautiful blooming shrubs. They are really lovely right now and inspired me to create this simple spring garland.
The shrubs look a bit like a Pussy Willow, but the branching pattern is different. With some research, we discovered they are a variety of Japanese Magnolia.
The buds are velvety soft, and open up for these lovely white flowers to emerge. Eventually, the entire shrub will be covered in these white blossoms.
The garland interpretation is not literal -- it's just inspired by the simple exuberance of the blooms.
I wanted to keep the form simple, adding interest by layering texture. This was done by using a combination of vintage crepe paper, crinoline, and vintage book paper. You don't need to use exactly what I used to create a similar effect -- just use what you have on hand. Maybe you have an old silk blouse, some cheesecloth, and a binder of old hand-written college notes? You could even use your junk mail!
Begin by cutting your materials into strips and cutting a fringe into both long sides, as shown here. The size you use will depend on the width and fullness you want for your flower. I used pieces about seven inches long by about two and one-half to three inches wide, depending on which layer I was cutting.
You can stack your strips, cutting several layers at a time, if you wish.
Then tie each strip into a little bundle, using string or thread or wire.
Layer your bundles as desired and tie them together. Then fluff and coax your flowers into shape.
I actually added the book page layer last, gluing it to the back perpendicular to the other layers to sort of "fill out" the flowers. The centers are simply tiny scraps of crepe paper, about three-quarters of an inch square, snipped into fringe and glued down. You could use bits of fabric, string or yarn -- even a button or bead.
The flowers were glued to lengths of finger crocheted thread to create a garland. Again, you'll want to use whatever you have on hand for this -- it could be torn strips of fabric, selvages, twine, even wire -- just use what's handy.
I layered my garland with lengths of torn draped crinoline.
On a difficulty scale between one and ten, I'd give this project about a three (owing mostly to having to clean up all the little snippets of string and thread and paper -- I had it all over my clothes, on my desk, and on the carpet before I was finished)!
This is a fun, forgiving craft. Imperfectly inspired by nature -- not a perfect imitation of nature.
What inspires you to create?
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