As you may have noticed, we love everything green! It’s an added bonus this year’s Pantone color of the year happens to be Greenery. They must have known how much we are digging it 🙂 And what goes hand in hand with the color? Foliage of course. Insert squeals!
Palm leaves are HUGE this season and year and we wanted to make sure to capitalize on this trend quickly so our workshoppers could impress everyone with their cutting edge decor!
This tutorial is quick and simple. Perfect for a rainy afternoon or while the kiddos nap.
What you will need:
- Palm leaves
- Floating Frame (16 x 20)
- Poly Spray
- Matte Finish Spray Paint
How to get started:
First, a note on the palm leaves. We tried SEVERAL different kinds. From florists, grocery stores and everywhere in between we searched high and low for the leaves that would both braid the best and look the prettiest. We found the ones from an actual palm plant were the best. They can be found at nurseries or even Home Depot/Lowe’s. The trick, however, is since they are coming directly from the plant they MUST be dried out before braiding and framing.
You will want to cut the stem a few inches below the bottom leaf and then begin the process of drying and flattening. Place between layers of newspaper and/or wax paper. Then use wood scraps to flatten. We even put bricks on top of the wood for extra weight. Dry for at least 48 hours, but preferably four to five days. This will ensure most of the moisture is eliminated from the leaf.
Once dried and flattened, the process of braiding can begin. Cut the leaf in proportion to the size of frame used. We purchased 16 x 20″ white floating frames so this would be a true statement piece. The particular leaf we used was about 4 inches longer than the frame. We decided to cut the leaves at the top (at the end of the braiding process) rather than from the bottom, but either way works!
You will noticed the stem toward the bottom of the leaf is fairly thick. This may need to be shaved or widdled on the back so that it fits in the frame. It is easiest to do this step before you begin braiding.
To begin the braid, take the bottom leaf and fold it at a 45 degree angle about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way out from the stem.
Once folded, weave the leaf over the one above it, and under the next. Continue until the leaf meets or is under the middle stem.
Repeat the same process with the next leaf up from the original. You will begin to see a braid forming. This is also where your creative freedom comes in to play. You may choose to make each leaf exactly the same width, or angle up and around to form more of a pineapple shape. Use whatever method appeals to you the most!
Once one side is completed, you will then begin working on the opposite until even.
We stopped, leaving about the top 1/4 unbraided. At this point, it would be too tall for the frame, but also because we wanted to have a straight edge at top. Cut the remaining leaves straight across or in any pattern you choose. You will also want to cut the ends of any leaves that have started brown.
For the last steps, you will want to preserve the leaves to keep them green in the frame. Preserving them also keeps the leaves from molding or turning. A floating frame means two pieces of glass will be sandwiching the leaves, therefore trapping any moisture. For this reason it is vitally important the leaves are dry and then sealed.
We chose to liberally spray with poly every nook and cranny for a total of three coats. Once dry, a coat of matte spray paint takes away the shiny texture of the poly and adds another layer of protection.
Lastly, we again pressed the leaves between wax paper and newspaper for an additional few days to capture any moisture still remaining in the stem.
Once pressed, it’s time to place in frame and display!
-Kristin & Ashley