Make a winter paper leaf and berry bough

Paper leaf bough with berries

Emma Mitchell, author of Making Winter, says: “The festive season is the time when I have strong urges to line my house with beautiful handmade things. If I had the time, I would make everything, including hand-crocheted dungarees for the fairy on top of the tree.

“In reality, I manage to make two or three items each year – perhaps a decoration and a present or two.

“Time is tight, to-do lists are long, but making is soothing and can help to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and papercraft is my particular favourite.

“This design is inspired by mind-bogglingly intricate papercuts of bucolic winter foliage and dioramas of scampering deer and badgers.

“I don’t have time to spend three days cutting out a perfect paper rendering of an ancient hawthorn bush, so craft punches are an excellent short cut to conjuring beautiful decorations. These are like hole punches but with a single die, and used to cut a wide range of shapes out of paper or card.

“This design is inspired by wintry berries and leaves, takes about an hour to make and is not just for Christmas.”

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Paper leaf bough with berries

Materials

  • Thin white card (2 x A4 will be enough)
  • Leaf craft punch (the leaf should be 2–2.5cm [3/4 -1in.] in length)
  • Circle craft punch (the circle should be 1–2cm [1/2 – 3/4in.] in diameter)
  • Silver-plated wire, 0.6mm in diameter (18 gauge)
  • Silver-plated wire, 1mm in diameter (22 gauge)
  • Wire cutters
  • Round-nosed pliers
  • Strong, clear paper glue
  • Pointed-nosed pliers
  • Piece of garden string, around 25cm (10in.) long

 

Paper leaf bough with berries

 

How to make your paper leaf and berry bough step by step

1 Use the leaf craft punch to cut out 36 leaves from the white card.

2 Then use the circle craft punch to cut out 30 circles.

3 Use your wire cutters to cut 33 lengths of the 0.6mm wire around 8cm (3in.) long, and make loops around 3–4mm in diameter at the end of each one by bending the wire around one of the ‘noses’ of your round-nosed pliers.

4 Make each berry by sandwiching a loop of wire between 2 circles of card with glue. Repeat to make the other 14 berries.

5 Make the 18 leaves the same way.

6 Bend the 1mm silver-plated wire into an arc around 12–15cm (5–6in.) long and make a loop at each end in the same way as described in step 3.

7 To attach the leaves to the wire, twist the wire extending from a leaf tightly around and around one end of the arc of the 1mm wire, so that the 0.6mm wire spirals around it several times. Then trim the excess wire off and squeeze the spiral of 0.6mm wire tightly onto the 1mm wire using your pointed-nosed pliers, so that the leaf doesn’t slip.

8 Attach 2 more leaves in this way, followed by 3 berries.

9 Repeat this pattern until the whole of the 12–15cm (5–6in.) arc is filled with leaves and berries and the arc resembles a branch of winter foliage.

10 Tie your garden twine through each loop on the end of your wire arc and hang up your paper bough.

Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell is out now in hardback, priced £14.99 (LOM Art).