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There are two major obstacles that stand in my way:
1. We live in Miami – there isn’t an orange or red leaf in sight.
2. Our door is way too wide for those over the door wreath holders. Believe me I’ve tried.
So I end up wreathless year after year.
That is, until this year.
What changed you ask? Well, I was admiring my cousin’s (a mad crafter) beautiful holiday decor at Thanksgiving and mentioned my wreath woes. She said every so casually “why don’t you just use one of those command hooks instead”. Say what! Hello, why didn’t I think of that??? All these years…
Ok, one problem solved, but I still don’t have any fall foliage. I guess I’ll just have to find a substitute. Then it hit me, I have something just as good – ferns, ferns and more ferns. Only problem is ferns don’t last very long when cut and they definitely don’t dry as gracefully as fall leaves do. I had to find another way – preserve them.
I found several ways to dry or preserve plants and flowers, but most are either too complicated or take too long. Neither of which are good for someone as impatient as me. There is though one wonderfully simple, quick and cheap way to dry foliage and preserve it forever (or hopefully at least till after New Year’s). That is, drum roll please…
by using the microwave. Strange but true and it works like a charm too!
Dried Fern Wreath
Supplies you’ll need:
Dollar store wreath
Ferns (or other foliage you have available)
Gilded pine cones (plain work also)
* Why asparagus? Well, when you heat the ferns in the microwave it will fill your kitchen with the smell of cooked asparagus. This will of course confuse your family into thinking you’re making some, which will disappoint everyone. So do yourself a favor and cook up some asparagus along with this project!
Cut and collect your fern leaves (you’re going to need a lot). I used two types of ferns (smaller and larger ones – yes, not very technical but I can’t remember the names). Just to add more volume.
How to microwave the ferns (here’s the tutorial I used):
1. Place ferns on a paper towel. Lay ferns flat not on their side. If they’re not flat they will dry looking all shriveled and ugly.
2. Lay as many as will fit without overlapping. Place another paper towel over them and put in the microwave.
3. Turn off the turntable (if you have that option) so they don’t spin around and make a mess. Microwave for 30 second then check. If they are not dry run it for another 30 seconds. Then repeat as needed at 15 second intervals. I ended up running my batches for 75 to 90 seconds each.
They are done when dry. Don’t over cook them, they shouldn’t be burnt or crisp.
*Make sure to keep an eye on them while running the microwave, they could catch on fire.
Glue the ferns to the wreath in layers, overlapping each new layer over the other.
If your wreath is woven, you can remove some of the lower leaves exposing the stem.
Then stick it into the weave and secure it with a dot of hot glue.
Keep adding leaves until it looks full and lush. I added in some larger leafed ferns to add some more volume.
Add a ribbon if you like and hang.
My favorite part about this project was that it only cost $1. Which was what I paid for the wreath a couple of years ago. I’m soooo glad I was finally able to use it!