How to Make Stunning Faux Olive Branches
I have been attracted to the beauty of olive branches in decor lately. They’re exquisite in their charm and simplicity. When I’ve looked at faux branches, I’ve wondered, can I make those…as oftentimes I do. Then as ideas rolled around in my imagination, I came up with a couple of ways to do this. So, here’s how to make stunning faux Olive Branches!
Simple, Delightful and Doable
I so love the K.I.S.S. principle! Keep-It-Simple-Sweetie! And I love when an idea or project fits this! Faux Olive Branches fits this wonderfully! I had on hand some dark, leaf green crepe paper. I used some to make leaves for the Pink Velvet Pumpkins. The color and texture attracted me to the possibility of using this for leaves to make olive branches. But, there was the question of the olives. What could I use to make them?
We have a couple trees that produce small pecans, so many have fallen with their outer shell in tact. They’re the perfect shape and size for faux olives. They just need a little tweaking. But, Kathy! This doesn’t work for me, I don’t have Pecan trees nearby least of all ones that produce small pecans….I’ve got you covered there too…hang on! If that’s you, scroll down to Faux Olive Branches Method 2.
Faux Olive Branches Method One: Pecans and Crepe Paper
Supplies – What You’ll Need:
- Dried Branches – with side branches and little stems (preferably-see image)(clippers to trim)
- Small Pecans
- Dark Green Crepe Paper – source
- Dark furniture stain such as Bombay Mahogany-Poly Stain (I always have some-they do come in small cans)
- Small paint brush
- Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Selecting the branches: I have unfortunately a bush that for some reason or another died. It, however, supplies me now with several stems for projects. I used them for my Cotton Boll Wreath. They’re straight stem, size and side branches are perfect for that and for this project. This is what you’ll look for. It also had what I’m calling nubs, those small branches or nubs where the leaves were going to grow. These are perfect for the leaves and for the olives. If you don’t have that, you’ll still be fine – the hot glue will hold both.
Trim the Branches: You’ll want branches about 2 to 3 feet in length with those side branches. Trim off any length or unessential branches and nubs. Set aside.
Cutting the Leaves: to get as many leaves out of the crepe paper sheet, I folded the sheet into thirds or half-depending on the direction I started. The leaves would need to be 3 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inches wide. So if your sheet when folded doesn’t give you the length, fold as best you can to achieve that length. Next, I folded the sheet down just a bit more than 6/8ths of an inch. Holding down the fold, I began at the tip and cut out towards the edge of the fold curving slightly. I cut down the length at about one inch down straight then began to curve back toward the bottom edge narrowing to the tip. The olive leaf is long and narrow. (See the picture above) It’s good to go ahead and cut as many of these out ahead so you can focus on gluing them on the branch next. Each branch contained different numbers of leaves – some nearly 36. So, depending upon how many branches you want to make you can estimate how many leaves you’ll need.
Gluing the Leaves: I have a very hot glue gun and encourage you to be very, very careful while doing this step. You can burn yourself. O.K., Now you don’t need much hot glue at all to adhere the leaves. The leaves on the Olive branch are set 2 by 2 -side by side. I love the look of two leaves at the ver top of the branch. I started my way down each side branch and worked down until it had the number of leaves I visually wanted. You’ll gauge how many you wish – how full you want it. At the top of one the leaf in the center (keep the leaf slightly folded) add a small dot of glue. Press glue and crepe paper to where you want the leaf to be. Hold for a few seconds and let go to see of the glue holds. After a few seconds you can pinch the part of the leaf attached to the stem. Be Careful – give yourself enough time so you won’t burn yourself! When you’ve completely covered the branch with the leaves, you can move onto the faux olives.
Gluing the “Olives”: I think this step, project made Dearest happy! Those little pecans become little pecan trees in his grass if we don’t get them all! I’ll have to figure out more projects to motivate me to get out there and hunt for them! Anyhow, These little pecans are light and only need a little bit of glue but more time holding to ensure the glue dries. I do blow on it to hasten that process. (I also have fun music playing – this is an easy but not fast project) Look at how olives grow. They grow close to the stem, sometimes next to each other. I like the look of odd numbers on each branching stem – it seems more appealing to me – and not too many.
Staining the “Olives”: Now, you can stain the olives ahead of time if you like. You’ll need to wait to put them on allowing for the stain to dry. I loved the look of the ‘faux olives’ made from pecans – they look pretty close. Their dry lighter brown appearance just wasn’t cutting it though. Painting on the dark poly stain not only gave them a better shade but some shine – This I loved!
That’s it! These are your faux Olive Branches with crepe paper and small pecans!
Faux Olive Branches Method Two: Card Stock and Wooden Beads
So, method 2 came about when I nearly ran out of crepe paper. Surely, the craft store nearby would have them. NOPE! Ah, hem. What am I going to do now. I’m ready to move on and want to make more! I could order some and wait…but, I did find a doable alternative! I do really LOVE the look and ease of use of the crepe paper – it’s worth stocking up on some…but, until then this is a really good alternative and worked beautifully.
- textured dark green craft paper (found at Hobby Lobby)
- 1 Inch Wooden Oval Beads (found at Hobby Lobby-already stained-although I did apply the stain to darken them)
- Hot Glue Gun – Glue Sticks
- Paint Brush and dark furniture stain
Cutting the Leaves: I was able to fold these cardstock sheets into thirds to have result in 3 1/2 inch leaves. Working my way down the sheet I again folded down just over 6/8ths and cut just as I did for Method 1 (see instructions above). With each sheet, I was able to get about 36 leaves. Knowing this, you can guestimate how many sheets you’d like to purchase. Cut all your leaves ahead then follow step 2.
Very similarly to the crepe paper I glued each leaf onto the stem. The only difference is the cardstock is more firm than the crepe paper. I had to fold down – pinch down one corner -the one that would attach to the stem. Then making sure the remainder of the leaf was folded I added a dot of glue to the folded tip and attached it to the branch. I then followed the same side-by-side top-to-bottom method used as in Method one. The cardstock is a little heavier, so hold it to the stem a little longer making sure it’s secure before moving onto the next leaf. When you’re satisfied with the number of leaves, now you can move onto the “olives”.
Adhering the “Olives“. The beads are light enough to adhere if you don’t have ‘nubs’. Just make sure you’ve attached some hot glue at the base and a bit on the side of the bead to add the ‘olive’ at a slight angle. Hold until secure – remember with hot glue be very careful! I can’t repeat that enough!
Darkening the Beads and making them “look” more like olives. So, yes, these are beads and they’re open ended and perhaps not all the way stained. That’s fixable. With this method, it works best if you darken the beads after adhering – but you wish you can do them in batch ahead. How I closed off the bead: I added a dab of hot glue at the end closing off the open part. The glue stained as well – with a little bit of clarity – but that was o.k. with me.
There you go! Two methods to create faux olive branches for your home to decorate with! I’d LOVE to know if you tried this and how you used them to decorate with!
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