I’m on a mission to add more greenery to my home, and since I’m really bad at keeping plants alive, I’m sticking with the faux versions! So I designed a simple monstera leaf pattern and I’ll show you how to stiffen the felt to give the leaves some structure.
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I’ll let the cat out of the bag right now. The way to stiffen felt effectively is with a stiffening spray. I tested out a couple of options to be able to present you with a product that I think does the trick quite nicely; Aleene’s Stiffen-Quik Spray.
(I just thought of this, these leaves would also be awesome strung together in a garland for a tropical summer party! 😀 )
I used two shades of green felt, the lighter Fern is a wool blend and the richer Spring Leaf is 100% wool. I wanted to see how the different fibre contents would react to the stiffening spray.
I’ve also tried Aleene’s Liquid Stiffener, which I painted on the felt, and it basically turned my felt into cardboard. I wouldn’t recommend it. The spray is definitely the way to go for a more pliable and natural looking leaf that holds its shape!
Leaf Pattern (just click to download)
18 gauge floral wire
Wax Paper (whatever you’ve got on hand in your kitchen)
Aleene’s Stiffen-Quik Spray
Felt – you can get 2 leaves out of a 9″x12″ felt sheet.
As I was cutting out the leaves I discovered that these Fiskars micro-tip scissors were actually better than the snips for getting in all the tight corners. I used embroidery snips for the 2 little cutouts though.
You can print the leaf pattern onto freezer paper and iron it onto your felt or simply pin the pattern to your felt. It’s up to you.
I cut out 3 leaves of each colour for my arrangement.
How To Stiffen Felt
Tear off a length of wax paper and and arrange your leaves on top of it. This is to protect your work surface and to make it easier to peel the leaves up after they are sprayed.
Note: Before you start spraying your felt, I recommend spraying a piece of scrap material just to get the flow going and ensure a good spray. I didn’t do this and I ended up with quite a few drips on my felt before I got a steady spray going.
Hold the bottle 6-8 inches above the felt and spray a light coat of stiffener on each leaf.
Flip each leaf over and apply a light coat to the other side.
Let them dry about an hour, turning them over after 30 minutes.
Apply two more light coats in the same manner. Allow to dry fully for about 2 hours, flipping them occasionally.
Heat up your iron on a med-high setting and turn off the steam. Sandwich the leaves inside a cotton press cloth.
Pass the iron over the leaves several times. Flip the leaves over and iron the other side as well. (In case you’re wondering, I love my T-fal iron. I’ve had it for years and it’s a lovely iron. 🙂 )
Ironing the leaves will heat-set the stiffener and create a balanced result. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about how to stiffen felt!
I was surprised to notice a difference in the two shades of green. Despite having received the same amount of stiffener spray, the wool-blend lighter coloured leaves were stiffer while the 100% wool leaves had a little more movement. Either way, I was satisfied with the result.
You can also stiffen an entire sheet of felt before die cutting out some smaller leaves. Stiffened felt leaves are great for using in headband or floral designs where you need the leaves to maintain their shape.
To finish the leaves, cut a felt strip 3/8″x3″, one for each leaf.
Trim the floral wire in half so you have 9″ lengths. Or trim them to whatever length you need for your vase or arrangement.
Apply hot glue to about 3 inches of wire and stick it down the centre of the leaf. Then glue down the felt strip over the wire.
Now you can shape the leaves by bending the floral wires and giving them slight curves. These leaves would look amazing in a tropical bouquet! I’m using them in a vase to adorn my bookcase. 🙂
Don’t forget to download the pattern by clicking here.
How would you style these leaves?