The Best Mistakes I Ever Made

The Best Mistakes I Ever Made


I finally figured out why I write this blog.

I’m sorry I’m just now reporting in on this, but it’s taken a while to understand.

I thought it was for the stories about looking for the amazing or the most impressive basket I have ever seen.

I thought is was to show you my fall tours like this one or this one or show you my dining room table or talk about wood twig pumpkins.


Not even close.

I write this blog so I can create projects and DIY’s and craft ideas….

….and make all the mistakes first.

So you don’t have to. 🙂


Here’s my gold leaf magnolia wreath.

It’s an easy project I just finished.

Easy if you know what NOT to do.

Don’t worry.  I’ll explain all the NOTS in great detail.

magnolia leaves

Step 1:  Start with magnolia leaves

These came fresh off the tree.

(potential NOT to do)  I think I’m going to make it again with faux magnolia leaves because I love it so much and I’m worried the real magnolia leaves won’t hold up for more than a season.

I’m going to check with Hobby Lobby for faux magnolia and report back.


Step 2:  Use craft foam as your base

(potential NOT to do) Do NOT buy the harder foam.

Even if it is cheaper.  Even if it looks sturdier.  Even if you are running by the floral department because you are in a hurry to get home to make sure Poldark is taped.

Don’t do it.

It’s simply too hard for the magnolia leaf stems to be inserted into it.

Buy this floral foam that crumbles.


Step 3:  Cut out the center of the floral foam

(potential NOT to do) Do NOT push too hard when taking out the center.

Even if you think you have it.  Even if you think you’ve cut out all the edges.

Your wreath will crumble like a cheap suit.

Gently, slowly, carefully, cut out the center and remove it with care.


Step 4:  Spray paint leaves

This was the easiest step of all.

I don’t have any NOTS for this step, other than to make sure they are dry before you add them to the wreath.

You could also paint them copper or silver.


Step 5:  Insert leaves into floral foam

(potential NOT to do) Do NOT forget to spray paint the floral foam gold, too.

Don’t tell yourself you’ll cover it up with leaves.  Don’t rush it and finish the wreath and then notice the green parts sticking out.  Don’t keep sticking leaves in thinking you’ll finally make the green go away.

I’ve already tried it all and it didn’t work.

Not even close.


Continue inserting leaves in the foam (it’s so easy if you are using the floral foam).

Make sure all your leaves go in one direction.

Keep adding leaves until you have the fullness of leaves you want.

Then fluff and hang.


Here’s the finished wreath hung on the tiny door to the stairs.

I love it.

After I worked out all the NOTS it really was easy.

Aren’t you glad I went first? 🙂

PS  If you have extra magnolia leaves, you could make a garland like this one or a centerpiece like this one.

PPS If you happen to live in the Nashville area, I’ll be sharing this DIY on Channel 5’s Talk of the Town.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Haha karianne! I love that you shared the what not to do in this post. It makes me laugh because today I posted a big “what not to do” post as well. In mine, I didn’t come out winning in the end. But yours? The gold leaf magnolia wreath is G.O.R.G. gorgeous!

    Have a great day friend!

  2. I realized last week that following directions is a good thing too. Who knew? 😉

  3. I look forward to trying this with copper-toned leaves. Thank you, Karianne!

  4. Absolutely beautiful. I love magnolia. I’ve always just hot glued mine onto grapevine wreaths…haven’t tried this way! Have fun in Nashville…can’t wait to hear that story! You always make me laugh…that’s truly why you write this blog, friend…to share life that makes us laugh…and cry..happy travels and crafting..

  5. Fabian Janssen :

    My neighbors magnolia tree will be naked later today! Can’t wait to make this…thanks for working out the kinks!!

  6. Thanks for the tips – I would not have used craft foam but would have opted for the harder stuff and, I would not have spray painted it first – I fall in the group that would have thought it would be easier and quicker to cover any little spots not covered by leaves at the end. I’m going to do a silver one to go in the same area with my pretty Mercury glass decanters (your spring post on Kirklands Christmas pretties).

  7. Your wreath looks fantastic. The magnolia wreaths will keep, if you are careful with them. I have one that I made over a year ago. Hobby Lobby does have the magnolia bushes. I bought two of them, but I haven’t done anything with them yet.

  8. Next time message me I could have given you so many tips that would have made this a much easier process.. Your wreath turned out great…

  9. This really turned out pretty, KariAnne…and it’s always nice (and funny) when you share the pitfalls…

  10. Awww…there are a few things I’m going to miss about the South, not the least being Magnolia trees. They don’t grow here so I’ll definitely have to check with Hobby Lobby too for the leaves and crumbly floral foam 🙂 The wreath is absolutely gorgeous, especially hung against that beautiful old door, Karianne. Thank you for being a crafting pioneer and leading the for all of us!!

  11. Your wreath is a lovely addition and the gold is a perfect choice for Fall. I have never seen Magnolia here in Rhode Island, it must be a southern plant. If I can find the faux leaves I will follow your well planned course of action. I don’t know if I would persevere through this project without your leadership. Thank-you for this informative post, you make mistakes look like fun!

  12. I really needed this! I probably would have just started sticking in leaves and old which way and then tried to figure out what I did wrong. I wish we had magnolia trees – I think we are too far north for decent magnolia trees. And you know what? I don’t care why you started blogging, I’m just glad you did. After all I would never have met you and I would never have known a terrific rock star. Hugs!

  13. Oh my … that’s so pretty !

  14. The wreath is gorgeous ♥

  15. You are completely delightful!!! Thanks for the “what not to do.” I’d have done them all except for the real magnolia leaves (none that I’ve found in PA so have to look at Hobby Lobby, too!). Big hugs!

  16. Oh my I love this post…Thank you! 🙂

  17. Very beautiful! But alas, no magnolia trees up North. I’ll have to find artificial ones. Loved that you were worried about missing Poldark. Thanks for all your mistakes. Ha! We reap the rewards of your errors. Thanks so much.

  18. Wonderful tutorial. As magnolia leaves aren’t exactly numerous in Michigan, do let us know when you find faux ones at your local Hobby Lobby. 😉

  19. Good morning! Love the wreath! Hope you successfully taped Poldark!

  20. You write your blog to teach us Northern gals all about magnolia leaves…and what to do with them! Works for me! Beautiful wreath! 😉

  21. GORGEOUS!!!!

  22. Wish I knew this sooner, we have two huge magnolia trees which we trimmed early fall but they are now all brown and brittle with all the cold weather we are having, will head out to Michael’s tomorrow and get some artificial ones. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

  23. Oh I’m so glad you can go first! Makes it easier for us – and less frustrating! I love the wreath. I can’t wait to hear how it holds up. It’s beautiful. Thanks for all the tips and don’ts!

    Happy Halloween!
    If you ever wanted to see my twin sis, there’s a picture of her on the blog today. Never mind she’s in costume – you can still see her face. :o)

  24. The wreath is so pretty??,and thank you for working out the kinks?.
    Have an awesome day!

  25. Stunning!! Thank you
    for going first!!! xoxo

  26. KariAnne, your blog is my guilty pleasure. Where else would I get the nots?

  27. The wreath is gorgeous! I hate to think what it would cost in a store! And the commentary, as always, is just too darn funny. Smiling til my mouth hurts! Thanks!

  28. KariAnne, thank you for sharing about the magnolia wreath. I clicked on the story about the Most Impressive Basket. I had no idea when I clicked on that link that I would be reading about your twin girls. That story made me cry because of how very sweet it was and how encouraging to me personally to not give up and give in to discouragement after “making a mistake”. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  29. Adorable as always KariAnne! Such an easy and chic project and thanks for taking all the hard licks so we don’t have too! Hugs and Happy Halloween.

  30. It’s cute, even after your trials and tribulations, so thanks for sharing! Yeah, I think it would have been easier if you had soaked the foam first and then wrapped each stem with floral wire, but that would have also taken more time, for sure. Happy Halloween!

  31. That is one very impressive and majestic-looking wreath, Karianne, and I love the little stag wreath-hanger, too! If I can find fake magnolia leaves somewhere, I’m going to give this a shot…how I wish real magnolia grew here, though…it’s sooooooo beautiful and I always admire your magnolia-based projects! But I digress, as I so often do…I think this would make the perfect Christmas wreath…simple, elegant, but stately!

    Thank you for working out the nots on this one and sharing it with us…you are the bestest! Happy Halloween all ye Thistles! 🙂

  32. Love your “Post” and love the “Wreath” Thanks for the DIY! Leticia

  33. Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing the do’s and Don’ts.

  34. I love the idea of a rectangle shape as compared to a circle shape. Your ideas are amazing! If someone’s tree comes up missing their magnolia leaves, it was me! 🙂

  35. Shelly Powell :

    Well I’ll be Karianne! I did not know that the door on the stairs was to close off the staircase! I wondered why there is a door there, I thought it may have led to a little storage closet! How neat that you can close it to keep people from going up there! When I am alone at night I would love that feature! I could lock that door! I always worry that someone could come up at night and I will not hear them!
    LOVE the wreath!

  36. Love this KariAnne! Thanks for covering all the bases. Let us know if you find faux magnolia leaves somewhere. I love that about the south…they just aren’t here in northern Illinois!


  37. Bloody awesome, I wish I could do things like this that would look this good my things like this would not look this good, trust me this I know

  38. Well, this is just lovely! I saw a tutorial for an adorable galvanized wreath earlier today, but it involved actual metal and snips and such. I could combine the metal-color of hers (since it matches my house better) with your tutorial and make one for myself. Very nice!

    I always feel like the first time through a project is the practice run. The 2nd time is the charm. It’s a lot better now that I have actually learned that lesson!

    Thanks for tutorial!

  39. I love this DIY!!! It turned out so pretty and festive, perfect for the holiday season!!!

  40. The wreath is lovely but I’m just glad Poldark got a break this week! ?

  41. You are too funny! The wreath is beautiful and I do appreciate the what not to do tips ☺. Might have to give this project a try!

  42. KariAnne,
    Thank you for the tutorial, including the “not-to tips”. I’m seeing a white faux magnolia wreath in my future. Add fortune-teller to your resume…


  43. I absolutely love that wreath! I’ve been saving scraps of diy materials in hope that they’ll be used for a project. I work with skirting boards so I’m always saving skirting board scraps, any ideas on what I could make with them?

  44. BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

  45. You’re a good instructor!!! We might have otherwise went astray!!! Beautiful wreath–and I have a tree!!!

  46. Honesty is the best Policy!…LOL. Yes, I wish people would show the dirty dish rags, and the crumbs on the floor, how about the bird poop on the windows. Wouldn’t it be refreshing, well, minus the bird poop anyway. I love the bloggers who are honest, and frankly if the house is too perfect, I wonder how many they have on staff! Lol…love this one
    I might have covered the foam with some fabric to help with adhering the leaves in. Also—would have created a cardboard or felt backing for support to the foam. Get that caught once and it may crack. Grins and onward, Sandi

  47. Do I need to wash the leaves first before I spray paint them..? Also how large is the floral form? Can you put magnolia leaves on with floral pins ? LOVE THE WREATH YOU ARE A GENIUS.?…

  48. LOL you are too cute and too funny!!!
    The wreath is beautiful!!!
    And yes, I’m glad you went first!!!