How to Make a Magnolia Garland for Free

I always have a bit of an ethical conundrum when I go to throw a party.  I feel like I need to make some kind of signage or garland out of paper for decor and then I feel bad about the paper that I’ve used for only one event.  Obviously I recycle it afterwards, but there is still a bit of guilt.  For Megan’s engagement party, I decided to cut down on the paper and garlands and streamers by just using some flowers and greenery.  The greenery in question is actually just stolen magnolia leaves from a nearby (HUGE) magnolia tree.  Which means that not only were the leaves free, but also pretty darn eco-friendly because honestly they were just going to fall off anyway.  That is a win win.








  • Gather a bunch of pretty leaves from a large tree.  Don’t be scared to forage outside of your yard.  Just be sure to ask for permission (or be extra sneaky.)
  • Rope.  We happened to have some old rope laying around that Corey uses to clean off the roof (don’t ask) but you can buy some for super cheap at the Home Depot or Lowes.
  • Floral Wire


  1. Wash off the leaves so you don’t feel gross about putting them near your food.  Gather three or four leaves together and tie them by the stems with the floral wire.
  2. Tie the gathered leaves to the end of the rope to start your garland.  Then repeat with additional groups of leaves, being sure to hide the rope and twine as you go, and alternate direction so the garland looks natural.
  3. Once the garland is the desired length, cut the rope, and tie a final set of leaves in the opposite direction to hide the floral wire.
  4. Be amazed at your genius.



  1. Kat Dawg

    I appreciate you not dimming out the Magnolia leaf thief that performed the action while under duress. Also I need some more rope for my roof cleaning job. If anyone has an issue with leaves getting stuck on their roof I got a great DIY involving rope and a shoe.

    • Colleen

      You’re my favorite.

  2. Lindsay

    Love this! I feel like these leaves take forever to start looking gross which is nice. There is a magnolia tree on my street I need to go hang out under and pick up some leaves.

    • Colleen

      Thanks so much Linds! You should do it and send a pic when you do.