My magnolia tree is constantly shedding it's leaves all year long. Theses leaves are very sturdy, hard on the mower and even harder to compost. I saved a bin of the leaves for a future project..not really knowing what that might be. I came up with the idea to use them for a holiday garland when I saw the cost of good quality garland in the store...very pricey! I hadn't really considered magnolia foilage a holiday type of greenery, but it makes a really nice addition to any holiday arrangement.
The once green leaves I had saved were now brown but they kept their shape and thickness. I used my kids' acrylic paint set to mix just the right green color, mossy with a hint of blue and brown and gave one side of the leaves a quick coat. I left the under side brown because that is how they look on the tree. The acrylic paint left a nice shine to the leaves after the paint had dried, making it look so "life like".
I first layered the lights under the base greenery, which is a fake fern looking garland. I attached the magnolia leaves with a hot glue gun to fern stems but left enough of the fern stems to show through. I added loose magnolia leaves in the back next to the wall/mirror to give the garland a fuller look.