Adding Dried Leaves to Mossy Driftwood

Adding Dried Leaves to Mossy Driftwood

I have been continuing to add more stitching and other bits to my mossy driftwood. You can see the progression from just felt to adding stitch in these two posts:

Moss on a Piece of Driftwood

Mossy Driftwood Continued

Driftwood covered with green felt and hand and machine stitched areas of moss.

The moss has been getting filled in by hand stitching and adding the machine stitched moss I created. I am trying to decide how much more hand stitched moss to add. I think it needs more “trailing” knots in the “bare” felted areas. But I also need to add lichen in places but I haven’t created the lichen yet. I’m thinking I will try Tyvek lichen.

Leaf shapes created out of tea bags and machine stitching.

The next step was to create dead, desiccated leaves. I found a tutorial for making them out of tea leaves on Youtube.  I had made them out of Lutradur before but not tea bags so I thought I would give it a go. I drink tea every morning so I started saving the old tea bags for this project. In the video, she used some type of stabilizer but I decided to try without one. I layered two flattened tea bags together and just started free motion machine stitching the veins. As you can see, you don’t want to stitch the outer edge of the leaf as it looks more natural without it. Then I cut them to shape with scissors.

Tea bag leaves, machine stitched veins and burned holes/edges.

The next step was to burn the edges and the holes. I found it was easier to get a more natural look when I was looking at photos of dead leaves. That way the leaves don’t all turn out the same. I used a wood burning tool for this operation (the video uses an incense stick). Obviously, you need to be careful when you’re burning things and it is pretty stinky too, you need ventilation. So I took mine to the stove and turned on the overhead fan to draw away the fumes. Plus the stove top is heat proof and won’t be burned or damaged.

Fiber art moss on piece of driftwood with three tea bag dead leaves.

So here’s the full piece with the leaves just placed on it. I will be stitching them down at some point to hold them in place.

Here’s a couple of close ups. You can click on the photos for a bigger view. I am happy with the progress and it is definitely looking very “forest floor”.


22 thoughts on “Adding Dried Leaves to Mossy Driftwood

  1. I love these old leaves Ruth, they look so natural settled in the moss, its going to be a stunning piece of work when finished. I will definitely be having a go at the leaves myself so you have inspired me to try yet another thing to practise.

    1. Thanks Veronica! I would love to see the leaves you create. You can show us by uploading a photo under the community tab on the menu. They’re fun to make.

  2. The leaves look amazing and the colour is spot on – what a good idea to use tea-bags!

    What colour lichen are you going to add? Already if you threw the stick down on the forest floor it would impossible to spot 🙂

    1. Thanks Ladies! The color was one of the main reasons to try the tea bags. When I made these before I painted them and it didn’t look as natural as the tea bags do. Most of the lichen I see on my walks is off white pale blue green. I will probably go in that direction. Right now if I threw the stick down, it would show up easily on all the snow we have on the ground. 😜

  3. Ruth, I appreciate what goes into photorealistic 2D pictures but I have never seen it applied ina 3D setting. Your piece is so very beautiful. I agree with Lyn, pop it on a forest floor and it would never be found. I am looking forward to the lichen addition.

    Great idea with the teabags – we are serious tea drinkers here (no coffee drinkers) so thank you for this link. An excellent alternative to the compost heap.

    1. Thanks Helene. I have seen a lot of artwork using tea bags. Look it up online for more ideas. They’re good for layering as they are so lightweight.

  4. Wow Ruth, that looks so real!! What a clever idea to use the tea bags, I love the effect you’ve created and the burning just finishes it off so authentically. That moss is truly awesome, so realistic. It’s a fantastic representation of nature.

    1. Thanks Lisa, the tea bag idea was found on YouTube but they are definitely effective. I’m happy with the results so far. On to lichen!

  5. What can I say that everyone else hasn’t already? I love all of it, and yes – don’t take it out if you go for a walk for more inspiration and lichen ideas. If you drop it you’ll never find it again. Looking forward to the next instalment.

    1. Thanks Ann, as I replied to Lyn and Annie, there’s a load of snow on the ground and very little green so I won’t lose it just yet. But the lichen inspiration will be coming from photos!

  6. The stick is really coming along Ruth. The leaves are great. It will be hard to decide exactly where to place them. How much snow do you have now. You get a lot more than we do. We got about a foot of heavy wet stuff the other day so now it looks like Christmas.

    1. Thanks Ann, one of the reasons I haven’t placed the leaves yet is I have more moss and lichen to work on. I will add the leaves at the very last so I can see what looks the best. We have had snow on the ground since November 3rd and it has continued to snow. I would say we have had perhaps 12-18″ total or more.

  7. Your moss is fabulous and I can’t wait to see the new additions.
    I loved the leaves and will definitely look at spent tea bags in a different way: my husband will not be happy, I will start keeping spent tea bags for future projects, oh my!

  8. Ruth, I LOVE THIS. Has to be in caps. I’m in love with that piece of faux driftwood! What a clever idea to use old teabags as leaves.

    1. Thanks Leonor, it has been a fun project. The tea bags are perfect for the correct color, much better than trying to paint another material. On to lichen…

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