Friday, December 06, 2013

How To Make A Christmas Wreath

Christmas wreaths are a welcoming symbol of the holidays (especially if you don't see snow!) So I think it's fitting to kick off December with a step-by-step tutorial on making the traditional Christmas wreath (in 3 steps!)

Warning: expect kisses if you use mistletoe.

Garland wreath wooden frame red bow

Welcome holiday visitors with a DIY Christmas wreath hung on the door. With a few items, you can create a lovely symbol of the holidays and use it every year.

Faux wreath for the Holidays Red and Green
A great way to kick off Christmas time crafting is by making a Christmas wreath.

Every holiday season when I was a child, my family gleefully mounted a wreath for all to see.  It was usually the first piece of Christmas decoration that went up.  Its presence definitely made guests feel welcome. Now that I have a family of my own, I wanted to make one as a holiday keepsake. Now you can too!

Time Commitment: 20-45 minutes.  I made my wreath in 30 minutes (while watching TV!)

What You Will Need:

  • Wooden wreath frame  (these may come in various sizes so you get to choose!)
  • Artificial pine garland  
  • Artificial holiday floral decor of your choice: poinsettias and berries, etc.
  • Other holiday embellishments of your choice: bells, ornaments, or snowflakes, etc. 
  • A red bow
  • A paper clip 
  • Scissors
  • Optional: hot glue gun (if you would like to secure it more firmly).
  • Optional: twist ties (if you need more "hold" for the floral on your wreath)
Here are a few observations on the supplies needed.  

First, if you check out your local dollar or discount stores, they most likely will have these seasonal items. For instance, the Dollar Tree usually carries the artificial pine garland for $1.00. You get 15 feet of it!  You may have to buy a second one if you have a bigger wreath frame.

Second, any craft store (including the Dollar Tree) will also carry artificial floral decor for the holiday season. For this project, I used artificial poinsettias/berries with pine cones and holly leaves. And I bought glittery berry bushes.  I chose these items for their texture and colors. The florals also had bendable stems which allowed me to securely tuck them into the wooden frame.  

In total, I think I paid less than $10.00 to make this wreath.

Step 1:  Wrap the pine garland around the wreath frame.  

Pick a starting point on the wreath.  I think I started on the top. Tuck one end of the garland securely by wrapping and interweaving it in the frame. Then with your other hand gently start wrapping the garland under and over the frame, making your way around the frame until you end up at your starting point again. 

Fake garland holiday wreath
Peek-a-boo! Make sure the garland covers all of the wooden frame on your wreath.
Cover the entire wooden frame with the garland.  Leave the last few inches of garland and tuck it securely within the wreath frame and hidden from sight. If you feel it slipping out, you can glue it on or use a twist tie to secure it on.

Now take a look at your wreath.  Even out any bumps or spots where the frame shows by molding the garland around the frame so the frame is completely covered. You can also use florals (in Step 2) to cover up some spots.

All done? Okay, now you're now ready to decorate your canvas!

Step 2:  Start arranging the floral decor on the wreath.  Securely bend and tuck the stems into the wreath.

Here's where you get to hone your skills as a budding floral designer.  By planning out your wreath, you can create a stunning one.

Visualize your focal point.  Before you place anything on the wreath, first visualize where you want to put the bow. The bow is a dominant element in the wreath and can be a focal point. I planned for my bow to be on the bottom of the wreath---as any designer of traditional Christmas wreaths would do *wink*.  However, you may want to shake things up by placing the bow on the top or on one side. By knowing where you will put the bow, you can now arrange around that spot.

garland bow positions fake pine wreath
Three ways to add a bow to your Christmas wreath: bottom, top or on the side
Get your floral decor together.  Now gather your craft store floral decor and gently pull the stems apart (you can also cut them if they do not separate). Notice that the stems are pliable. You can cut them as short or as long as you need to so you can wrap and weave them within the wreath frame. You will be bending the stems and tucking them within the garland-wrapped  frame. That's what's wonderful about using floral decor with bendable stems: you can remove and move floral elements on your wreath as you see fit.

holiday DIY traditional wreath colors
Reds and greens are traditional colors for Christmas. They are also opposite colors on the color wheel, providing "pop" and contrast in your wreath.

How to design your wreath: symmetrically or asymmetrically, it's up to you.
Symmetrically designed wreaths are common.  The floral arrangement are repeated and equally spaced around the wreath so upside down or right side up, it's pretty much the same. You may see many of these type of wreaths in stores.

In asymmetrical wreaths, the floral arrangement isn't identically repeated and equally spaced. But you can create a beautiful conversation piece by arranging and grouping your florals in a way (by color, texture, size, etc.)  so as to create a visual balance. Asymmetrical wreaths can look unique and visually interesting.

Designing principles for a floral wreath
Design 101: symmetry vs. asymmetry
As for me, I started with a symmetrical design in mind, but ended up leaning toward an asymmetrical wreath (just go with the flow on this DIY wreath!). Here's what I did:

  • I grouped my poinsettia flowers with the berries and repeated that grouping around the wreath. 
  • Next, I grouped the pine cones and holly leaves and placed those groupings around different parts of the frame.  
  • Lastly, I added the ornamental bells mostly as "filler" and in between gaps on the frame.The bells came with string so I used those to tie it onto the wooden frame. 

Faux pine garland bow berries pine cones poinsettia
You can add more than ribbons and florals to your wreath.  Experiment with bells, snowflakes ornaments, and even picture frames.
Step 3:  Add your bow.  

Remember in Step 2 about visualizing your bow? Now it's time to add your bow. The bow I purchased had a bendable twist tie which I used to secure them onto the wooden frame.

I then used a paperclip as a hook so I could hang the wreath off the door.  I simply bent it so that one end could hook unto the wooden frame and the other could hook off a nail (the frame I bought wasn't heavy at all!)  If you have a heavier frame, you may want to use use string or ribbon to tie your wreath onto a hook or nail.  
Green and red holiday wreath with pine garland
DIY Christmas Wreath

All done!

Now, where else could we hang our wreath? Here are some more ideas (aside from the front door):
  • In the hallway or entry way
  • On top of a mantel
  • Flat on the table with candles in the center
  • In front of a picture frame (or let it hang in an empty frame and put it on the wall)
  • Hang it off a bookcase or showcase it
  • In front of a window 
  • In front of a mirror
  • Anywhere we want to be reminded of Christmas!!!

Add a touch of "personal" this holiday season and make a homemade wreath. This is the perfect (and easy) Christmas craft.  Kids can help!

Why stop here? Now you know the basics, why not make another wreath for another holiday?

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