Fresh greenery wreaths stimulate and delight the senses in several ways: they are beautiful, they smell nice, and when given as a gift, they fill the heart.
To making one, consider redwood, pine, balsam fir, douglas fir, and similar trees as your first choice for XMAS wreaths. In addition, ivy, eucalyptus sprays, box hedge stems and ferns are other good suggestions as far as fresh wreath greenery goes.
Walk around in your garden and see what’s there that you like and that might keep well. And of course, rather than throwing away the cut-off branches of your trimmed XMAS tree, you incorporate these to make your own fresh Christmas wreath.
There are really 3 steps to making a wreath:
I: Find the Right Wreath Form
Wreath forms are usually made of straw, grapevine, twigs, wire, styrofoam, or oasis foam for wet arrangements. There are many variations in sizes and shapes. I typically use the straw, grapevine, twig forms as they are natural. I may choose an oasis base if incorporating fresh flowers for a table centerpiece or other piece that will be kept in warm indoor quarters.
If you don’t want to buy a form, you can easily make your own using two wire coat hangers. Intertwine the hangers together and cover them with floral tape. Then wrap the thick metal wire around something circular like a pot or a bucket to make the wreath’s shape.
Tip: Keep the hook of at least one hanger, to hang up your wreath later on. Decorate the hook if visible.
II: Make a Basic Wreath with Life Greenery
In this phase it is easiest to work on a table.
Take your tree branches and cut them into 10″ or shorter twigs. Place the greenery on the wire frame to make your design. Put all the twigs into the same direction to create a flow.
Secure the twigs to the wreath form using floral wire. Overlap the twigs till the wreath form is fully covered.
Tip: try using fishing wire which I do when I don’t have floral wire at hand.
III: Embellish your Base Wreath with Seasonal Decorations
Now it’s best to hang your wreath up. This makes it easier to see where you need to add branches and decorations as you’ll be facing your wreath. You can also stand a bit further away for an overall look.
Your embellishments can be best placed in 3- 6 groupings around the wreath: 3 largish groupings, plus optionally 3 tiny ones. Alternate large and small. Space your groupings for balance. Alternatively, you may choose just 3 groupings whereby one is larger then the other two, or even just have one large grouping. However, one tucked-on, red ribbon alone is usually not enough to make the wreath a delight to look at. Take things a couple of steps further and you’ll be happy with the result!
A grouping may include holly, berries, small pine cones, XMAS ornaments, ribbons and more. You may wish to include items relating to the hobbies of the person who will receive the wreath, and get personalize your wreath.
Consider where your wreath will hang to determine the kind of decorations you may wish to include. If it’s a frequently opened door, you may want to stay away from fragile items. It it has to hang in the freezing cold, don’t include that can not withstand that kind of cold. Etc.
Have no XMAS decorations? No problem. Just walk around your house and see what you can find. Don’t skip children’s rooms and recycling boxes as these areas are likely to make you overjoyed with ‘treasures’ for your wreath. Adding glitter glue does miracles for ordinary objects.
Now it’s time to plan your collection into decorative groupings. Do yourself a favor and limit your color scheme in your decorations to 1 dominant color, 1 complementary/adjacent color plus white. No more colors as this will be too busy. Why white? The white accents will make the other colors ‘pop’ as one of my artist friends would say.
When you finished planning, fasten the decorations with floral wire, ties or hot glue. After all the decorations are on, don’t stop yet. Instead, stand back once more, and squint. Identify what works well and what needs a final tug. Clip, shape and un-clutter. This is an important design step – don’t rush it, don’t skip it. Instead, be critical and inventive.
When done, you’re really ready to hang your own hand-made wreath for all to see & enjoy! If you’ve folowed these steps and tips, I’m sure you can be proud of your work.
p.s. Sort and save your left-over material for future projects…. which might come sooner than you think!