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Now that you have the tree, how about a wreath?

by respaced on December 10, 2009

You can probably tell from the last few posts that I love Christmas and the creative and quirky decorating that comes with it. Here’s some more decorating how-tos I gleaned from working as a professional Christmas decorator for several years.

Wreaths are pretty standard decor this time of year, and they can range from the very basic Fred Meyer fir-ring-with-a-plastic-bow to the more elaborate beauties you can buy for $80 at Smith and Hawken. But did you know it’s really easy — and fun — to make your own?

Start with a premade wreath, real or faux. You can buy that Fred Meyer wreath and rip the bow and fake berries off it, if that’s what is most convenient for you. You could also make your own wreath using evergreen foliage from your yard. However, it takes a lot of skill and time to select just the right foliage that won’t wither, crumple and turn brown and the ability to wire it in perfectly symmetrical clumps around a somewhat-expensive wreath form. Did I talk you out of it yet? Make your own wreath if you want the experience. Otherwise, spend $6 and get one premade.

Next, gather everything that you think would look great in a wreath. This is where you can let your creativity shine.
Then, place the items how you want them on the wreath and hot glue them in. If you’re supplementing the basic fir wreath with more foliage, hot glue the foliage in first, then add non-foliage elements like ornaments and bells.

Here is a partial list of items to tuck into a wreath. I’ve added notes about how to attach them when necessary:

Old Christmas ornaments
Scratched up Christmas balls (turn the scratched up part to the inside of the wreath)
Tiny wrapped presents that you buy or wrap yourself (eg. children’s blocks covered in gift wrap and tied with a bow) Scraps of fabric ribbon (fold into loops and glue so only loop sticks out)
Sprigs of holly, nandina, cedar, eucalyptus, salal, heather
Snippets of branches from dogwood, huckleberry, beauty berry, and ilex
Magnolia or salal leaves spray-painted gold
Jingle bells
Small fruit such as crab apples, kumquats
Large hard fruit such as Bosc or Anjou pears and apples (punch a tiny hole that goes in one side of the fruit and out the other side and wire it in directly to the metal wreath form)

The wreath shown here started out as a faux wreath from the clearance bin at Michael’s Craft Store. I chose to use a faux wreath because I wanted something that I could use year after year, and I knew it wouldn’t be viewed up close (it’s displayed above the mantle). If it was going to be displayed at eye level, I would use a real wreath, just because it looks better. I spray-painted salal leaves gold and hot glued them in, along with faux sprigs of berries I cut up from a larger stem. Finally, I hot glued in some old ornaments i had lying around.

I think you’ll find wreath-making to be a fun and inexpensive way to decorate for the holidays, as well as a handy way to use up those old mismatched ornaments! Let the creative juices flow!

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