I always love to see houses in the run up to Christmas with wreaths on their front doors alongside the lights. I’ve only had one in the past on ours and bought it. But I always fancied making my own. This year one of my work colleagues offered to do an evening at her house for some of the girls from work, so we could all make a wreath. So I got to make my own Christmas wreath for the first time.
She’s been making them for years with a couple of different techniques, so I thought I’d share my experience and tips that came in useful. Hopefully if you’re making your own wreath for the first time, you’ll be set next time.
An evening of wreath making
We had a lovely evening (once we all get there). Our hostess also lives in the middle of nowhere on a farm, so it took a while, and a few people getting lost before we got set. I rarely go out with work friends, and it was a really lovely evening out with a lot of effort put into it by our host.
Dinner was first and we ate a delicious Christmas crumble (a Hairy Biker’s recipe but with chicken rather than turkey and ham) and a vegetarian bean casserole option. Followed by apple and mincemeat crumble for pudding.
Then it was onto the DIY wreath making.
To save us time, the moss filled wreath rings were put together in advance and soaked in water. It meant we could concentrate on making our foliage bases, and then adding the decorations. And them being wet meant they would last the 3 weeks until Christmas and longer.
We had a choice of all different types of greenery – christmas tree cut offs, a couple of different types of ivy, some silver backed leaves, holly and more. Some people had brought along berries. You really can add any greenery you want.
Firstly we made our wire loop to hang the wreath up. This was our top and we marked it to make it easier to find with some contrasting red ribbon.
We were shown a method of making wreaths which is faster than individually sticking individual pieces in or wiring everything. To make our base we tightly tied some green gardeners twine around the base leaving the long end to tie on our base as we went. The base was added by us putting together a few pieces of greenery of our choice, and tying around the bottom of the bunch to make it stay on the mossy base ring. Gradually adding bunches of greenery slightly overlapping the earlier piece, and tightly wrapping twine around it, we built up the foliage base.
I used Christmas tree pieces with a bit of ivy and the silvery greens to make mine. We were told to make it bushy enough to hide the base underneath. Sometimes it felt like it was going a bit wild, but it all worked out well in the end. It turns out more really is more when making the base of your wreath. We filled in any gaps afterwards.and tied off any remaining string.
Once we were happy with our bases, we could add any decorations. I’d dried some orange slices (my lemons had burnt so that was a fail), and had some frosted wired apple decorations, as well as a burlap wired ribbon I wanted to use. Others used fir cones, berries, dried chillies, cinnamon stick bundles or small baubles. We had a few pictures of wreath examples for inspiration, but most of us wanted to go quite natural.
To add the decorations you need some wire – using pliers or your fingers if it’s more flexible wire, you make a little hook shape to hook around or through the decoration, then twist the wire around itself to secure. The loose end of the wire is just poked into the moss base.
We tied bows, then added them with wire the same way to finish off the wreaths.
Everyone’s wreaths looked great by the time they were finished.
I was really pleased with mine, although I couldn’t find my wreath door hanger to go over the door when I got home. So it got left on some logs, leaning against the door and after only one day, all the oranges had been pecked out so only the peel was left. Blooming birds. I was a bit concerned because 2 of the 3 little apples had disappeared too. I’m not sure where to – hopefully no animal’s been hurt by the wires that were attached. When I managed to find a shop that sold wreath hooks it looked great on the door.
Next year I’m definitely going to give it a go making another wreath – I’d like to get some pheasant feathers to use as well as the greenery.
Try my affiliate link (ad) if you’re looking for wreath making supplies*. Or you can get your basics from gardening shops, florists, craft shops..
Tips for Christmas wreath making
1, You’ll need cutters suitable for wire, pliers, and secateurs for foliage.
2, Gather plenty of greenery – from hedgerows, your garden, or you can buy or ask for offcuts from market stalls or garden centres.
3, For your wreath base you can either buy a ready mossed base, or make your own sphagnum moss base with a wire frame.
4, Make sure you soak your moss base before using. If once made, your wreath gets a bit dry, you can spray water on the base, or resoak the back of it again in a shallow pool of water.
5, Don’t panic early on as the more complete your greenery is, the better it looks.
6, When adding your bunches of foliage, make sure you’re going either clockwise or anti clockwise, and not in both directions.
7, Make sure you secure your hook to hang it from, as the wreath will be quite heavy.
8, If you’re adding a ribbon, put it in the centre at the top, or if it’s going at the bottom, move it slightly off centre. It’s what works best with the eye.
9, Keep additional colours to just 1 or 2. Otherwise there’s just too much going on.
10, If you’re using string (or floristry wire) to wrap your moss base, or your bunches of foliage, wrap it tight. When the base dries out, it’ll shrink back so you don’t want to lose foliage out of it because it wasn’t tight enough.
11, If you’re using holly for foliage, wear light gardening gloves to handle it.
12, To make dried orange slices, just slice (I use clementines or tangerines), lay on baking paper on a baking tray and bake on a very low heat (under 100C) for 2 hours. It may take longer so check before they get too crispy. (If you’re doing lemons, they take a lot less time before burning).
Have you ever made your own wreath? Do you have a wreath outside of Christmas?
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