Next Up: Wreaths! I've been really excited about making wreaths and garland this year.
Step One: Gather a grocery bag of greens from your backyard (or from someone who has greens in their yard). We inherited a gorgeous blue spruce in our new backyard. I think that was my entire inspiration for making my own wreath this year. Blue spruce happens to hurt your hands a fair amount, I found out.
Step Two: Find a nice place to work and gather all your supplies. Needed: the grocery bag of greens, either a wreath frame or a wire coat hanger for bending into a frame, florist wire/paddle wire (got this for $1.99 at Michael's), a wire cutter, any embellishments you'd like for your wreath. I chose a clip on fake poinsettia and some soft colored Christmas tree ornaments.
Step Three: If you choose to use the coat hanger, you'll need to unbend it from it's hanger form and bend it into a circle. This proved to be the hardest part for me. I used pliers to bend the ends and hook them together to complete the circle.
Step Four: Attach (wrap around the form several times) the paddle wire to the frame.
Step Five: Grab a handful of branches cut into about 6 inch lengths. Use the paddle wire to wrap around the top of the branches several times to attach the branches to the form. Try to pull the wire tight so that the wreath is secure. Repeat this procedure again and again (and again) all round the circle. The closer together you bind the greenery, the fuller the wreath will look. Also, if you bought a form instead of using a coat hanger, your wreath will naturally be fuller since the frame has more than one wire going around. Keep your branches all facing the same direction.
Step Six: After you've finished attaching your greenery, cut the wire and wrap the leftover around the wreath tightly several times.
Step Seven: Lay the wreath on the table and survey to find any bare spots: fill those spots in with more greenery, either the same kind you used before, or a different kind of leaf to add some depth.
Step Eight: Garnish the wreath. I clipped my poinsettia on and then strung the 4 Christmas tree ornaments onto a length of paddle wire, then I wrapped both ends of the paddle wire tightly around the wreath. I used soft pinks, purples, silvers and white for my embellishments because the color of the blue spruce seemed to lend itself more to softness.
Step Nine: Ad a bow to the top if you'd like. You can use the bow/ribbon to hang the wreath if you'd like. Our door already has a hook on it, so I skipped the ribbon. Also, I had bought bright red ribbon at Costco and it didn't match the embellishments I ended up picking.
Time Investment: This project took about half an hour once I had gathered all the supplies. I gathered the greens a couple days ahead of time from my own backyard and that only took me another ten minutes.
I am mostly happy with the results of my wreath. It cost me $1.99 for the whole spool of paddle wire, and I did not use very much of it. The embellishments cost $6 and I can save them to use again another year. I used a coat hanger from my closet. I think it would have cost me around $35 to buy this wreath. I wish that it was a little bigger and a little fuller. But next time around I'll do better. I think next year I'll invest in a frame and then it will be easier to make it fuller. And I can save the frame and use it from year to year.
Here's our little helper. While the rest of the family worked together to make multi-grain waffles with pecans and chocolate chips this morning, she emptied out as many cupboards as she could and climbed in.
Happy Holidays and Happy Wreath Making!