DIY: Making holiday wreaths

by Emily from Frugal Living NW on December 9, 2010

DIY Holiday Wreaths: Simple step-by-step instructions on how to make a wreath at home!

DIY Holiday Wreaths

You could easily drop $10 for a plain old wreath at any store, but it has no personality! No pizazz! For those, you’re looking at a price tag of $50 or more. Or… making your own wreaths for a couple of bucks.

This may seem like a strange topic for me to tackle as I’m not exactly skilled in the craft department. A walk through Michael’s makes me break out in a cold sweat. Craft stores do not inspire me; they intimidate me. I don’t do glitter or paint or yarn. Even Play-doh is pushing it.

But making wreaths? Now that I can handle. So before you blow it off as too much effort or expense, hear me out. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Okay, here we go…

First of all, you want to clip a bunch of greens. The greater the variety, the greater the visual interest.

Just wander around your yard with a pair of clippers and a bag. Different greens, twigs, grasses, herbs, and seed pods would all work. Be creative and look for an interesting combination of colors and textures.

If you don’t have a yard, ask a friend or neighbor or family member if you could clip some greens around their house. We’re talking a small bag here, not a major pruning project. In fact, I’ve had strangers knock on my door asking if they could take a few trimmings from my front yard. I was more than happy to let them. I think it’s a cool, resourceful idea. You could also check with your local, friendly Christmas tree grower.

Next up, you’ll need wreath forms, 24-gauge floral wire, and gloves.

My ever-creative friend, Ruth, used a plywood letter to make a Monogram Wreath. Old picture frames also make neat square or rectangle-shaped wreaths. Use your imagination! If you can wrap greens around it, you can call it a wreath.

The basic round wire wreath forms and green floral wire can be found at any craft store for a couple bucks. Both can be re-used, making them an inexpensive investment.

Using gloves will save your hands from pokey branches and pitch covered boughs.

Next, use clippers to create small bundles of greens. The bundles should contain 3-4 different greens, each about 6-8 inches long. For a large round wreath, you’ll need around 25-30 bundles. My mom came up with this little technique, and it’s pretty much brilliant. Being the independent thinker that I am, I tried doing it my own way the first time. My friends and family whipped their wreaths out in half the time it took me. Lesson learned: listen to your mother.

Which brings up another point: making wreaths is way more fun when you do it with people you like. It’s also more fun when you can leave the mess at someone else’s house.

Back to our wreaths.

Work with one bundle at a time. With one hand firmly holding the greens to the frame, secure the stems/branches with a couple tight loops of wire. Work your way around the frame, slightly overlapping your greens in the same direction to cover the cut ends.

For more uniform wreaths, use smaller, tighter bundles of similar greens. If you’re after a more natural look, use longer, looser varied bundles. I personally go for the wild and wooly look. That way, I can blame any flaws on its “rustic” qualities.

When you’re finished, you can glam your wreath up with ornaments, fruit, garlands, pinecones, ribbons, or anything else that floats your boat. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.

Do you see that gold bow? I made it all by myself. Seriously. Me, the craft-impaired one. That goes to show you how simple it is. The if-I-can-do-it rule still applies. Ready?

Here are the 3 simple steps for creating your own bows out of lengths of ribbon:

Cut off a 4-5 feet length of wired-edge ribbon. Leave a tail at one end and start making big loops back and forth in a figure eight pattern.

Try to end up with an odd number of loops and finish with a ribbon tail on the other end of the bow.

Holding your ribbon loops with one hand, wrap a 6″ or so piece of wire around the middle and twist it tightly to hold the loops in place.

Wrap the ends of the wire around your greens, securing it in the back of your wreath frame. Then, plump the loops until your bow looks full and beautiful. I don’t think “plump” is a word regularly used in the crafting community, but you get what I mean, right?

That’s all there is to it.

Your finished wreath can be used as a table centerpiece or a window/door hanging.

Or a gift. Your friends and family will be thrilled. Hanging outside, wreaths look good for a long time so it’s definitely one of those gifts that keeps on giving long after Christmas has passed.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

cassie December 4, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Can we see a pic of the monogram wreath finished?

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Debi December 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Hey there, that was great encouragement. And for a little extra for those of you doubting that wreath making is actually pretty easy, our youngest daughter has been doing them for years with her FFA (Future Farmers of America) group. They give them to Meals on Wheel every year to pass out. A couple of moms watch garage sales over the summer collect fun stuff for the wreaths to decorate with and there you have it a wreath for under $5.00.
One small word of caution, it you do it on your dining table, put a trash bag out or something so that you don’t scratch it and the tree sap has somewhere other than your table to stick.

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Christi December 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Thanks for posting this! I have a bag of clippings from the bottom of my Christmas tree that I wanted to do this with but I had NO idea where to start. I’m going to get my friend to come over tomorrow and do this!

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Sheena York December 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Thank You so much for posting this! what a beautiful & simple project..I have to admit, I just gave up on my attempt at creating a wreath yesterday..I was going about it all wrong! You have enlightened me to an easier way to do this! I am going to go finish my project..Thanks again! Happy Holidays!!

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