I love Christmas, it is quite possibly my favorite time of year. That being said, it is the run up to the day itself which is just as much, if not more fun, running around cramming in festive frolics with friends and family. But is it just me or does anyone else always have grand plans about being organised and then before you know it, there's a week to go and you still need to think of, buy and wrap most of your presents and see a load of people (why are we obsessed with seeing as many people as possible before Christmas)? Guilty! But this year, no more last minute stresses for me (OK, I may be speaking too soon but let's just go with it). So in the vein of getting my sh*t together, last weekend I roped in a friend and we made our own wreaths to kick start the festive fun.
Being far more creative than me (she makes these amazing copper bird cages), she showed me the ropes and now I've got it down, I can share with you! I bought a beautiful fresh wreath last year because I thought who has time to make their own (plus I wouldn't have known where to start by myself) but actually it is surprisingly easy, so if you fancy having a go, this is what you need:
I bought a fresh blue pine 20 inch base but you can get artificial if you prefer and then reuse each year just buying fresh foliage. You can also make your base from scratch with a metal wreath ring, some moss and fresh or artificial pine but what with it being my first time and all, I went for pre made (who doesn't love a little shortcut now and then)
Check with the florist/wholesalers on what will be suitable, you'll need to pick things that are relatively hardy and will dry out nicely rather than turn brown and fall off. I doubt that a patchy brown wreath is the look you are going for although each to their own. I chose eucalyptus (my favorite), olive branches, mistletoe, baby rabbits ears and something else I don't know the name of (handy, right?). We bought 5 bunches and it was just enough for 2 wreaths although you can easily pack them out depending on how full you want them to look so add more or less as you prefer and adjust for the size of your wreath base
Needs to be able to bend easily to secure down the bits of foliage that may need taming
Ribbon (to fix your wreath to your door and show it off to all your neighbours)
We got everything from a local florist wholesalers so either pop yourself along to your closest one (bare in mind you may need an account in order to buy anything) or else a florist will have everything you need it will just probably be a tad more expensive. I kept mine pretty simple to make it easier but you can add all sorts of things, dried fruit, cinnamon sticks etc. Whatever festiveness that makes you happy, go for it.
So, off we go..
Get your base
and then your bits...
don’t forget some mistletoe for Christmas kisses...
Grab all your foliage and start trimming it down in to manageable sized branches. Cut a few first and lay against your wreath to check the size and make sure they aren't too long or too short. I found that if I cut them so the branches hung slightly over the edge of the wreath, that worked best.
Leave the berries to one side for now, you can pop them in to fill spaces at the end
Branches prepped, now we need to get making small bunches. Take a branch of each and arrange together in little bundles, making sure you put them at slightly different heights so that some branches are taller than others. It makes it easier to arrange on the wreath this way and means you will be able to see all the different branches. Secure them all together by wrapping a piece of wire tightly around the base. A little something like this...
This was a bit fiddly and took me a while to get the hang of, but you'll soon be on a roll. Once you've made a bunch, lay it on the wreath so as you go you'll get an idea of how many you'll need. Like this...
When you're happy that you have enough bunches to fill the wreath then begin to secure them down. Lift up the pine branches on the wreath base and slot in your bunches of foliage, just make sure to really squish the ends in to the moss base to keep it all secure. Fiddle around and arrange the bundles until you're happy everything is in the right place and not sticking out everywhere.
I worked anticlockwise around the base repeating the above until it was full. Don't worry if you stick bunches too close or too far apart, just pull them out and move it along. This part can a bit of time whilst you fiddle around and figure out what bunches look best where etc.
Now its all looking lovely and wreath like but perhaps a little wild no? Cut of some strips of wire, long enough to go through the wreath and tie at the back, grab bunches where it needs a little taming and secure down to neaten it all up, using the other branches to hide the wire. Now remember the berries? Depending on their size, cut them down as needed and start popping them in gaps or to hide bits of wire and complete the wreath. Happy? Fabulous. Use your ribbon to tie a small loop around the metal ring of the base to secure to your door and et viola, wreath maker extrodinar.
Pop it on your front door, adorn with lights if that's your thing and impress your festive visitors with your handy skills (no need to tell them how easy it was to make).
If you have any questions, pop them in the comments below.
Happy wreath making!