Sunday, 6 December 2015

Advent 5 & 6: Making a Christmas Wreath

I got it into my head this year our door would have a wreath (I don't always bother.) and further more I'd be making it. Stuff was ordered and then I got ill so that cast all doubt as to whether the extra items I bought would be languishing in the shed until next year. Believe it of not in a previous life I was involved a lot in flower craft and floristry. It was a natural step for someone that grew up loving gardening and growing flowers and just happened, from an early age, to have a bit of tutelage from a talented flower arranger. (Who sadly passed away at the beginning of this year.)

I thought I'd share a few tips here for anyone who might want to contemplate making their own door wreath. If you can forage for all or the majority of the materials required you can make wreathes for a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy them - even from a supermarket. (I noticed our local Asda had some lovely simple ones this year for a tenner.)

It's a good idea to make your wreath outside. Wrap up well and try and pick a warmish day. I have a photo of me somewhere making a wreath around a metal ring I found in the road. I do not look happy having pricked frozen fingers with holly for the umpteenth time! It was mild today, if a little breezy!


Supplies gathered 
Gather a selection of foliage, moss, a wreath ring and some
 floristry materials like stub wire and fine wire on a spool

Metal rings and floristry wire can be purchased relatively cheaply from the likes of Amazon. You can often get floristry materials at your local garden centre, although they do tend to be at premium prices. If you really can't get a metal ring you can make one by wiring lengths of bent twigs together. It's best if twigs are still a bit green and bendy so opt for willow, hazel or dogwood. Or if you have the patience you can use some thick garden wire.

I bought some moss for my ring. As well as padding it out nicely it keeps the vegetation fresh as the moss retains moisture. This is probably the most expensive item to buy (unless you can gather some from a shady spot in the garden.)  You can manage without if you pick your foliage carefully and use plenty of it. Although it won't last as long as a wreath made with moss.

Place sections of moss on the ring and wrap thin florists wire to hold it in place. To make the wreath a bit more sturdy you can weave lengths of twigs such as hazel into the moss to give the wreath a bit more structure. Again you needn't bother (and I didn't) with this if you're using some quite woody foliage like holly or similar.


Moss around the ring base

I had big plans of country walks with a basket and my secateurs to grab some holly and other evergreens. However, in the end I ended up buying a bundle from a local garden centre. It cost me just under £5.00 and there was more than enough for two wreaths so I'm saving the left overs for other Christmas decorations and to replenish the wreath if any bits get damaged by the weather.

I used a length of stub wire to create a loop for hanging. Then starting at the bottom middle I pushed the woody stems of longer lengths of foliage into the moss and wired little bundles of mixed foliage together and pinned these on top.


Working my way around the wreath

I made push wires out of stub wire

I didn't have any ready made wire pins so made some by cutting lengths of stub wire down and bending to make little pins like above. Once pushed through I folded the ends back much like you would a paper fastener as it helps to hold everything more securely.

Essential cuppa whilst wreath making
It was mild but blustery so I did have to chase a few bits of greenery that blew away.
A cup of tea was much appreciated!


Once I'd continued right the way around the ring I used the ribbon the bundle of greenery had come tied with, to create a festive bow at the top. I hung it up to see how it looked and where I needed to add more. I had been holding it up vertically after every few additions, as working flat you don't get a good impression of what the wreath will look like when it's hung up. 

Keep checking how it looks vertically


Then with a few more bits added I had a finished wreath. I was going for something that looked quite rural and rustic. It seemed to suit the foliage bundle I had. 

Rustic looking wreath on the front door

extra bits added


My garden wildlife December 2015
It was festive to be joined by a robin!

Later in the month I hope to return with some more festive floral ideas.




8 comments:

  1. WOW!! This brought me so much joy, a stunning wreath and a fabulous shot of my favourite bird. I'm so impressed by you making your own, I might give it a go next year. Today we hung our small eight year old crappy B&Q wreath on the door and it looks so sad!! Inspirational - thank you for the tutorial!

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  2. It's gorgeous!! Thanks for the tutorial!

    P.S. Love the robin photo!

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  3. It looks beautiful! Well done. Xxx

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  4. lovely Jen. The last couple of years we bought a wreath base and decorated and filled it out more ourselves. This year i just cheated and hung a wooden mass produced one on the door. Might tart it up a bit though. I used to buy from the florist but always had the feeling, I could diy and I was right.

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  5. Jan, that's utterly gorgeous!! I am so impressed.

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  6. Jan, that's utterly gorgeous!! I am so impressed.

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  7. Thank you for posting the wreath tutorial! Your finished wreath is beautiful. I love the robin too.

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