Friday, December 7, 2012

My Almost Free Fresh Wreath

Making fresh wreaths as holiday gifts has become a tradition with me.  It's super easy and the greenery is free.  That's the best part.

My only purchase is a wire wreath frame and some florist's wire.   Both are available at local craft stores.   You'll also need some garden clippers and some evergreen clippings.  You can get these free where ever Christmas trees are being sold.  Most places have a bin with discarded trimmings.

The first thing I do is attach the end of the floral wire on to the wreath form.  I put it on an inside ring.  You can start anywhere.

I lay some of the clippings onto the wreath.  If possible, I tuck a stem under one of the wires. Begin wrapping the floral wire over the stems, under the wreath and over some stems again.  I work my way over and under all the way around the wreath, overlapping the evergreen branches and pulling the wire tightly around the greens and wreath.

This is what it looks like when I've made it all the way around and pulled tightly.

Wreath after first time around.

I then go around one more time, adding more clippings.  This second time I make it a little less tight.  
Don't catch all the stems this time and it will make the wreath fuller with some loose branches.
Wreath after second time around with loose branches.
Next, flip over to the back side and cut the floral wire, allowing enough to tie off the end.  Attach the end of the floral wire to the underside of the frame.

Underside of wreath.  Attach the end of the floral wire.

Now, most people would stop here, add a ribbon and some other holiday decor and call it a day.  Not me though.  I like to find cuttings in my garden and add them too.   My favorite plants are my Nandinas.  They come in shrub form and tree-like.  In the next image the Nandia shrubs are in the foreground and the other tall tree Nandina flank my chimney.  

My Nandina in the foreground and along the chimney.

I love both kinds of Nandina.  I love the shrub for its change from green to a fiery red in the winter.

Nandina shrub with tinges of red.

I love the tree-like Nandina for its winter berries.  

Nandina with its winter berries along my chimney.

I also like to use magnolia.  I wish I had one in my yard but I'm lucky enough to have a neighbor who always shares.   After I've assembled all the garden clippings, I attach them to the wreath with the same floral wire.  You can wrap the wire around one of your clippings and attach it to a branch or wire in the wreath, or loop the floral wire under a branch on the wreath, lay the cutting on top and attach that way.  Sometimes with larger clippings you may have to attach in two places.

Adding cuttings to your wreath with floral wire.

Besides the cuttings, I added some burlap ribbon to the wreath, a bird ornament, and since my family member's last name ends in T,  I added a vintage signage letter to the wreath.  Here it is in its temporary spot on my front door.

My completed wreath temporarily on my front door.

Gotta love the bird.

I think my family must like them because they always return the wire frame after the holidays so I'll have it for next year's wreath.  LOL

FYI, if you don't mind spending $6.99, you can purchase a plain wreath at Trader Joe's and just add ribbon and garden clippings to the already-made wreath.  I'll stick with my way.  I enjoy making them and coming up with different wreaths and colors each year.

Let me know if you try it.  I'd love to see your wreath.