Learning to make your own Christmas wreath can save you money and give you a great way to bless friends and family this month!
I’ve been making Christmas wreaths for nearly 20 years. For many years, it was a business for me and I made so many wreaths every November and December that my hands were perpetually stained with pitch and all I saw was evergreen boughs when I closed my eyes at night. These days, I do it simply for pleasure, making a few wreaths for my self and friends.
Each year I get requests for a tutorial. The good news is, I already made one! The bad news is, it’s from my early days of blogging and the pictures are saved at a small resolution but if you click on them they will open up larger. I’m republishing this post as is, though, because it’s the best I have to offer right now. (I tell my kids not to be ashamed of doing their best, so I should follow my own advice, right?)
Without further ado, here is your Christmas Wreath Tutorial…
First, Gather your materials.
I go in our back woods and cut pine boughs. If you don’t have any trees in your yard that could stand giving up a few branches, then find a friend who has hunting property, ask for trimmings from a Christmas tree farm (they often give them away for the taking!) or buy a tree a little larger than you need and use the bottom branches for your wreath!
You will need:
- Bow saw, used to cut the branches off the trees.
- Clippers to get the smaller branches and rose hips and bull thistle for decorating.
- Evergreen boughs – the more variety, the better!
- Wire wreath base – available at most craft stores, or here for cheap
- 22 gauge florist wire – find at craft stores or online. I use 22 gauge.
- Rose hips, seed pods, pine cones, and oak leaves for decorating
- Ribbon for the bow – I use 2-3 inch wide wire edged ribbon like this.
- Metallic Spray paint for enhancing your leaves and such. I use this brand.
You can also see that I am working on a large piece of cardboard on which I have draw circles to guide the finished size of my wreath. I suggest marking a circle the size you want your finished wreath, as well as one in the center the size of your wreath base so you can keep everything in place and even.
Here is your pine branch. You need to clip of what you’re going to use and throw the rest out of your way. Clip off all the nice, full fronds in lengths of about 8 to 10 inches (for a 24″ wreath).
Here’s what the branches looks like when you’re done. See all those lovely pieces, waiting to be made into a wreath? Alright, here we go…
Attach the end of your wire to your wreath base, on the bottom right side (about 4 o’clock). You will be using your right hand to wrap the wire around, and wrapping from the outside in.
Choose 2 or three branches and lay them in a nice fan shape, half parallel, half hanging off the wreath base, as I did here. Wrap your wire around twice and cinch it tight (but not too tight – I break the wire occasionally when I get too enthusiastic. Then you just patch the ends together)
Next, take a few more branches and fan them out on top, but a little further down from the first. You can see I used a different kind of greenery here – see the first batch and the second on top? Again wire it in place. Now just continue on in that fashion – add and wire, add and wire, pulling tightly.
As you keep adding materials, turn the wreath so you’re always working at about 4 o’clock.
When you near the end, the first branches you wired will start to get in your way. Pull them back, as I did here, with one hand, and weave the wire between carefully so you don’t catch the ends of those first pieces.
O.K. – here’s the trickiest part – but you can do it – adding the last bunch. Find a couple of really nice, full, even branches,and arrange them into just the right shape to fill the last gap. Pull those beginning stems up out of the way with your left hand, and shove that last bunch right into place. Keep your left hand inside the wreath to keep a path open for your wire. Carefully bring your wire around, both avoiding snagging your beginning pieces, as well as making sure it hits the added peices in the right spot to hold them tight.
Now, turn the wreath around so you can finish off the ends of the wire.
I snip the wire at about 10 inches, weave it through the last couple of wire loops I made and cinch it tight. I do that a few times to secure those final loops, then wrap the last inch of the wire around the base, and tuck the end back into the wreath.
Here is the finished wreath hung against a window so I can see how even it is. Not bad. But if it does have a gap, I wire together a small bunch of pine, slather the ends with hot glue, and shove it down into the base of the wreath. Hot glue doesn’t alway stand up to below freezing temps, but if I wedge it in place tight enough, I don’t have to worry about it falling out.
After you make your wreath, you will probably want to decorate it – maybe just a bow…
But I like a few more things…
My florist training reminds me to glue in groupings of odd numbers – one bow, three gold-spray-painted oak leaves, 5 pine cones, and three bunches of rose hips. You can do whatever you want, of course!
I’ve always used low temp glue guns because I burn my fingers easily. I get the big ones because when you’re gluing something big like a pinecone into something big like a wreath, you wanna squirt a lot of glue on fast.
I am not going to teach you how to make a bow – that’s a job for another day (or, another blogger – google it, I know bow tying instructions are out there). Just remember that wire-edged ribbon really helps. I use a length of wire when making my bows, and use the ends to wire it into the wreath. I glue in everything else.
And there you have it! How I make a wreath! Now you can do it, too. Just remember – I’ve been doing this for years and have a lot of practice. If at first you don’t succeed, hang it on the back door and try again! 🙂
This post contains affiliate links–getting your shopping done through your favorite blogger’s affiliate links is a great way to bless them this season! 😉
Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake says
I never thought of using rose hips as decorations and there are tons in my garden right now! *runs to find clippers* Thank you, Trina!
Oh, thank you for this! 😀 I know tutorials are…tedious. Lol! It's all very clear, though, and I'm looking forward to trying it out sometime!
aunt B says
Thank you for all your work, Trina. You did a great job putting this tutorial together. I printed out a copy for myself. Love, Aunt Beverly
Wow, that's way easier than what I'd been doing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now if only I had some holly…..another reason I loved my folk's place.
Trina, thanks so much for the wonderful tutorial! I've always loved arranging flowers, and can't wait to try my hand at wreaths. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Artistically Challenged says
Thats pretty cool actually… More complicated then I would have though…