As we deck the halls this Christmas, one of our favourite traditions is to place a wreath on the door to welcome visitors over the festive period.
An elegant way to bring the spirit of the season into your home, a beautiful handmade wreath has been used for centuries as a symbol of celebration, life, renewal and hope.
Traditionally made from evergreen branches, making your own Christmas wreath is a simple, sustainable and cost-effective way for you to create a unique decoration.
So whether you opt for something traditional or contemporary, classy or fun, here’s how you can use foraged materials to create your own natural Christmas wreath.
What you can use to make a natural wreath
Before you start it’s a good idea to assess what material you have to hand to work into a wreath.
This is where a winter walk in a local park or woodland, or even a stroll around your garden, will provide plenty of inspiration and ideas for what to use.
Keep an eye out for…
To make a wreath you need to make a base that you can attach your materials to.
If you’re sticking to all natural, then using material such as vine twigs, dogwood stems or willow sticks allows you to bend them into a circular shape. Against which you can start to add your base material.
Just make sure they’re long enough to be able to bend continuously into a circle of the size you want. Then securely fasten them in place with string. Also make sure that this base is sturdy enough to build upon, by twining several twigs together.
Alternatively you can buy readymade wicker wreaths in online or in craft shops and florists.
Evergreens such as bay, eucalyptus, euonymus, ivy, fir, spruce and pine create the perfect backdrop for embellishment. It’s also a great way to use up any Christmas tree off-cuts if you have them. Not only do these look attractive and last well. They also emit a wonderfully Christmassy fragrance.
Against your green backdrop, the red berries of holly and hawthorn look spectacular at this time of year. As do the juicy red rosehips you’ll find in the hedgerows.
In your garden you may also find the berries of pyracantha and cotoneaster which will add a jewel like addition to any wreath.
Also attractive to use are the dried seed heads of flowers and grasses. Go big and bold with hydrangea heads, alliums or thistles. Or delicate with dried herbs, lavender, roses and globe amaranth.
Rather than using baubles and bells to spruce up your wreath. How about adding pops of colour and interest with vegetables and edibles. Using sprouts, shallots, bell peppers, red chillies or crab apples can all make for eye-catching additions.
Dried fruit and spices
Remember not all your wreath ingredients need to be fresh. Drying out slices of oranges in the oven on a low heat is an easy way to add more interest. As are cinnamon sticks and star anise. Not only do these look great but they smell good too.
Another fabulous free resource is pine cones which are abundant at this time of year. A few of these added to a wreath add a wonderfully rustic touch.
How to make your Christmas wreath
Once you’ve gathered your materials now it’s time to get to work on your wreath.
Step 1 – Preparation
First up, cover the work surface you intend to use with newspaper to protect it from debris.
Then make sure you have everything to hand that you need:
- Your choice of natural materials
- String or floral wire
- Your wreath frame
When you have everything together it’s time to get started.
Step 2 – Attach your materials
Start attaching the materials to the wreath frame using floral wire or string to wrap around and secure them in place.
First on should be larger pieces such as evergreen branches. Followed by smaller foliage such as ivy, eucalyptus and euonymus.
Tip: an easy way to add the foliage and achieve consistency in your design, is by creating identical bundles of foliage (e.g. pine, bay and eucalyptus) that you then attach to your frame.
When attaching your foliage using this method, it’s also a good idea to make sure all the bundles are pointing in the same direction. And that they slightly overlap with each other.
Then the smaller decorations to provide flourishes of interest such as holly berries, pine cones, dried fruit and flowers.
Tip: Attach the decorations at random intervals around the wreath. Do this by attaching wire to the decoration (i.e. to the flower stem) so that it has what looks like a pair of legs. Separate these legs so that one goes either side of the wreath, allowing you to secure them at the back with a few twists.
When creating your wreath there are no rules. Apart from be creative. Experiment with different colours and textures. Try and apply things evenly around the wreath to achieve a balanced look. But above all else, have fun doing it.
Step 3 – Hang your wreath
When you are ready for your wreath to take pride of place you can use a wreath hanger (an S shaped piece of metal with one end that hangs over your door, the other providing support for your wreath). Or attach a length of string or ribbon to the top of your wreath to enable you to hang it in place.
Tip: Before hanging your wreath, it’s a good idea to hold it up to get a good look at the shape and decide where best to attach the ribbon.
We hope these ideas have inspired you to have a go at making a wreath from natural materials. Not only will this create a fantastic decoration that you’ll be proud to display in your home. But once you get the hang of it, they can also be a great gift for friends and family.
Or why not warm up the Gluhwein and mince pies and invite friends over for a wreath making party as a fun way to start the festive season.