Christmas Wreaths – Part 2

Christmas Wreaths Redux

Last year’s story Make Your Own Christmas Wreath was so popular we decided to bring you some more creative Christmas wreath ideas. Through the ages wreaths have been symbols of peace, victory, and celebration. What better time is there than the Christmas season to preserve this tradition through the making and displaying of a holiday wreath?

The Typical Christmas Wreath

The typical Christmas wreath is made of sweet-smelling balsam evergreen branches in a circle bedecked with a big bright red ribbon tied in a bountiful bow, however, the essence of a wreath is in its shape, not the materials. Therefore, what makes a wreath for Christmas can be concocted of any materials that relate in some way, no matter how remote, to the joyful Christmas season.

The most obvious materials are those colored green and red but certainly not limited to these. Cone-and-nut wreaths and dried-flower wreaths are both popular variations. Miniature toys of any color and shape can be placed on a wreath to relate it to Christmas and also evoke the fun and anticipation of the season.

With our suggestions and a dash of your own imagination, you can make a striking, fun and unique wreath this Christmas; a creation to brighten your home throughout the holidays.

Classic Evergreen Christmas Wreaths

Red bow and evergreen boughs make for an elegant, classic Christmas Wreath.

The evergreen Christmas wreath is the most traditional of all Christmas wreath designs and the most popular evergreen for this wreath is the balsam fir. This short-needle, compact branch is sturdy, long-lasting, and exudes a delightful woodsy fragrance, adding a dimension to a wreath not available with most other evergreens. It can be combined with fruits, berries or other accessories but for the most classic Christmas version keep it sparsely adorned.

  1. Start by snipping the branches to five- to eight-inch long cuttings.
  2. Gathering three or four branches at a time, place them one on top of each other on a wire wreath ring then wrap the wire very tightly around the grouped bottom ends of the branches. You may want to use florist tape for extra hold.
  3. Twist the wire to hold the branches tight and then cut off the spool with the wire cutter.
  4. Simply continue your way around the ring with groupings of evergreen cuttings so that the new bunch partially overlap the previous bunch.
  5. Make sure you arrange the cuttings so that the center of the wreath remains an uncluttered space. Your want your wreath to be big enough to accommodate your evergreen. Do this by angling the branches outward as you go around the ring and trim any wayward branches to keep it symmetrical.

Being the most classic Christmas wreath it doesn’t need lots of embellishment to reflect the holiday season. If you want to stick with a traditional look, a large red satiny bow is essential. If the wreath is hanging outdoors you can heap some fresh snow amongst the boughs. Other options are a simple ring of wild rose hips in circling the center ring or some cones and small bunches of berries.

Change the look more by substituting the materials. Try elegant mountain laurel or if your lucky to live in moist terrain, some beautiful American holly.

Cone and Nut Christmas Wreaths

Unlike evergreen wreaths that can dry out in a season, cone-and-nut wreaths can last generations in a family and become part of your annual Christmas decorating finishing touches.

You can collect your own fallen cones and nuts from the woods or orchards but make sure you treat them properly first. Swirl them in a bucket of water to remove any dirt and sand then lay them on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 200-degrees Fahrenheit to melt the resin and pitch and kill any insects hidden inside. Next, it is advisable to alter the shape of the cones by breaking them in half to make rosettes, this is easier to work with and more attractive.

Putting this wreath together is fairly simple. You can use several different foundations but they need to be sturdy enough to support the weight, a circle of plywood or metal wreath mould is best.

  1. Plan your design out first and then attach the cones with either an electric glue gun, or by twisting sections of wire around the cone and the wire wreath mold, twisting it closed on the underside.
  2. Give decorative interest to your wreath by varying the nuts you use for textures: almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts and pecans give textures and also a spectrum of browns.
  3. You can opt to add a dash of color by gluing in red yarrow and white statice or a central ring of artificial crab apples and leaves. The ultimate Christmas wreath accessory is a large, draping red ribbon.

The Grapevine Wreath is another classic wreath, made with vines and accented with berries, ribbon, sprigs, etc.

Grapevine Christmas Wreaths

Grapevine wreaths put striking texture on your front door and there is an abundance of materials for them lying around after the late fall time of year.

Out in the country you will find plenty of non-poisonous vines, without leaves and grapes, climbing tree trunks along streams and other water sources.

Don a pair of gloves and cut them free with pruning shears. On the day you want to make your wreath, soak them in water for a couple of hours and they will be much more pliant to work with.

The construction of the wreath itself is really easy:

  1. Take your first strip of vine and form it into a circle by hooking on end under the vine so that it holds by its own pressure.
  2. Continue weaving strips in and out of the circle until you achieve the thickness you want.
  3. Once the base is finished you can add whatever you like.

Orange-colored bittersweet berries make an appealing combination, they can be inserted into the grapevine at various intervals. You could choose to wire a bouquet of dried flowers to the wreath. More in tune with the season use a plaid ribbon wrapped around the wreath then tie it in a big bow in the corner with a large sprig of holly. Add candy canes, miniature toys, wrapped candies or other Christmas tree ornaments as you please.

Gift Box Christmas Wreaths

Brightly wrapped gifts are an integral part of Christmas, so nothing could be more natural than to make a wreath of gift boxes in miniature. It may be a bit time consuming to make but your children can join in, and best of all, the end result will last for many enjoyable years.

  1. Start with a substantial piece of cardboard (about fourteen inches in diameter and a five- inch center hole) and draw a wreath shape on it.
  2. After cutting this out, cover it with some colored tissue paper of your choice to hide the cardboard.
  3. Prepare some miniature gift boxes by simply using corrugated cardboard to construct boxes in varying sizes then covering them in fun and interesting Christmas wrapping paper or colored foil.

The whole wreath is pulled together nicely when you glue everything down on the wreath base. A great touch is to begin by gluing or stapling flowers or leaves to the base. Once they are in place you just need to glue the gift boxes on top of these. Group them in different sizes and cover as much of the base as you can. The final touch is to glue any miniature toys, figurines, acorns, candy or ornaments anywhere you wish. At last your gift box wreath is ready to dazzle!

A beachcomber wreath like this is fun and easy to put together if you live near the sea.

Nautical Wreath

If you live near the beach you can make an unusual outdoor wreath with sea shells, driftwood, starfish and other beach-found items you think will go together and tell a Christmas tale about your trips to the beach. Drill holes and use twine or floral wire to put together a wreath of the sea.

The natural looks of your nautical wreath will work great against weathered wood siding and you can leave it up all winter since it won’t seem to "Christmasy". Dress your nautical wreath up with some colorful fish or bird ornaments and ribbon in colors of the sea.

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