Every year, the weekend after Thanksgiving is spent buying a Christmas tree, making wreaths and decorating our home for the Christmas Season.
Making your own Christmas wreath is easy, fun and offers limitless possibilities for creativity.
You can make your own Christmas wreath can be done in an afternoon, and the kids will love working with the fragrant greens and being able to make wreaths even prettier than store-bought ones.
So clear a large space in your kitchen, put on some great Holiday music, and get ready to have fun.
For a traditional greenery wreath, you will need:
- large bundles of Christmas Tree cuttings. You can use ones from your own tree, or purchase cuttings from a place which sells Christmas Trees
- 1 bundle of holly
- 1 wreath frame (metal or Styrofoam)
- Garden clippers
- Wire clippers
- Spool of fine green wire (florist wire- can be purchased at craft stores or in craft sections of discount stores)
- 2 yards of wide red or holiday print ribbon
1. Prepare the greenery – Take the large boughs and cut the limbs into many 6- to 8-inch pieces (kids old enough to handle clippers can help). Its okay if there are irregularly shaped pieces; you want a natural look and can use nearly everything except the thick central branches. You may want to cut the holly, too, but keep it in a separate pile. It's expensive, so use it sparingly. Also, cut about twenty 15-inch pieces of wire and put them nearby (I suggest a parent do this job). Watch out–they're easily lost as the clutter spreads. I keep our wire in a plastic rectangle container so it doesn’t get lost as easily.
2. Begin to make bunches of evergreens – You should use the sturdy pieces from the base of the branches for the back of your bunch; they provide support but are fairly well hidden. You'll see that the tips of the branches are symmetrical and prettier because they haven't been cut. As you gather, say, four or five pieces for your bunch, place these sections near the front where they will be the most visible. Better yet, offer them to your kids because they look so nice and work with the less desirable pieces yourself.
3. Wiring your wreath – When you have formed a nice, thick bunch of greens, hold them down against the frame with one hand and take a piece of wire in the other. Place the greens in position and lay the wire across the bundle, about two-thirds of the way from the top. Now, holding the bunch in place with the wire (one end in each hand), carefully turn over the frame and tighten and twist the wire. That is the tricky part for kids; it can result in moans of frustration, so be ready to help. If you are using a metal frame, clip off any excess wire. With a Styrofoam frame, you can simply press it into the Styrofoam.
4. Adding the holly – Attach the second bunch of greens in the same way, except add a sprig of holly in the front where it can easily be seen. You can create your own patterns with holly; adding it to every bunch or every two or three. (I don't recommend forming bundles entirely from holly; it's prickly to handle, costly, and the result will probably not be as full as your bunches of evergreen.) Place the bundle in the same direction as the first one; the second overlaps the first so that only about a third of the underlying bunch is visible. If kids put the bundles farther apart in their haste to cover the frame quickly, they'll end up with a thin wreath that has an uneven circumference.
5. Closing the circle – Repeat steps 1 to 3 as many times as needed to work my way around the wreath. A frame 16 inches in diameter will require about 12 bunches. Where my last bunch meets up with my first, there is often a spot that is less full than the rest of the wreath. It's an ideal place to tie a ribbon.
6. Folding the bow – I like a bow with many loops because it shows up well and hangs naturally. (Pre-tied bows are also available in craft stores.) Take two yards of red ribbon, about one to two inches wide, and loop it back and forth, pinching it between thumb and forefinger at the middle to retain the loops.
7. Wiring on the bow – Take a piece of wire, run it once around the bow and wrap the two ends around the wreath, twisting it in the back. Older kids can try this step but may need some help. You can reuse the same ribbon year after year; just remove the wire, iron the ribbon and start again.
Frames & Greens
You can buy wreath frames at gardening and craft stores. Wire frames, ranging in size from about 8 to 20 inches, are cheapest and most durable. A 12-inch frame is a manageable size for a child. Styrofoam frames, though brittle, are handy because you can press wire into them. Use flat rather than round ones; it's easier to mount greens on them.
Greens (such as spruce, hemlock and Douglas fir) are usually available wherever Christmas trees are sold. Once you master the basics, experiment with mixes of white pine, juniper, laurel and holly. If you have evergreens on your property, you can prune small pieces yourself.
Adorning the Wreath
Once you’ve completed the hard work of tying on greens, it's time to decorate your wreath. You and your kids can wire on all sorts of adornments: pinecones (plain, painted or glitter-covered), acorns, small bells, Christmas ornaments, seashells or toy soldiers. You can also use ribbon to tie on decorations, such as cookie cutters, or wrap the wreath with a special garland.
Consider the wreath your palette and decorate it in whatever style suits your family. I let my kids decide for themselves, and every year the final products are different.
To hang the wreath, slip thin red ribbon around the top of the wreath frame (a bit of green wire is less conspicuous), and hang it from a screw, nail or hook.
Creative Wreath Ideas
Christmas wreaths don’t have to be green. Here are a few options for alternative Christmas wreaths. For these projects, I recommend using a wreath ‘frame’ cut out of cardboard, and painted red, or with red tissue paper glued on. When attaching your decoration, a low temperature hot glue gun works best. Using the flat cardboard frame also makes it hang nicely on your wall.
Creative Christmas Wreaths: Candy Cane Wreath
If you’re looking for a popular twist on a traditional wreath, try using candy canes. You can pin, glue, or tape them to the wreath form in order to create a sunburst shape. You can also opt for popcorn to glue to the shape and decorate with green and/or red bows. These look particularly lovely against a backdrop of darker walls or doors.
Creative Christmas Wreaths: Peppermint Candy Wreath
Love the look of red-and-white striped peppermint candy in holiday decorating? Glue together handfuls of individually wrapped peppermint candies and add them to a holiday wreath. You can use a cardboard frame to have a wreath made exclusively of candy (very cute and festive.) – or, if you are using a green wreath, add 5-7 regular and 5-7 small size candy canes in between the bunches of hard candy for a festive and fragrant candy-themed wreath.
Creative Christmas Wreaths: Nature’s Bounty
Go for a walk in the woods while carrying a basket. Collect red berries, nuts, pinecones, dried flowers, and seed pods. Wire together combinations of these gifts from nature into small handful-size bunches, and wire the small arrangements into the wreath. You can use a hot glue gun to attach smaller items. Select a large bow or a strand of battery-operated tiny white lights to add a finishing touch to your nature’s bounty wreath.
Creative Christmas Wreaths: Other Ideas
Be creative. There are all kinds of things you can use to create a unique Christmas wreath. Vintage Christmas cards, silk poinsettias, miniature wrapped gift boxes with pretty bows, or vintage Christmas balls all make gorgeous decorations for holiday wreaths.
Consider making a wreath that matches your favorite holiday theme. If you love snowmen, make a snowflake wreath from inexpensive snowflake ornaments. If you like keeping the ‘reason for the season’ in mind, purchase an inexpensive nativity set and wire the figurines into a wreath. Or make a meaningful wreath out of small framed photographs of your children.