Making a beautiful christmas wreath

Things you will need:
  • A wreath base - pre-padded is easiest and best, I find it is easiest if you work with it dry and soak it if you want to once you are finished. I use 12" diameter.
  • Florist wire - thin enough to twist easily. I cut mine into easy to use pieces about 30cm long. Also some thicker wire for hanging and adding accessories.

  • Foliage (Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Fir, Holly, (plain and variegated) Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Bay, Lavender, Tree Heather are all great, but just work with what you have around) think about your colour scheme before you start, silvers, golds, greens, try to stick to it as you go and the finished result is so much nicer
  • Ribbon, berries, pine cones ( sprayed gold or silver if you fancy it), cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices, flowers etc..

  • Secateurs

  • Gloves to protect your fingers - thin enough to give you flexibility, but thick enough to stop the worst of the prickles, I use gloves that they use on the oil rigs and they are awesome.

  • A large cup of tea and a radio ( Although the tea will soon be full of pine needles)

Start by building up a small bunch of foliage in your hand, As you can see in the photos below, I lay down the pine or spruce first, this gives a lovely spray that will cover the base. On top lay down some holly, lining up the spine of the holly with the spine of the underlying spruce, then build up from there with more colour, texture and bulk until you are holding a lovely little bunch in your hand.

If you are adding berries, do so last as they will be hidden by leaves.

Hold off on adding cones or flowers or ribbon until the end.

Take your small bunch and lay it along the curve of the wreath, don't worry if the excess stems lay off one side, they are easily cut off once you have tied the bunch on, but what you don't want is too much of the foliage hanging over, try and keep the majority of the bunch along the line of the wreath base.

Take a piece of wire and lay it over a point where it will tightly hold all the stems together, bend it round both sides of the wreath, trying to tuck it behind leaves so it is as invisible as possible. Turn the wreath over and twist the wire tightly together on the back. Cut off the ends or just bend them in out off the way.

Trim off the excess stems and then start on your second bunch.
In this example, I have continued the same foliage all the way round, but sometimes I alternate what i put in the first and second bunches, IE : berries on one, juniper on the next, Or eucalyptus on one, pytsphorum on the next. Yet I suggest you keep your base and your holly selection similar all the way round for a nice overall effect. Once you have you second bunch ready, place it carefully down so it covers the stems and the wire of the first bunch and continues round the curve of the wreath.
Continue the same process all the way round the wreath, it takes me 8-10 little bunch to cover the whole circle. You can do it in less if you are going for a more loose and sprayed out wreath, but i like mine tight and neat.
When you are adding the final bunch, trim the ends before you slot it in, then lift up the flap of foliage from the first bunch you laid down and carefully slide in the last bunch so the whole wreath is complete and there is no distinguishable gaps, stems or wire.

Observe your wreath from a critical arms length, trim any little bits that need tidied, then decide if you want to add more accessories.
To add pine cones, I use a thicker piece of wire, wind it around under the spines of the cone and then spike the remaining wire through the base to pull the cone tight into the spot you have chosen.

Remember that any extras you add will look more pleasing to the eye in 3's or 5's.

If you have plastic berries that you want to add, it is simple to make a 'pick' - lay a few berries out on their wires, twist the wires together and then attach the whole with a piece of thicker wire and spike it through the base. Plastic flowers and ribbons are simple to add in the same manner.

Be inventive, use tiny Xmas decorations, wrap thin ribbon all the way around the wreath, hang a star in the centre, spray the whole thing with sparkles ..........

To make a simple hook to hang your wreath up, choose where you want the top to be, and at this point on the back, thread a piece of the thicker wire through the wreath to make a loop, twist the ends tightly and it should be ready for you to show off and hang on your door.

You could try a few other shapes made with chicken wire filled with moss, such as the hearts above and the crescent bough below, made on the frame of a coathanger which makes a great alternative decoration for your door over christmas.

Good Luck - Merry Christmas :o)

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