Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Made: Evergreen wreath


For me, nothing quite says 'Christmas' like bringing boughs of evergreens into the house. From pagan yule logs to modern wreaths, the custom of using holly, ivy and other evergreens to decorate the house in December is an ancient one that has lasted thousands of years. Wreaths made from fresh foliage can be crazily expensive to buy - understandable, as they're time-consuming to put together. But with a bit of foraging for free greenery plus an hour of patience and sore fingers, you can make a wreath that's just as beautiful as a store-bought one.

You will need:
A wreath base (usually made of moss over a wire ring - I found mine on eBay for less than £2)
Armfuls of greenery - at least two different kinds but the sky's the limit. I used cypress, holly, eucalyptus and hebe
Florists wire
Secateurs or strong scissors
3 metres ribbon
Assortment of decorations - I dried some orange slices and teamed them with foraged pine cones and some fake holly berries 


1. First, forage for your greenery. You don't need to live in the countryside for this: I picked up the pinecones from under a tree on a nearby industrial estate, the holly and eucalyptus were from my mum's Bradford back garden, the hebe from a shrub in my yard, and the cypress from a friend's garden. 

2. Soak your ring [snigger] in water before squeezing out any excess.

3. Your wreath will be made up of multiple bundles of greenery, each affixed to the base. If, like me, you're using 3 or 4 different types of foliage, gather a small piece of each type and pull together to form a bouquet. If using more, you could vary the contents of your bundles, aiming for 3 or 4 pieces of foliage in each.

4. Bend a length of wire to form a U-shape at one end, approx. 1 inch long. Place the U at the base of the bouquet (with the remaining wire pointing away from it) and then wind the wire around the bundle two or three times, to hold the bundle together securely. You should be left with about 15cm of wire still pointing away from the bouquet.

5. Push the long piece of wire through your base, bend and push back in again to secure. 


6. Repeat, laying each bundle of greenery so it points in the same direction and overlaps with the previous one, until the wreath base is covered.

7. At this point you may find some bundles need another piece of wire looped around and pushed into the base to ensure they're completely secure.

8. Again using wire, attach the decorations at intervals. 

9. Cut 2 metres from your ribbon and loop it through the inside of the wreath. Tie the remaining metre into a bow around the hanging ribbon, trimming the ends neatly.

10. Once it's hanging up you may need to trim some edges: I found my eucalyptus especially needed a bit of a prune.

11. Step back and admire your work! Wreaths made from fresh foliage will survive for about three to four weeks if hung outside in the cold. 

11 comments:

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    1. Thanks! I'm really quite chuffed with it.

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  2. It's beautiful :) I would probably have pricked my fingers on the holly and then given up! Xx

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    1. That's where gardening gloves become pretty useful, although I still ended up with an allergic reaction on my arms!

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  3. This is SO wonderful! I love it! Always wanted a wreath but do you know the silly thing- it's the attaching to the front door that puts me off! My husband and I are both useless at anything of that ilk!x

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    1. I'm not sure of a solution if you have a PVC door, but mine is wooden so I drove a small nail, a picture pin actually, into the back of it and then I attach the ribbon to that and hang it over the front of the door.

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  4. Absolutely gorgeous! (I'm intreagued as to how you dried oranges!)

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    1. I sliced a couple of oranges (about 3mm thick slices) and laid them on a rack over a baking sheet and put them in a very low oven (mine has a setting below Gas Mark 1, so I used that). You need to turn them every 20ish minutes or so, and it takes a couple of hours, but they're a doddle to make.

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  5. I made mine this year too, it's so worth the scratches and cold fingers (I made mine outside, I have no idea why it didn't occur to me to do it inside!!). I'm so pleased with the result. Yours looks fab, I love the orange slices.

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  6. Love it, i wish i could find the time to make one too (there was a wreath-making class on at the Malt Cross i was thinking of doing but it was £40 - much cheaper to just make one at home methinks!)

    PS i still have fireplace envy ;-) x

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    1. Oof, that's pretty steep, considering mine set me back about £3 in total! Although once you've done a class the skills stay with you - that's how I know how to make wreaths. Maybe next winter we can collect lots of greenery and have a Midlands blogger wreath making party!

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