Across the street from our house is a series of willow groves. I wasn’t aware of what these willows could do until I attended a wreath-making class during the holidays a few years ago. The instructor had gathered huge bunches of willow branches that we were to use to create wreaths. I’d never thought of it before! Most of the wreaths I hung during the holidays were made of wire and pine branches or grapevine and fake autumn leaves. While the willow was a bit wily as we all tried weaving it into a wreathe form, the result after securing it with some floral wire and adding an assortment of dried foraged leaves and flowers was stunning! I became a wreath-making fanatic after that!
I prefer understated natural wreaths made from willow branches now. But I have also made wreaths out of pine cones stuck onto a foam wreath form. A fabric-wrapped wreath is pretty too. And there are YouTube videos galore that will show you exactly how to make almost any wreath your heart desires.
But purchased wreaths are just as attractive, and when I’ve been short on time (think two children in diapers and a full-time job), I’ve had to resort to purchasing wreaths. One year I bought a bunch of random plasticky mass-produced wreaths from Home Depot and Pier 1 Imports. I hung the wreaths, but they did not in any way exude the spirit I was going for. We used them for one holiday season and then sent them to the thrift store.
My tips for wreaths run the gamut but are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make your own if you can swing it. As I said, there are tutorials galore all over the Internet and classes taught both online and in-person at fabric shops and craft stores.
- While a wreath on a door is a sweet welcome, wreaths look pretty all over the house. I strung up a huge evergreen wreath on the wall above our sofa one year, as well as a series of wreaths hung with ribbon from windows. Inside the kitchen door leading to our side yard was a cute spot for a smaller holly berry wreath one year. Display one on the bathroom door, on the kids’ bedroom doors, and above your bed.
- You can make a wreath from almost anything. This year I’m wrapping flax from my garden with floral wire and going to town with foraged dried grasses and flowers. Some people make advent wreaths decorated entirely in little butcher paper wrapped gifts. I’ve seen feather wreaths, Christmas bulb ornament wreaths, and wreaths made entirely of pipe cleaners (!). We used to make wreaths from old book pages when I owned my bookstore. Just google wreaths, and you’ll be blown away with the creative ideas out there!
- Purchasing a wreath can get pretty expensive. Handmade wreaths at boutiques can creep up into the hundreds of dollars. But if they’re re-usable and taken good care of, they can last many years. Alternatively, you can sometimes purchase natural wreaths from local charities or the nursery (even the grocery store) at a very reasonable price.
- There are myriad ways to hang wreaths. Stick it onto a nail? Use a wreath hanger? Hang with ribbon? If you’re hanging your wreath on the door, depending on its size, I suggest using a large nail that you can hook it onto. If that’s not an option, a wreath hanger that attaches over the top of the door is another good alternative. Hanging from windows (outside or inside) requires twine and ribbon and a nail usually hung above the window – you can also try a big clear suction cup hook (do your homework and read reviews, some work better than others).
- If you can’t afford an expensive wreath but also don’t have the time to make one yourself, here’s a tip – purchase a decent wreath from the thrift store and doll it up. Bring it home, take off the things you don’t like, and add some fresh pine boughs, pine cones, or other natural materials if that’s your thing. Or add fabric ties or other crafty items you have laying around the house. Use your imagination!
- And finally, remember! You don’t have to take down your holiday wreath on December 26th. I keep one of my willow wreaths up all year round and usually pull our Xmas wreaths away in February.
Share your favorite wreath tips in the comments below!