Easy and Gorgeous Christmas Wreaths to Make
Wreaths have a long history and are positively loaded with symbolism. Back in ancient Greece and Rome, for example, they were associated with status, achievement, and victory as the god Apollo was known for wearing a laurel wreath commemorating Daphne, a nymph he loved who was turned into a laurel tree (something Daphne requested because she did not love Apollo back).
Wreaths displayed around Christmas time can display several meanings. To some, wreaths are used to symbolize the coming of Christ (as part of the Advent season). To others, wreaths (especially those constructed with evergreen branches) symbolize strength, as their green color perseveres through long, harsh winters.
Below I've collected some gorgeous pictures of Christmas wreaths to serve as inspiration for my own wreath crafting along with tips on constructing them. I'll be making a bunch of these this year, and I hope you will too!
Decorating Evergreen Wreaths
One of the easiest wreaths to make is an embellished arrangement using a pre-constructed evergreen wreath purchased from a store or tree farm.
I love this option not only because I am lazy and clumsy, but because it is so easy to create a theme and one can make decorations as complex or as simple as one pleases.
The easiest option, of course, is to simply tie a ribbon or two around the wreath, or to attach some bells or small ornaments to the boughs. But why not be more creative?
To the right is a normal wreath adorned with bottle caps. It is a plastic wreath (which is a nice option if you want to re-use your creation) and the caps are most likely attached with a hot glue gun (which makes the decoration extra easy!). The most difficult part of assembling this wreath would involve collecting all of the bottle caps, but that could be easily handled by visiting a flea market, stopping by eBay, or... drinking a lot!
Another splendid themed wreath is this decoration with nuts, candied oranges, and cards.
The decorations are also likely glued in place, but this wreath is real, and probably emits a wonderful smell! I love the idea of incorporating old playing cards into a wreath- they add a fabulous splash of color and are splendidly unexpected (especially since most wreaths stick with bows, bells, and lights).
The playing card addition also makes me think of other fun card-related variations. It would be really fun to see a business card-decorated wreath in an office, for example, and I'm thinking about adding some of my old tarot cards to a wreath this year. Symbols on a symbol? Why not?
Both wreaths AND yarn surge in popularity during the winter, so why not combine the two? I love yarn wreaths because they have such a wonderful, comforting feel.
One of my favorite yarn wreath designs is one of the easiest sorts of wreaths to make. All you have to do is:
- Purchase yarn and a foam wreath from a craft store
- Wrap the yarn in circles around the foam, wrapping the wreath
- When you're finished, tie or glue the end off and optionally add a ribbon to the seam to hide your handiwork
You can, of course, be a little more elaborate. The wreath pictured to the right would not be that much more difficult to make, but it looks so inviting!
To create a yarn ball wreath,
I'm always nauseated by the number of discarded ribbons that accumulate after Christmas day has passed, and I love re-using discarded materials, so the idea of making a ribbon wreath is particularly appealing!
Making one of these is as simple as collecting a bunch of one's favorite ribbon decorations and hot glueing them to a foam or similarly round wreath base. This wreath can then be stored and used over and over. Gotta love it!
Twig and berry branch wreaths are a fun option, and I've bought a few over the years, but never made one of my own! This year I'd like to go to a flower market and buy some branches with berries on them, because constructing one of these wreaths using a wire wreath base and floral wire (just wrapping and layering, as I outlined above) would be super easy to do.
A somewhat popular cousin of the berry wreath is the iced twig wreath (made with branches sprayed with a material that looks like little ice crystals). Now, most of these come ready made, but I've seen iced twig branches at a couple stores before, so if you would like to assemble one by hand, that is certainly an option!
What I'm contemplating is creating a wreath with a similar look that uses LED lights, but another fun play on this look would involve applying glitter to bare branches. On that note, unadorned bare branch wreaths have an appeal of their own, and look really nice on barns, fences, and sheds.
Most of the summer and autumnal wreaths I make involve mixing different branches, weeds, and dried flowers. Obviously winter wreaths are a bit more limited material-wise because most folks stick to evergreens or other winter-ready branches, but that doesn't mean that one can't mix and match.
I love the wreaths to the right because they incporate several popular winter wreath materials- holly, pinecones, and several types of evergreen boughs.
Though one might be tempted to buy more fancy, 'arranged' wreaths like these, they're ridiculously easy to make. All you need is some green wire, metal wreath frame (available at most craft stores), and a sizable collection of branches. Start by arranging one spray of branches along the frame (all pointing in the same general direction), wrap the wire around their base, and then layer another bough and continue wrapping the wire around. You'll be done in no time! Just make sure you start with enough material- I've run out early before and it's not fun!
Using Varied Wreath Bases
Not all wreath bases are made with foam, and this straw wreath is an excellent example. Decorating a pre-constructed wreath base made with branches or straw is a great option of your decorations are such that a bit of the wreath will show through beneath.
I love what the maker of this wreath did with the mini apples. I can imagine this style of wreath looking great with all sorts of little fruits and vegetables- little chili peppers would be particularly fantastic!
I'm rare the type of girl who loves looking at sweets and really enjoys making them, but isn't so fond of eating them. Making wreaths out of sweets and candy may be tough for some (supplies might mysteriously disappear), but I love the idea.
This Hershey's Kiss wreath is particularly adorable, and it looks really easy to make! To re-create the look, I recommend wrapping a rounded wreath base in bright foil (something that blends in with the kisses) and then hot glueing the base of the kisses to the wreath.
While sweets-based wreaths are fantastic, I do not recommend them in homes prone to pests- especially ants. When dealing with some major ant problems in the past, my family always dreaded gifts of sweets or decorations made out of candy. Even if they would be balanced at the very top of our Christmas tree, a very good distance from the kitchen, the ants would find them and swarm them!
There is certainly no shortage of Christmas ornaments available for purchase, and I know more than a few households that have accumulated more ornaments than can fit on just one Christmas tree (or two!).
A fun way to use excess ornaments is to hot glue them to a wreath. The one pictured to the right is definitely more on the expensive side, since its maker decided to use vintage ornaments, but one could just as easily buy a cheap box full of brightly colored ornaments and create a wreath that is just as cheery!
I don't think I will be creating an ornament-based wreath using glass ornaments or bulbs anytime soon, mostly because storing them would require a lot of care and a special, very protective box, but I am definitely tempted to make one with more durable decorations!
One note on construction: the wreath pictured here is made by a true expert who has both the variety of ornaments and the time to fit all the pieces together like a puzzle. If you aren't sure that you'll be able to cover every surface of your wreath base with ornaments, make sure it is wrapped in a base that matches the ornaments so it doesn't show through and look incomplete.
I don't do a lot of sewing or work with cloth, but if I did, I would definitely make a rag wreath! Making one simply involves:
- Stripping a rag into inch-wide (or so) strips of even length
- Tying them around a wreath base
The wreath pictured to the right got its striped look by using a wire floral wreath base, which allowed its maker to tie different types of rags along different circles.
Even though I don't have a lot of cloth scraps hanging around, I have half a mind to take some of my old clothes and rip them up just so I can make one of these. I might also have my friends and I make these wreaths for my annual Christmas crafting party... they're super easy to make, so everyone could produce something really pretty, and they also don't make a mess!
I hope this overview has given you some inspiration to try out some different styles of wreaths this year. So far as I'm concerned, wreaths are some of the easiest decorations to make, and they also make for wonderful holiday gifts.
If you make one of these wreaths- or have been making wreaths in the past and have some tips to share- let me know about it in the comments below! I would be very interested to know which style is your favorite, or what practices you employ to give wreaths you make an extra personal touch or professional polish.
Happy holidays everyone!
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