How to make Willow Wreath
Making willow wreath is not only fun, it is super easy
Willow is one of my favorite materials for wreath making. It is easy to work with : it bends and it is sturdy. Here I have short tutorial how to make simple willow wreath and how to decorate it.
I will also show you how to handle and store willow properly which makes it more sturdy for more challenging crafting projects. So once you have learned to manage the simple technique of making willow wreaths you might get interested to try something else.
All images taken by Marja79 unless mentioned otherwise
Working with Willow
It takes some patience and time to learn how to work with Willow. Trial and error. I did not master using Willow in a week, I am still not a master, far from it. But I keep trying, until I am familiar with the techniques and understanding all those qualities Willow has.
The more you make these, the more familiar you will get with executing all kinds of ideas you have.
Besides, I think it has to look like it is handmade, if it is handmade. Otherwise one can just buy them from any store.
Bend the twig into a loop - First step
Ok, the ideal length of willow twig for wreath is approximately 47 inches, all even long. Yeah right, as if that would be so easy to find wild willow that easily.
But no worries , one can do a wreath anyway.It is a bit more difficult with shorter willows, when one twig should be long enough to twist around itself 2 or 3 times. I can make it 1 and half times, but it is enough. I just hold it with my fingers tightly when I take another willow twig or I use a little bit of wire to make sure it holds together. Small piece of wire is not visible when the wreath is finished up.
At first soften the willow twig in your hands a bit, otherwise no matter how fresh and moist it is, it can snap in half, if that happens, throw it away.
Always place the bases first, it is easier to twist the top of willow twigs. Placing the bases evenly around the wreath, makes it even all around. I usually start the next round where the last one ended, that way the top of last willow twig is hidden under the next base of willow twig.
At first it does not look like round nice wreath, but it is easy to shape in your hands, it does not get broken.
Keep adding twigs until the willow wreath is thick enough - step 2
Keep adding twigs and shaping the wreath in your hands. Try to follow previous twigs, twist it next to previous rounds, it makes it look smoother and nicer. Honestly it is not always possible unless you have even length willow twigs. Once you get more experience, it gets easier to see how it do it.
Cut the ends to finish up the willow wreath - step 3
Try to hide the top of the last willow twig in between of previous layers, it will dry in time, no need to tie it with anything.
Cut the ends.
Shape the willow wreath with hands - step 4
Was not so hard , was it? Shape it gently with hands if necessary, but otherwise it is finished up.
Now all you need is to let it set for couple of days.
Decorate with anything you want to, or hang it just like that. Make a small hook from wire.
Decorating willow wreath for Christmas
First of all I have no idea what kind of hay that is, but it was painted red. I think it has been bought like that from some crafting store. With that stack of unknown hay I used 2 real cones. This kind of wreath can be used after Christmas until late spring.
There is something strange white in the picture...
I obviously need some help to choose perfect decorations...
Yeah my Baby Cat just likes to participate everything I do... especially if she can taste everything. Then play with it. And then destroy it... Or she just steals something and hides it.
When I started to decorate this wreath I had not seen her for hours, but in the minute I start crafting she is there. I do not know how she knows that I am about to craft something. That is just really spooky!
Cat's toy as a Christmas wreath decoration
Yeah that green bag is actually from a cat's toy box which my mom bought 2 years ago for my cats. Do I have to say none of them plays with those toys?
I used some festoon, which I have torn apart and used in many crafting projects. It is really really handy!
I usually torn apart these candle rings and use them to decorate Christmas wreaths.
Make wreaths as a gift
I love making wreaths and giving them as a gift. I always use materials and decorations based on whom I am giving it to. I make it look personal.
These are also so great to decorate wedding venues, any kind of parties, birthdays etc. You always get the right colors and decorations when you are doing them by yourself.
This book is great. It has tons of different ideas.
It does not have step-by-step tutorials, yet it has great pictures which will guide you to make one.
I never follow 100% of these tutorials. Why? Because I do not have all the materials. It does not matter, I get great ideas based on how other people have executed some of their ideas.
I love crafting books as a source of inspiration, not as something I would follow 100% unless I want to do something like that precisely.
Decorating willow wreath for summer
I chose to get something that unfortunately lasts only one day, but I can decorate it everyday with different kinds of flowers and plants! If I had silk flowers I would use hot glue to glue them, but now I am using green string.
I have bilberry, forget-me-nots and bird cherry twigs.
Use your imagination
I am not using wire or anything else, the string will hold the flowers and bird cherry twigs. This is great for celebrating the early summer. It goes to barbecue house where we are gonna meet with friends and family.
Tomorrow I will search for another kinds of decorations.
Bind the bundles with a piece of string
Use any kind of string. Store horizontally.
Soak the bundles (the amount you need) in cold water for 1 or 2 weeks before using them, change the water if necessary. Can be soaked in lakes and rivers as well. After soaking put them in plastic bag for the night before using them.
Peeling the willow
When collected in the right time, it is easy to peel them. Dry the willows upright outdoors in warm and windy place, if possible. Takes only few hours until they are dry enough.
When it is dry enough , if you want to use them right away, soak them in warm/hot water and put them in plastic bag for the night.
If you are not using them right away, then after drying them outdoors for few hours, bound the bundles with any kind of string and move to dry, cool and dark place to wait until you know what you want to do from them.
Peeled willow is not suitable for outdoor decorations. Bark protects from the weather.