Christmas Wreath - How to Make an Evergreen Wreath
Welcome Guests With an Aromatic, Natural Evergreen Wreath
An evergreen wreath is a wonderful way to welcome guests into your home during the Christmas season. This traditional use of evergreens made into a beautiful wreath is easy to do using materials that you can gather yourself along with a wire wreath form and some floral wire.
It's really a very simple project. Below, I will show you how to make an evergreen Christmas wreath with step by step instructions. I prefer a natural look with uneven fronds. If you prefer something more formal, just tuck in the the hanging pieces evenly, and snip off or tuck in any protruding bits.
If you like, you can add ornamentation - bows, ribbons, pine cones, Christmas ornaments, little artificial birds, herbs, or anything that you like.
The use of evergreens predates Christianity. Ancient Persians used evergreens as symbols of importance and created diadems for victory crowns. The Greeks made laurel wreaths as awards for Olympic athletes as far back a 776 BC. In ancient Rome, military heroes wore evergreen crowns and girls wore evergreen crowns as ornamentation.
Pre Christian Germanic people used evergreens as a symbol of life and survival during their Winter Solstice celebrations. In winter, the days were short, the nights were long and spring seemed far away. The evergreen was a reminder of life and renewal.
Later, Catholics employed evergreens in the Advent Wreath used to count down the weeks until Christmas. The wreath incorporated old traditions and symbolized eternity because a wreath is a circle with no beginning or end.
Today, we enjoy the symbolism and wonderful scent of evergreen wreaths. They hang on doors to welcome Christmas guests, or anywhere around the house as aromatic decoration.For the best scent, use boughs of balsam fir, the wonderful scent often used in Christmas candles.
Collect Your Evergreens
Evergreens can be purchased or you can use plant materials from your own property. You can ask friends or neighbors for a snip of their evergreens. The folks at Christmas tree lots usually offer extra greenery for free.
You can use several types of evergreen or use all the same kind for a more uniform or formal look. I prefer a natural look (some may even say a bit frowzy). A variety of material adds interest and texture. You can create a tidy look by cutting all your materials the same size and by snipping off protruding pieces.
In this wreath, I used fir, juniper, and arborvitae. Many other evergreens are attractive as well - holly, Japanese holly, cypress, japonica, pine, boxwood and variations of these. Add a few pieces of rosemary for added interest and a lovely aroma.
After you've gathered your greens, cut off the bottom of each branch at an angle and soak for 24 hours in a bucket of water. That will freshen up the foliage and make your wreath last longer.
It doesn't matter if there are dried pieces or raggedy edges, you can just trim them off.
Junipers, with their tightly packed foliage, add fullness to your wreath
Balsam fir is the quintessential aroma of Christmas. Fir twigs and branches retain their scent for a long time after cutting.
The scent of arborvitae is subtle and sweet.
Evergreen Wreath - Materials and Tools
All you need to make an evergreen wreath are:
- a wreath form
- florist wire
- evergreen branches
- pruning shears or clippers
- decorative elements if desired (ribbon, bows, artificial birds, painted twigs, dried seed pods, Christmas decorations, etc.)
Wreath forms and florist's wire can be purchased at most craft stores or in the craft area of big box stores.
How to Make a Wreath
- Trim the evergreen boughs into small, manageable pieces. Remove bare twigs and dried pieces.
Evergreen Wreath - Cut Small Pieces
- Lay the form on a flat surface, concave side facing up to cup the greens. Twist a couple pieces of florist's wire around the cross pieces of the form (so they won't slip around).
- Lay a piece of evergreen on the form. Use large needled evergreen (like pine) first. Or, if all the same size, use the pieces that you have the most of.
- Loop green wire around the twig and secure to the wire form
- Lay another piece of evergreen, overlapping the cut part of the first piece. Attach with wire. Keep overlapping the cut pieces as shown in the illustration. Line the pieces all in the same direction.
- If you don't have floral wire, you can just shove the evergreen pieces into the form, using the form to anchor them. Then you can add more by 'weaving' them in.
- Follow the wreath form, attaching and wiring evergreen material.
- Occasionally, turn it over while wiring. Make sure that the wire is attached tight enough to secure.
- After a while, you can just tuck the evergreen pieces into what you already have attached.
- When the wreath form is covered, gather and wire loose pieces or pieces that are sticking out.
- Here, the wreath is covered with fir. I used fir as a base then added the other materials.
- After the wreath is covered with your base evergreen, add the other evergreen. What with so many evergreen materials already secured, you can just shove the smaller pieces in where you want them.
- Hang up your wreath. If it looks uneven or sloppy, you can tuck in or trim off excess foliage. I kind of like the Christmas wreath looking natural.
How to Keep an Evergreen Christmas Wreath Looking Fresh
The cool weather of December will help keep your evergreen Christmas wreath looking fresh. Christmas trees are often cut down in September and October and placed in cold storage until the Christmas season because the cold keeps the greens in good condition.
Hang the wreath out of the sun in a cool, shaded area. The north side of a house works well.
If you want the wreath to look its best during the holiday, don't make it way ahead of time. It will dry out. Make the wreath a week or so before Christmas so that it will be attractive for the holiday.
Natural Christmas Wreath
I made this year's wreath using balsam fir and fraser fir, then added a gold wire ribbon at the bottom. I think it looks nice with the white lace curtains.
Though I prefer a simple Christmas wreath, you can add ornaments, bells, dried roses, herbs, garland, or just about anything you can think of to add a bit of interest.