How to make a Christmas wreath
PUBLISHED: 18:17 25 November 2016
A wreath is a traditional Christmas decoration, designed to add a festive welcome to your front door, or even to use as a seasonal centrepiece inside. Here’s how to make your own at home or at a workshop.
Green fingered I am not. If there’s a colour metaphor for the type of fingers that kill plants as soon as touching them and disarrange flower arrangements as they’re headed for the vase then I’ve got them.
So I was fully prepared to come out of a Christmas wreath-making workshop utterly humiliated, even if I was getting a private preview with only the lovely Rachel and David of Highgate Flowers and our photographer Polly present. Would I have to pretend a five-year-old lived in my house if I hung the finished wreath on my front door?
I fear that may have been the result had I attempted the task at home, but under Rachel’s watchful eye, and with a spot of help with the trickier bits of wire twisting, I walked away with a wreath to be proud of displaying, resplendent with dried apple slices, pine cones, fat red chilli peppers and even some gold-leafed mushrooms.
Here’s how to make your own at home, although for beginners or less confident crafters I would emphatically recommend attending a workshop.
Even as she kept popping off to make up a quick bouquet for the Friday lunchtime customers who kept dropping in, Rachel was able to make sure I was doing the right thing and subtly advise on how to arrange the fir fronds and where to place my decorations.
I’d set aside an optimistic hour in my diary for the workshop but in reality making your own wreath will take closer to three hours, even if they do pass very quickly in a haze of absorption.
Highgate Flowers will be running a Christmas wreath-making workshop as part of the Selvedge Advent Festival on Tuesday, 29 November from 6 to 9pm. Places are limited and tickets cost £100 including materials and light refreshments. To book go to selvedge.org
1. Start with a copper ring. Wrap binding wire around it a few times to secure and then start adding clumps of sphagnum moss, wrapping with wire as you go. Use quite a lot, you want a nice plentiful base to secure all your decorations on to the wreath. The moss will also provide moisture throughout the season.
2. Cut the most attractive forked parts of some fir branches in around 15cm lengths. You want these as bushy as possible for a really bountiful looking wreath.
3. Attach the pieces of fir to the wreath. Place three of the branches, one on the top, one inside the ring and one on the outer edge, wrap once with the binding wire and then again, pulling tight the second time. Continue, overlapping the branches, until the entire ring is covered. Wind the end of the wire around itself on the underside of the wreath and then plunge into the bottom of the moss to secure.
4. Start with the basic decorations: I chose long cinnamon sticks and natural pine cones for a natural look and delicious smell. Wrap the cinnamon sticks with thin wire sticks, cover the wire with raffia and then poke the wire through till it sticks out of the bottom of the moss. Bend it back on itself and push the end back into the bottom of the wreath to secure. The same method applies to the cone, which you should wrap with wire at the bottom and then stick through.
5. Choose your colour scheme. Do you want to go natural, traditional, glitzy? I opted for a red and natural palette with some flashes of gold. Apple slices bunched in piles of three, dried chillies threaded with wire and gold glittery cones are attached by threading wire through the wreath. The gold mushrooms are tricky to attach in that way so they are wrapped to individual fir branches. Don’t forget the sides and feel free to go overboard – it is Christmas after all.
6. Cover the bottom of the wreath. The moss will damage paintwork if it sits against it for several weeks so make sure to back it with plastic tape. Fix the tape with two pins at one edge of the wreath, then fold it back and forth across the back, pinning at each fold, until the moss is covered. Finish with two pins at the end.
7. Create a hook so you can hang your wreath. Decide where the top is and then thread a wire through between the ring and the fir leaves. Twist tightly and securely at the back. Thread through a length of thick ribbon – you can either hang the wreath off your door knocker or hang it over the top of your door, with the ribbon secured to the inside of the door.
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