Crafty or not, I made Christmas wreaths! I’m kinda sorta obsessed with making them.
I made my first wreath in 2008 and got hooked. Problem was I had no one else to make wreaths for after I made a wreath for a family friend, my grandma, my grandpa, and my mom.
But the itch couldn’t be left alone, so I made two more.
Each year, I post the wreaths on Facebook and get lots of responses from fellow friends–questions about the mechanics of making their own wreath, and compliments on how awesome they look.
But because the questions keep coming, and because Christmas is coming, I figured it was time to do a Wreath 101 Tutorial for anyone who’s been bitten by the crafty bug, and anyone who wants to make a beautiful wreath from scratch that trumps any store-bought wreath any day. The best part is that these wreaths are completely versatile-you can customize them any way you like, with any colors you like. Your imagination is your only limit! And at around $30-50 (depending on materials, etc) these wreaths will make an amazing, one-of-a-kind gift for Christmas, or will be a beautiful display in your own home. Simple!
So, let’s get started!
1 medium-size/standard-size wreath (in my opinion, the perfect size, but if you’d prefer to go smaller or larger, budget your picks)
About 18-20 picks in assorted colors** (I like choosing a variety of types, like acorns, flowers, and bell baubles, but I’ve seen gorgeous feathers, beads, birds, leaves, etc)
One large bow, complementing the colors of your wreath
One large flower, in one color of your wreath (if desired)
A hot glue gun, plus glue sticks
Small wire cutters
Patience & creativity!
**When choosing picks, choose 3 colors: 2 main colors, and 1 complementary color. It doesn’t matter if the colors “match”, but make sure you keep it streamlined. For this wreath, I chose a rich purple and a hot pink as the main colors, and gold as the complementary color. You could also do hot pink and lime green with silver; rich purple and emerald with gold; gold and maroon with bronze; or blue and silver with light green.
First, line your work space with newspaper to catch the glitter and hot glue strands that inevitably fall and get everywhere. I made my wreath, as shown, in the kitchen. I like doing it here because I can open my cabinet door and hang my wreath from a wreath hook to assemble it standing up. I find this is easier than laying the wreath down, as when it’s hanging it’s easier to see it as you normally would. Also, you’ll need to fluff your wreath out! Simply pick at the pine fronds until it looks voluminous and not flat.
Then, spread out your picks, flowers and bows.
Unwrap any packaging/remove tags if needed. If you’d like, begin to trim your picks now. I like leaving about 1-2″ of the stem and trim away the rest. If you don’t trim it, the stem will hang awkwardly out of the back.
My only REAL advice is to PLAY AROUND FIRST! Do not hot glue anything until you truly love the placement. When the picks are trimmed, it’s easier to place them around to find a pattern you like. I like nestling my picks into the wreath to get placement ideas before I commit.
My personal preference is trimming my large flower (I like poinsettias) and placing it on the top left side of the wreath. I also prefer putting the bow on the bottom center; this ensures the stems of the bow don’t get in the way of the wreath.
The gold bell bauble pick and the purple acorn are secured with hot glue (top left, flanking the poinsettia) But I’m messing with placement here (as shown with the large purple ornament and gold flower)
When you’re hot gluing, make sure you coat the bottom of the pick evenly with hot glue–and make sure your glue is actually hot! Then, once you’ve figured out your placement, gently nestle the pick into its place, holding it for about 15 seconds to hold. Work quickly so the glue doesn’t dry up.
In general, I like grouping my picks in colors. It makes the wreath ornamentation look fuller, and spices it up. I like using the colors sparingly throughout the wreath (e.g., a cluster of each color here, a cluster of each color there, but no two same colors together), and I like to frame things (a large ornament in the top right and a large ornament in the bottom left). It keeps the eye looking over the entire wreath–a true visual treat!
Some more advice about buying picks: Look for picks in varying shapes as well. I like mixing two large ornaments with a couple 3-packs of smaller ornaments. Smaller ones are easier to cluster by color; larger ones work as larger pieces. If you buy all large picks (bell baubles, large ornaments, large flowers, etc) it’ll easily look cluttered. Similarly, if you buy all smaller picks (small flowers, small ornaments, etc) it will look sparse. Mix up shapes and sizes for the best look.
Once you’ve found your perfect placements and glued them in, you’re done!
You’re done! (NOTE: I ended up buying one more small hot pink flower to place on the right middle by the purple acorn and small gold ball; and another purple acorn to place on the left middle, just behind the small gold ball, next to the poinsettia. Amendments are not shown in this picture).
Because I crave routine in life, I like making my wreaths with the same pattern (generally). The colors in this one are some of my favorites, but I have also made these over the years, starting with the most recent one:
And this Mardi-Gras-ish one for my grandma, circa 2008:
And this gorgeous, exceptionally-fall-looking number:
And this one, for my grandpa. While I’m not a huge fan of the feather in retrospect, I still love the colors.
And one of my favorites, my mom’s wreath, which I made last year:
Remember, because of the delicate picks, the glitter and embellishments, and the glue, these wreaths are best for indoor only. If you’re jonesing for an outdoor wreath, it’s best to stick with items that don’t have glitter/glitz/embellishments, like silk flowers or plastic fruit.
I hope my wreath tutorial offered enough information to help you create your own beautiful wreath at home.
Remember, as always, the point is to have fun and play around! There are no right or wrong answers, only creativity to mess around with. That’s the best.
Plus, unique, handmade gifts are always better than store-bought. Especially when they’re this gorg.
(Question go unanswered? Feel free to comment below and I’ll reply ASAP with your wreath-making Q’s)
(PS–Wanna save money?! Easy! All of the things I purchased for my wreaths were bought with coupons from my local craft store. Just search your craft store plus ‘coupons’ in Google and print out the latest ones–sometimes for up to 20% off your entire order, or 40% off single items–great for the more expensive bows, and the wreaths!)