As a traditional part of decorating for the holidays, we adorn our walls and doors with pine wreaths and garlands. The stores are full of wreaths with sensors that start music for passersby, simple plastic-pine wreaths embellished with bells and bows, and natural pine garland wreaths that fill the air with fragrance. This year, try your hand at an easy-to-make wreath and avoid the hefty price tags. With adult help, the fun project is suitable for children, too.
Easy-to-make wreaths can be pulled together from almost any leafy tree or plant. If you have pine trees, smaller branches will provide the makings for an easy traditional holiday wreath. I like the rustic look of homemade wreaths from unexpected plants. Look around your yard or neighborhood and see what greenery attracts you.
This year, I used Coyote Brush to make an earthy wreath and hung it on my back door. This fast-growing shrub is a native here in Southern California. Coyote Brush blooms in draping sprays of tiny cream-colored flowers in the fall. Each time I open or shut the door, the spicy scent wafts up to remind me of nature and the outdoors I so love. The fact that it holds its scent as the leaves and flowers begin to dry out is an added bonus.
To make an easy wreath, you’ll need:
- Slender, easily bent branches with leaves
- Narrow gauge florist or art wire
- Gardening shears and wire snips or heavy-duty shears
For the pictured example, I’ve used slender branches from the olive trees that line the front of my property. The wire pictured here is what I had on hand and a little thicker than necessary or ideal.
Prepare by cutting several six- to eight-inch lengths of the wire so you’ll have them ready. Then choose two or three of the longest limbs from your plant or tree to form the base of your wreath.
Take your longest branches and, using the wire to fasten them together, bend them into a circular shape.
Don’t make the wire too tight. You can slip the ends of smaller branches in underneath the wire as you add bulk. Make your wreath as thick and full as appeals to you. Mine are always a little on the sparse side, just how I like them. If you can’t create a perfect circle, find the beauty in imperfection with an accepting attitude. Rustic wreaths don’t have to be perfect.
Take smaller leaf stalks and add to the basic shape, fastening with new lengths of wire as needed.
If you want, you can add bows, pine cones, seed pods, or ribbons to embellish your creation. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and add whatever looks good to you for a unique wreath.
As with any natural wreath, mist with water to keep the leaves from drying out too quickly. Some plants look even prettier in their dried form.
Consider using natural branches from your garden in other decorative ways, too. Variations include arranging simple cut branches as swags to deck a mantle or wall. Make smaller wreaths or swags to embrace a tabletop candle display. (Use caution with open flames).
Enjoy the satisfaction of having made your own cheap and easy holiday wreaths.
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