Don’t Buy It: A Christmas Wreath

6 12 2008

Last Christmas, the farmer’s market in Alexandria, VA had these gorgeous Colonial Williamsburg-style wreaths (I suspect they sell these all over Virginia and Maryland, actually). The cheap ones were $45. We couldn’t afford them. The family garden center by our house sold less fancy wreaths. The cheap, tiny ones were $9. We couldn’t afford one of them, either, at least not after we bought a packet of mistletoe for kissing under and some fir roping to make the house smell nice. They did sell green florist wire for $3, so I bought some of that, and told the lady who owns the place I would try to make a wreath with the leftover roping.

She cast a baleful eye upon me. “What will you make it on?”

“Um, on? Um, I don’t know.”

“Have you ever made a wreath before?” she asked.

“Um, no.”

“Well. Good luck with that,” she said. “We make lots of wreaths here, of course, but…. well, you let me know how it goes.”

I can’t say she exactly bolstered my confidence, but she did give me a hint that I needed some sort of frame for the wreath. I’d sort of pictured just winding the roping into a circle and tying on a bow. But having jogged my memory, I had a vague recollection that a Christmas craft book I’d owned as a kid suggested making a wreath on a bent coat hanger. A google search showed that this approach was alive and well, although some suggested using two coat hangers instead of one. So that’s what I did. My husband and I bent two coat hangers into approximate circles, leaving the hooks at the top, and I tied the two hangers together with the floral wire. The thin wire did a good job of pulling the coat hanger circles and the hooks so that they aligned, which surprised me. A quick tour of our yard with a plastic bag and a pruner yielded holly, some bright red berries, some boxwood, and other interesting plant bits. I cut off a short length of the fir roping we’d bought and unwound most of the wiring on it to get smaller fir boughs which I could wire to the wreath (the wire from the roping can be reused, to conserve the boughten wire). Overlapping the branches, I also wired in holly and boxwood and berries as I went. I went in a circle, so that the holly and the boxwood on the right side of the wreath ended up upside down: this year, I plan to wire the holly in upside down on that side or perhaps wire it on afterwards, so the holly faces up on both sides. Finally, I wired on a bow, wrapped the hanger hook with more of the same ribbon, and hung it from a ribbon loop tied into a bow and hung on a hook on our front door. I thought the result was pretty creditable for a first attempt, and a nice savings of $45. See what you think:

Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath

This year will be different, because we’ve moved an eight-hour car ride north. No holly or boxwood; instead, we’ll have pine harvested from our own yard, with our own pine cones. Also, this year I may use a wire snips and snap off the hanger hooks or bend them to the back so they don’t show, because they look like nothing so much as ribbon festooned coat hanger hooks on last year’s wreath. Not the look I was going for.




One response

22 07 2009

Hmm, I had no idea you’re supposed to attach a frame to it. My family isn’t Christian, so we normally don’t have wreaths in the winter, but in the summer we just take a pine branch and use that as the base. It doesn’t look terribly gorgeous, but it’s fine for the purpose it’s for. The sticks are bendy enough to be held with wire, and it can look prettier with other plants attached to it.

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