The Christmas wreath, for me, is an integral part of Xmas decor. I take huge pride in my Christmas wreath, as everyone sees it when they pass your home. It's also the first thing guests see when they arrive for celebrations! The thing is, a pretty Xmas wreath can often cost more than buying the Xmas tree! Go to a florist and you'll be looking at £100+ for anything detailed. Even local flower markets charge a good £30-£40 for a basic 'real' wreath base with no frills. Yet with a bit of prep, a bit of foraging and a glue gun, you can create a really professional-looking, real Xmas wreath for less than £20.
Every year I make the Xmas wreath for our house and I find it really enjoyable. I whack on the Xmas music, pour myself a (large) sherry and it gets me in the mood for Xmas like nothing else!
This year I'm delighted to be part of the #swifthomehacks campaign! When Swiftcover asked me to share a couple of my simple Xmas DIY's, I made the Xmas wreath pictured - and I'll show you how you can copy it.
PART 1: ITS ALL ABOUT THE PREP
DRY OUT SOME SLICES OF ORANGE
You can buy dried orange slices in craft stores, but they are so easy to make. After you've turned the oven off one night after cooking, slice up an orange thickly and lay the slices on some baking paper in the hot (but turned off) oven and leave them overnight. In the morning take the slices out of the cold oven and leave them on the side for 24 hours. What you will have at the end are hardened orange slices.
DRY OUT SOME HYDRANGEA HEADS
If you had a hydrangea plant in your garden over summer, go outside and cut off the now red/green/brownish heads and hang them over your cooker (or on a bright, dry window sill) for a few days. The heads will dry out , but won't crumble and shouldn't lose their colour.
BUY SOME CINNAMON STICKS FROM THE SUPERMARKET
You'll find these in the aisle with the herbs. Group them together in bunches of 3 and tie them with some decorative ribbon or twine.
GO FORAGING FOR PINE CONES, STRONG FOLIAGE & BERRIES
The base of your wreath will be made up of foliage to bulk it out. The trick here is to get really strong foliage that won't wilt after a week. A real Xmas door wreath should last about 3 to 4 weeks, so you need foliage that will stand the test of time. I can't say I'm an expert when it comes to foliage names, but look around and see what foliage has thick and strong leaves- nothing that 'flops' when you pick and hold it up basically. Ivy, bay leaves and holly leaves are all good. Hedgerow is best as it's strong and evergreen.
Go for a Sunday walk with a carrier bag and a pair of hand shears and collect your greens. While on your stroll pick up fir cones and collect sprigs of berries for decoration on the wreath.
POP INTO A CRAFT STORE AND BUY A 12" POLYSTYRENE WREATH BASE, A HOT GLUE GUN, SOME XMAS RIBBON AND RED PRE-‐MADE BOWS & TWINE
You'll need a wreath base, a hot glue gun and some decorative elements to complete your wreath. I prefer the polystyrene bases to the wicker or twig ones as they have a larger surface area for you to create a fatter wreath. A polystyrene base should only cost about £2-3.
You will also need a hot glue gun to securely attach all your wreath elements to the base. I use a mini hot-glue gun that you can buy for around a fiver.
Pick a couple of decorative elements like bows and Xmas ribbon. I find the red Xmas velvet bows are particularly attractive on the wreath.
PUTTING YOUR WREATH TOGETHER:
Firstly, loop some twine around your polystyrene base and leave enough twine at the top for your wreath to be securely attached to your door.
Use your foliage to completely cover all the white of the polystyrene base. Make sure your foliage all flows in a clockwise manner so it looks tidy and professional. Distribute the foliage evenly and secure it to the base with the glue gun.
Take your dried hydrangea heads and distribute them evenly on the wreath, facing forwards. Secure with the glue gun.
Add your cinnamon bundles, dried orange slices, fir cones, bows and berries onto the wreath, spreading them out so the same one isn't too close to the other, and there is a level of symmetry.
Once you have glued everything on, gently hold up the wreath and check everything is glued on properly. Hold up the wreath by the twine and check it from every angle - are there any spaces that need filling? Is there any of the white base showing? Fix any problem areas then leave your wreath a couple of hours to completely dry.
Hang your wreath on your front door and enjoy the festive appeal it brings to your home! Here is my wreath on my front door in all It's glory. It is so much more enjoyable knowing you made it yourself and it cost a fraction of a pre-made wreath by someone else.
What would you add on your Xmas wreath? Let me know in the comments section below!
* This post is in collaboration with Swiftcover as part of their #swifthomehacks campaign.