Growing up in the north, I spent many holiday seasons watching my mom, aunts, and grandmother make the perfect holiday wreath or garland that would aid in ushering in the beauty of the holiday season. I loved gathering the greenery from the pine trees near our home. I would wander through the snow and take in the beauty of the woods. The stillness of a snow-covered forest is magical. Though the adventure of gathering wreath material left me with slightly chilled toes, we came back enjoyed the fire, dried our snow gear, and made hot chocolate.
Once we were warm again, the fun of making a wreath began. I remember getting frustrated with the sap on my fingers and the glue guns that were involved with the making of a wreath. I figured there had to be an easier way to make this happen.
Now, older and not living in a place where I can walk out my back door and gather the materials for a proper wreath, I have tried to find a way to keep this simple tradition still a reality in our home. There are tons of wreath workshops and DIYs out there to make your own, but I wanted to share how I have learned taught myself to make a wreath for our own home over the years. I wanted to simplify the process so it felt easy, doable, and approachable, no matter where you live and what may be available to you. The good news is that between a good trip to Trader Joe’s and the Farmer’s Market you most likely will have the goodies you need without much out of your pocket.
Here is what you will need to gather:
- 1 Grapevine Wreath of whatever size you would like your wreath. Mine was Trader Joe’s for $3 and 9 Inches
- A bunch of Christmas Greenery. This most likely will include Blue Spruce or Frasier Fir branches. You can sometimes gather them where you purchase your tree for free. I purchased two bundles of greens from Trader Joe’s that had a great mix. You want a mix of textures from sturdy bristles to soft ones.
- A small bunch of eucalyptus (bunches of it at Trader Joe’s are $3) or an herb of some kind (rosemary is awesome)
- A small bunch of bittersweet (we have some in our yard, but I have seen it everywhere from Whole Foods to the Farmer’s Market)
- A good pair of strong scissors
To make the wreath, it is pretty simple. To begin, I always trim up the grapevines a little to make it a little tamer if needed before I begin placing any greens.
- After giving your wreath a little trim, I start making clippings of the densest evergreens I plan to use. I then stuff the ends into the grapevine. The bristles and the vines usually connect really easily and hold very well. The reason I begin with the denser greens is that they will create a strong foundation to hold in all the other greens. The strength of the bristles will hold well when pushed into the grapevines and they will create a great grip for smaller and more flimsy greens that are added. These greens are the ones you will want the most of because they will create your base and fill the wreath the best.
- As you start placing the greens, you will want to choose a center point. From the center point, you will move in a circular motion around the wreath. You will want to keep the same sweeping motion around the wreath. This will create a more unified, purposeful look as well as make it look more finished at the end.
3. After you have placed the densest branches into the wreath, you can start placing the thinner and more flimsy branches from the greens you have collected. They still are evergreen, but they aren’t as sturdy and dense as the ones you just placed. I like to space them out throughout the wreath to vary the color and texture. The evergreens should be the base of the wreath because these will stay present on the wreath no matter the chill outside. You will lose some of the other items most likely over the weeks leading into the holiday whether because of weather or because of birds eating them or using it make nests. Thus, it is important to make sure to fill your wreath with the evergreens more than anything else. If you are keeping it inside you can fill with other things, but outdoor wreaths weather best with evergreens.
4. After getting the evergreens in fully, I began using bits of eucalyptus all around the wreath. These pieces will dry up in the coming weeks, but they look beautiful right now and also add more fragrance. Another option here would be rosemary rather than eucalyptus if you couldn’t find it. The rosemary has an evergreen feeling and the smell is very “holidayesque”. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to use in bouquets and such this time of year.
5. To complete the wreath, place the bittersweet over your center point you designated at the beginning to create a focal point in the wreath. The berries are held very easily by those sturdy evergreen bristles without much force and should stay put very easily.
6. The final thing I did was trim and readjust a few pieces. I left some of it a little wild because I love a wreath to have a little wild left to it. The wreath should easily hang to your door with a nail because the vines on the back act as the perfect hanging mount. I simply set it on the nail and it hasn’t moved at all since.
There are tons of ways you could create a wreath with these simple materials. You could even do a half filled wreath if you don’t have enough greens. I encourage you to get creative. By gathering some greens and a grapevine wreath, you should have all you need to make a very festive wreath for yourself for not much money and no glue gun or bow tieing involved. If you feel extra generous it may be a fun gift for a neighbor or for a hostess gift at a holiday party you are attending.
Have you ever made a wreath before? What are some tricks you have?