Make your own… WREATH
December 2, 2014
It’s snowing on my blog page, so it must be time to make Christmas decorations or in this case a holiday wreath. I made one today to be auctioned at a fund-raiser for our local Art Museum -NBAM. Most importantly when you’re making a wreath, decide what the aesthetic is going to be, shop to that aesthetic and stick to your plan, deviation will only get you into trouble. That said if you get into trouble along the way and need to adjust your plan… well that’s only human. When I was deciding what my wreath build I knew I wanted it to have a “design” theme, and I have baskets and baskets filled with leftover fabric scraps kept for past jobs, so I dug out as many rich reds and interesting patterned reds as I could find and got to work.
I started with the cheapest shatter resistant ornaments I could find in the sizes I wanted to work with and a “starter wreath”. Note: I thought I wanted balls only (no greenery) but after giving it some thought I knew that plan would involve many more hand-wrapped balls and leave much less room for error. Floral wire and a glue gun rounded out the necessary equipment. I loosely wrapped a ball in fabric and cut away the excess fabric to create a rough circle, from this I cut out the remaining fabrics that would be used on this sized ball. Give your fabric a quick iron if it’s not perfectly smooth. After you have the fabrics cut to the specific ball size, wrap each individually gathering carefully around the stem of the ball. Holding the ball with one had wrap floral wire around your gathered end twice and pull tightly, I found pulling with pliers worked best. Twist the wire to close tightly around the gathered fabric and trim any access fabric. If your fabric feels loose ( and it shouldn’t) use hot glue to secure the wire to the fabric, or anywhere else you feel it needs it.
Be thoughtful when placing colors and textures mix them up and vary the size and shade of neighboring balls. With the long tails of your wires, pull them through the support ring or starter wreath and secure to the back by twisting wires to each other or to the framework of the ring. I think it makes it much easier to establish where your top is and balance colors and number of balls as you go, side to side. I worked on a flat surface and pulled the wreath over the edge of the table to make it easier to feed the wires through and reach them from underneath.
Some puckering is to be expected but do your best to get a smooth top and sides on each of the wrapped balls. Don’t twist the wire too tight as it may break. If it does add new wire and move on as described above. Since you have a plan, you already know if you’re working evenly around the ring, or if – like me – you want heavy at the top tapering off to nothing on the opposite side. I like the bits of greenery poking up between the two sized ornaments, I think it softens the look, and holds it all together visually and still has a bit of tradition to it. If you are up for the challenge, you could just have the greenery showing from the back and have the face of the wreath just balls, or use a ring with no greenery at all. But, be warned this will take quite a bit of wrapping, wiring and securing.
Ultimately I decided on three sizes of balls for my wreath. The smallest – which are not wrapped btw, they are store-bought, as is, sparkly red – filled the gaps between the larger balls and give dimension. I also chose to leave a few of the largest balls uncovered as well for the sparkle. The fabric only look was feeling a bit flat to me. See, we all make adjustments along the way.
Total cost for this wreath was around $85.00 but I did splurge on a new glue gun, so $75.00 or so. If you already have a “pine” wreath, recycle it… you end up seeing so little of it. The ring I bought was 27.00 at the local Micheal’s and the shatter-proof balls were 14.99 a package. I might add a bow, what do you think? Good Luck and Happy Holidays.