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Project

Bittersweet Autumn Wreath

Introduction

This wreath was built on a 24-inch double-wire wreath form. Finished, it measures more than 30 inches across. To determine the size of the wreath form you'll need, measure the width of your door and subtract six inches. Your wreath form should be no bigger than this number. Hang it from a small brass screw on a piece of strong, clear monofilament.

Materials

  • Vines (pick your own or buy from a florist)
  • Fresh bittersweet, available at florists
  • 22-gauge floral wire
  • Similar 24" double-rail wreath frame
  • Small brass screw
  • Strong, clear monofilament in 8 lb
  • Pruners (model 2 from Felco)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Cut 10- to 15-inch-long pieces of bittersweet. Gather them into bundles. For a 24-inch wreath form, we used 24 bundles with about 5 branches each. For smaller wreath forms, use fewer branches in each bundle. Branches should be as fresh as possible (if cutting from your own garden, do so on the day you'll make the wreath). Old branches won't be malleable and will lose berries.

  2. Step 2

    You can use either floral wire on a paddle or a roll of 20- to 24-gauge wire (available at hardware stores) to affix the bundles to the form. Attach the wire to a crossbar of the wreath form.

  3. Step 3

    msl_oct06_wreathht.jpg

    Lay a bundle on the top of the form, and wrap the wire tightly around the stems three times. Do not cut the wire.

  4. Step 4

    Add another bundle so that its top overlaps the bottom half of the previous bundle; wrap wire around its stems. Continue adding branch bundles until you've covered the frame.

  5. Step 5

    Tuck wire under form; secure with a knot, and cut. Trim wreath as desired.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, October 2006

Reviews (23)

  • 26 Sep, 2012

    How about a nice photo of the wreath in a large size by the instructions????

  • 16 Jan, 2009

    This wreath is beautiful, but I would caution readers to beware of what they pick. Asitic bittersweet, the most common of bittersweets, is an invasive vine on several New Enlgand states' invasive species lists. Picking the fruit is particularly unadvisable as the fruits drop and are further distributed. Alternately, try native or other non-invasive greenery in your holiday decorating such as winterberry, native holly, nd cedar. Check what should be growing n your neighborhood. Happy Holidays!

  • 13 Oct, 2008

    Bittersweet is highly toxic to cats. One of my cats "tasted" a berry and spit it out. We nearly lost him. Two stomach pumpings, several heart stimulants and three nights at the vets. The vet told me that only 8 berries would be fatal to a human! I won't bring it near the house as long as we have animals.

  • 11 Oct, 2008

    Make sure you are using the American bittersweet vine.

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    The wreath is lovely but too large for the door.

  • 10 Oct, 2008

    If you'd like to have a more eco-friendly wreath you might like to consider using e.g. straw or twigs to make the wreath form and instead of using floral wire consider using linen thread.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Try using pyracantha berries in your wreath. The bright orange berries should give you a similar look.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Use silk and plastic bittersweet from the craft store, but it sure can't beat the real thing!

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Bittersweet Vine is an invasive plant in New England, and is actually illegal to grow and propagate . Please don't use it for your wreathes.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Bittersweet Vine is an invasive plant in New England, and is actually illegal to grow and propagate . Please don't use it for your wreathes.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Bittersweet Vine is an invasive plant in New England, and is actually illegal to grow and propagate . Please don't use it for you wreathes.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    A warning for those with young children... These berries drop off everywhere and can be toxic if ingested. I used them indoors one year and could not keep up with the berries that dropped and seemed to migrate through my home. Maybe in another ten years...

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    A warning for those with young children... These berries drop off everywhere and can be toxic if ingested. I used them indoors one year and could not keep up with the berries that dropped and seemed to migrate through my home. Maybe in another ten years...

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    I have used bittersweet as a fall decoration three years ago and I still regret it. This wreath has the potential of spreading seeds in your garden which grow into a very invasive and difficult to eradicate plant. Use with caution!

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Here we go again, no zoom available on any of the photos to see details. AARRGGHH!

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    I have bittersweet vines in some of my fences. I think I will try this project!

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Use anything BUT real Chinese bittersweet! OUr eastern forest is being smothered by this invasive pest. I know it's beautiful--I loved it too, until I saw what it does to trees in just two seasons. Birds love the berries

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    I agree with sass3. I got lured into planting bittersweet as being great for overwintering birds, but that stuff is nigh impossible to get rid of, it is coming up everywhere and climbs in nearby trees. Not a good vine to have.
    Erica in Michigan

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    This is beautiful. I'd think if you don't have bittersweet, go to Michaels or a Hobby Lobby and pick something else out that you like. Yes, it would be nice if the picture was bigger.

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    I am not sure that bittersweet is a shrub that is in northern Idaho. I haven't seen any thing like it. Do you know of a substitute that would be good?

    I LOVE AUTUMN!!!

  • 9 Oct, 2008

    Photo too small !!!!

  • 7 Dec, 2007

    This wreath is beautiful, but I would caution readers to beware of what they pick. Asitic bittersweet, the most common of bittersweets, is an invasive vine on several New Enlgand states' invasive species lists. Picking the fruit is particularly unadvisable as the fruits drop and are further distributed. Alternately, try native or other non-invasive greenery in your holiday decorating such as winterberry, native holly, nd cedar. Check what should be growing n your neighborhood. Happy Holidays!

  • 7 Nov, 2007

    HELLO!
    This was one excellent wreath, buying all of the materials is so much cheaper than going to one of the local up-scale stores. It's also is a lot of fun to make things yourself then to buy, it has mroe meaning and you will remember the good times you had when you take your autumn decorations the next year! It looks although it will last but I can't be sure!