Photography: Stephen Lewis1 of 13
How to Make a Wreath
Making a stunning Christmas wreath is simple, just gather the right supplies, seasonal embellishments, and a large dose of holiday spirit.
With two basic techniques -- wiring materials to a metal form or applying them to a rounded straw or foam base -- you can make an infinite variety of Christmas wreaths, from greenery wreaths meant to last through the holiday season to heirloom wreaths that can be treasured for years.
Photography: Stephen Lewis3 of 13
Making Wire Wreaths
Wire frames are the most versatile supports for wreaths. Widely available in a variety of shapes, they're sturdy enough for heavy materials like evergreen boughs and citrus fruits. A single-wire frame is best for a thin, delicate wreath; for a lush-looking wreath, start with a double-wire frame.
Attach floral wire on a paddle to the crossbar of a double-wire wreath form of any shape. For this wreath, we used Noble fir, but you can use other evergreen cuttings.
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Lay a small bundle of greenery on the form, and wrap the wire tightly around the stems three times. Do not cut the wire. Add another bundle, overlapping the previous one by half; wrap wire around stems. Continue adding bundles until you reach the starting point.
Tuck wire under form, secure with a knot, and cut. When the entire form is covered, tie off the wire, leaving a few extra inches before cutting the end. To make a hanger, form the end of the wire into a loop and twist it around itself.
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Martha shows you how to make a monogram wreath that will add a personal touch to your front door this holiday season.
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Intersperse clusters of holly, jingle bells, pinecones, fruits, or other embellishments with the greenery bundles.
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For added shimmer, spray-paint a portion of the greenery gold or silver before making the bundles. This will also extend the wreath's life.
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Making Straw Wreaths
Padding a wire wreath with straw or hay creates a full, rounded base that can support a variety of materials. Leaves, dried flowers, or even clamshells can then be pinned or glued onto the soft form -- although a straw wreath is so beautiful, you may want to hang it on its own.
You'll need several armfuls of straw, which is readily available in bales at garden centers, riding stables, and some farmers' markets.
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Attach whatever materials to the form you wish. For this wreath, we used 350 laurel leaves (laurel branches are available at florists' shops). Mist the leaves with water. Make an 18-inch round straw-wreath form.
With 1 1/4-inch floral pins, attach leaves (near their stems) to the straw form in a row. Attach another row of leaves, overlapping half of the first row. Continue until form is completely covered. Mist wreath, and wrap tightly with plastic for at least 4 hours; this will flatten the leaves around the form. Remove plastic before hanging.
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How to Hang a Wreath on a Wall
Display your festive wreath on your wall with a few simple steps. Create a floral wire loop. For wire or twig wreath forms, secure loop at back of form; for straw or Styrofoam forms, pin loop at back. Hang the wreath on a sturdy nail or hook.
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How to Hang a Wreath on a Door or Molding
Spread holiday joy by displaying your wreath on a door or molding, for all to see. To avoid creating unsightly holes in walls or woodwork, suspend wreath from the top of a door or molding with either a length of sturdy ribbon or monofilament (the monofilament's packaging should list how much weight it will support).
To hang, cut a piece of ribbon (at least 3 inches wide) or monofilament long enough so that, when the ribbon or monofilament is doubled, the wreath will hang at the desired height. Loop the ribbon or monofilament around the back of the wreath form (or pin it, in the case of Styrofoam or straw forms).
If using ribbon, fold the edges over 1/2 inch, and secure to the top of the door or molding with a few flat, heavy-duty thumbtacks (available at hardware stores). If using monofilament, knot the ends of the doubled-up string and use a tack to secure the string to the top of the door or the molding. To hang particularly heavy wreaths with ribbon, first hang with monofilament to support the bulk of the weight, and then attach the ribbon as a decorative detail.
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How to Hang a Wreath on a Mirror
A mirror provides an elegant, refractive backdrop for Christmas wreaths. Wrap metal wreath forms with floral tape to prevent them from scratching mirrors on which they're hung. To hang, follow the door or molding instructions on the previous slides, tacking the ribbon or monofilament to the back of the mirror's frame.
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Using everything from mistletoe to gingerbread, the types of holiday wreaths you can make, display, and cherish are endless.