Nothing invites the holidays into your home like a festive homemade wreath. Bring the wintery scents of the season into your home every time you walk through your front door, like pine, cedar, eucalyptus and more!
Florist maven Jamie Hengartner, from the Toronto-based floral studio Rylea Bloom, has created this easy 5 step guide to create your own wreath. Once you’ve built your base, customize it with its own flourishes — from ornaments to dried citrus and spices to fragrant essential oils. However you choose to decorate your wreath, you can be certain of one thing — the holidays are hangin’ around this season.
The scent of pine and cedar are sure signs of our Canadian winter. With cold temperatures outside, and warm cozy sweaters inside, we welcomed the season with a holiday wreath-making workshop. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. There were eight students, plus me leading the group to unearth their inner creativity.
I also teamed up with Sjoukje Remark, owner of Continuum Wellness and My Essential Routine, to combine essential oils into the wreath making process. The result was a delight for the senses. I brought cedar, pine and dried eucalyptus to create the base for the wreaths. And for décor, I brought cinnamon sticks, preserved apples, preserved oranges and pine cones. Can you imagine the scent in the room? And once Sjoukje set up all her 100% pure essential oils, including her Holiday Spice Aromatherapy Spray, we were all in the festive spirit and feeling rather healthy, too, being surrounded by so many natural elements.
If you think about all the ingredients I just mentioned above, you too can make your own wreath using items that can easily be found in your home or purchased at local hobby stores. And WHY NOT make a wreath over the holidays? It will get you in the holiday spirit and, if you do decide to hang it on your front door — what a meaningful greeting to see and smell every time you and your guests enter your home. With the natural scents, you can consider it a healthy addition to your daily routine.
So, as you ponder this refreshing idea, I’ve laid out a few simple steps to get your wreath-making project off to a great start.
First things first, here’s what you will need:
- Wreath frame.
- Wire or twine (to tie your branches to the frame).
- Hot glue gun (to secure your decorations to the wreath).
- Variety of fresh branches: pine, cedar, fir, eucalyptus are some examples. Don’t be afraid to mix and match. NOTE: The more branches you have the fuller your wreath will be.
- Variety of decorations.
Pro Tip: Pick a theme and colour palette ahead of time. Only bring to the table those decorations that go well together. This way you stay focused on one design, and don’t get distracted by other beautiful things. You can always make another wreath in another colour scheme or theme later.
Purchase a wreath frame from a local craft store. I used a 14” frame made from wire. For your average front door, anywhere between 10” to 18” frames are what you will need. Remember that the larger the frame the more decorations you will need to complete it, so keep your budget in mind when selecting the size.
You will need lots of fresh branches to cover your wreath frame. I would say 20 large branches that can each be cut down into several smaller pieces. What I like to do is make small bouquets (or bundles) of a variety of fresh greens. I took cedar and pine branches and cut them about 8” – 10” in length. Simply bundle about 5 – 6 stems together and secure the bottom stems with wire or tie tightly with twine. For a 14” wreath frame I used 8 “bundles”. If you want your wreath to look fuller, use 10 – 12 bundles.
Pro Tip: You can buy fresh branches at flower shops, Canadian Tire and certain grocery stores!
With all your bundles finished, the next step is to secure each bundle to the frame in a counter-clockwise direction. Hold your first bundle upright (meaning the stems are facing down). Lay your first bundle at 12 o’clock and secure it onto the frame with wire or twine. Lay the next one at approximately 10 o’clock and secure. Then repeat at 8 o’clock, 6 o’clock, etc. until your frame is fully covered and tied to the frame.
Pro Tip: Hold your frame up and give it a little shake. Some branches may fall out of place. That’s your cue to take a little bit more twine or wire and secure those loose branches tightly onto the frame.
This is the fun part! With your branches firmly secured on the frame, it’s now time to decorate. This is where your creative juices flow. My simple recommendation at this point is “less is more”. Often times you start decorating, and it’s tough to know when to stop! Just remember the “less is more” rule and you can never really go wrong.
Pro Tip: Before you start hot-gluing your decorations to your wreath, lay out the décor on the wreath and move pieces around until you find a “look” that you are happy with. Then, grab your cell phone and take a photo of it. This way you can remove all the pieces and begin gluing them one by one. Instead of relying on your memory, you can now refer to your photo to confidently know where each decoration should be glued!
Hang your wreath in a location where everyone can admire it. For maintenance: spray the branches with water once a week to keep in the moisture. Also try spraying or rubbing some essential oils on the branches to enhance the scent and keep you feeling healthy and festive.