Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wreath-ed in ivy

As promised, I'm detailing the method I used to make a wreath this Christmas.
I should start by explaining that I took a day class last year where I did my first ever floristry. I made a wreath and a table decoration under the watchful eye of a professional.
This year, I showed my Mum what to do, half remembering and half making it up as I went along.
You're getting a refined version of that second method, so although my wreath turned out pretty well, you may want to supplement my instructions with YouTube videos!

Disclaimer out of the way, I'll start by listing materials.

1 Oasis ring (I bought mine from ebay but florists and craft shops often stock them)
1 pair of secateurs and/or sturdy scissors
Some string
Plenty of greenery, consisting of 2 main types;
 - Thick, bushy foliage for the base - I used Conifer branches for mine
 - Pretty greenery like holly, ivy, anything with berries, etc.
Decorations - these can be baubles, orange slices, apples, bows, tinsel, pine cones or anything that takes your fancy
Glitter/metallic sprays (optional)
Old towels to work on
Florists wire
Green florist tape

Once you've cut your green plants, soak them, if possible, for 24hrs in a cool place. This helps to prolong their lifespan in the wreath

Then, lay everything out within easy reach.
To prepare your oasis ring, soak it completely in water, this gives the plants something to drink!
Then, with the seam in the ring towards the bottom, tie a loop of string around the top and pull tight, so that the string cuts into the oasis. This will be where the wreath hands from.
 Next, Trim the corners off the oasis ring with a knife. It doesn't need to be very sharp as the oasis is so soft. You're looking to give the ring a curved top so that the finished wreath looks thick and bushy, not square.
 Now you can start on the green bits! pull out some of the bushy base plants and find the end of a branch. Take a piece off about 5 inches or so long and trim the leaves from the stem.
 Push the stem into the oasis so that the piece of tree lays almost flat on the oasis. Repeat on each side of the ring to make one row, all going in the same direction. Move down the ring about 1 inch and do the same again for row 2.
Every so often, stop and check for gaps. look at the wreath from all angles and hold it up by the string, you shouldn't be able to see ANY oasis - if you leave gaps it'll look tired and thin.
Keep going all the way around and pretty soon you'll have something that looks like this!

Now comes the fun part - the decoration! You should think about the colours and shapes you want now, and try playing with some of the seasonal bits and pieces you got together before. If you have only a few of one thing, you should think about where to place them. Objects like fruit and bows look better if they're balanced left to right or top to bottom.

I decided I wanted to make it look like I'd wrapped holly around my wreath, so I too several short pieces and pinned them diagonally across the wreath. Because the holly has a thick stem, it can become tricky to get it in and keep it in the oasis. So, I took some of the florist wire and wrapped it around the piece of ivy. I then covered this in florist tape and pushed the end into the oasis. If it's long enough, the oasis can be wrapped around the ring, once it's poked through on the far side. This makes sure your decoration doesn't go anywhere once it's hanging up!
 To secure the loose ends I used a bent piece of wire like a hair pin.
You can use the wire in the same way to add other decorations. I used orange slices and cinnamon quills on mine. If you tie a ribbon in a bow, you can use wire on the back of the bow to secure it. For baubles, push a twist of wire into the ball and use the rest to push into the oasis. Pine cones can be secured by wrapping wire around the last few rows of spikes.
Finally, I took some of the ivy berries I'd collected and prayed them gold with a waterproof paint. These were wrapped with wire as before, and pushed in as a clump at the centre top of the wreath.

And that's about it!
I'd urge you to keep holding the wreath up to see what it'll look like on the wall or door, and to remember that minimalistic isn't in the Christmas spirit - keep it thick and full of colour and decoration!

I'd love to see you come up with if you do make one yourself!


  1. Oh. My. Word! This is BEAUTIFUL! MUCH better than anything Kirsite Allsopp could make. You put her to SHAME!

  2. You are officially my favourite person in the whole world now. :)

  3. Would you like to come over and make me one?

  4. Oh that's gorgeous!

    I now feel all inspired to make one. I probably won't. I will keep saying I will and then suddenly it will be Christmas Eve and I'll wonder where all the time went!

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