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12/19/2012

CHRISTMAS WREATH HOW-TO


OH WHAT FUN IT IS TO CREATE!

I created this fun snowy mantle for a client. 
 So, since I'm up to my neck in Christmas, I thought it would be a good time to share a little tutorial . Her wreaths were a little bedraggled, so I removed all the picks and bows down to the green...
and made this for her

but if you are making one from scratch, here is what you will need:


20" (or larger) artificial green pine wreath
3 red glitter hydrangeas
2 red poinsettias with sparkly centers
2 glittered pinecone picks
2 glittered berry picks
6 Frosty white pine picks
2 Plump pine picks with little pinecones
2 gilded leaf stems
2 multi branched frosty rose hip stems (or other berry)
3" Christmas wired ribbon
1 clip on Cardinal

So, the above list is what I'm using, you can adjust to make your own. Also, I chop up silk stems - if they branch off, I divide it so I can use it more often on the wreath. So the rose hips stem, was just one stem with multiple branches and I cut them into pieces to use over the wreath.

I started with the gilded eucalyptus

one on each side

and a pine stem with pinecones

one on each side

and I'm just tucking them in at this point until I get them where I want them
then I will fasten them at the back with wire or pipe cleaner

Time to add a bow -
how about a how-to on making your own big juicy bows? Kind of a tutorial within a tutorial...
You will need 3" wired ribbon, and a 6-8" piece of wire or pipecleaner. Using the ribbon, make a loop about 1/2 as wide as you want the complete bow to be.

  If you have 1 sided ribbon, you will need to give it a 1/2 twist so the pattern stays face up. Hold this together with your thumb and forefinger and make another loop the same size.
 Give it a 1/2 twist again to keep the pattern side up, and repeat to the other side.
  Do the loop, 1/2 twist and repeat until you have the center loop and three loops on each side.

 Cut off excess ribbon, and then cut a long piece for streamers and add to the bottom of the loops.
Still holding it tight, take the pipecleaner or piece of wire and wrap the part you have been holding tightly, cinching it in, like a waist, as tight as you can and twist the wire to hold.
It should look something like this.
Starting in the middle loop, twist loop and open it up. Go to the next loop and twist it the other way and open it up.  Do this to all the loops, alternating directions you twist them.

Tie it onto the center top of the wreath, like so..., and then play with the loops until you have it the way you want (that's the benefit of wired ribbon). Your first one will probably look weird, but practice makes nearly perfect, and you will get better at it.

Once the bow is added, I kind of tuck the ends a little into the wreath,
then started with the poinsettias and the hydrangeas.

I found a 'bush' of red glittered silk hydrangeas, and another 'bush' of red poinsettias with sparkly centers, some berries and pine cones at Michaels - 50% off .
You can use any flower or color you like. My client wanted 'red'.
With wire cutters, I cut the flower stems near the base, leaving long enough stems to tuck into the wreath. The bushes had just enough flowers to give me 3 hydrangeas and 2 poinsettias per wreath. (Did I mention I'm making two?). 
 I placed one of each together a little further down on one side, under the pine stem

and then the remaining two hydrangeas and 1 pointsettia
a little to the left of center at the bottom of the wreath and up the opposite side.
Adding contrast is important, so we will add a holly leaf with white border and pinecone with white tips to the outside of the poinsettia

contrast doesn't always mean color
a change in size, texture, etc. can also bring in a contrast - like these glittered berries
tucked in near the outside of the poinsettia

I also found this 'frosty' pine bush with multiple stems. It provided good contrast and I snipped the stems to separate them and inserted 3 on each side.

Notice how the wreath is not exactly the same on each side. That's fine, because its an asymmetrical design and doesn't have to be a mirror image, as long as its balanced in the end.

Remember I am working with items that have wire at their center. I can make them do what I want! I often use the wire in the wreath tips to anchor or position components. It's okay to bend them around a stem where they will not be seen.
 I will have some of the stems move out from the wreath, so I have dimension and its not flat and boring.
Next, an airier cedar stem
with small red berries, near the top by the bow
and then this amazing stem of frosty rosehips,
 which I will separate into clumps wherever there is a branch off from the main stem
and add to each side near the bow

and the final element - a little redbird to perch and balance out the red flowers on the other side.
Here he is sitting among the rosehips

not bad for a remake of an old wreath


DOUBLE DONE!
Merry Christmas all!
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