Sunday, November 22, 2009

Design and make a Modern Christmas Wreath

The hot glue gun is plugged in. I am sitting at my dining room table surrounded by a variety of materials - silk and polyester leaves, flowers, cinnamon sticks, seashells, tiny pine cones and gum nuts, faux berries and stems of crystal beads. Bare twiggy garlands await embellishment. I have a design idea in my head and a colour scheme - pink roses teamed with mauve berries and silver leaves, a departure from the usual red, gold and green one associates with Christmas, it is a more modern interpretation of the festive garland. The finished wreath would look good in my girl's room or perhaps I should display it outside over the white garden bench which sits outside the front window of my home to welcome visitors who arrive at my home over the Christmas season. It may even look good on the door of my Indonesian cabinet. It will go where it looks best, not in the formal living room where my tree is located which has a more traditional atmosphere with the piano and rolled arm couches and is better suited to a more traditional decorating scheme. As a homemaker I do enjoy making these decorating decisions, especially at Christmas when I want my home to look extra special, when we will welcome others and extend gracious hospitality.

Please join me as I pick up the glue gun and learn how simple it is to create your own wreath to decorate your home!

The first step is to glue leaves onto the wreath base. The leaves I am using came from a long garland purchased from a discount store. I did not buy this to string over the top of a cabinet. I liked the variegated colours and different shades of the leaves which I ripped off and used as the background for building my design upon. They only need a dab of hot glue, overlapping them as I work around the perimeter, alternating the green leaves with the silvery, purple ones.

The other elements I have chosen to incorporate into my design are sitting in a little mound - I take different roses out of my 'flower box' - will I use cream or pink or both? I hold them up against the wreath and place them next to the other materials - I want to know whether the combination will be pleasing to the eye. I try different arrangements and when I am satisfied I start to attach the roses and cinnamon sticks which will be the main features of this wreath.

I have worked out what will feature on the top and base of the wreath and commenced my design. Dried moss and a pine cone are added in. I then start to build the design for the bottom of the wreath. Onto the moss I will glue an extra rose using the 'rule of threes' that many floral decorators use. Peeking out from under the roses are the smaller items that 'set the roses off' - green silk ivy leaves, tiny shells with pinkish tones, a star anise. Next I start to poke in the mauve twigs of berries which will partner the silvery leaves. These berries will work themselves up around the wreath, as if they were twining around a branch, a reflection of how climbing plants are seen in the natural setting. The berries are wired and I can place them into position and adjust them before I add a tiny dab of glue behind the berry to secure it.

I have also decided to use a few gold ivy leaves for contrast. They have silvery veins. If you do not have gold or silver leaves simply give plain green polyester leaves a sheen with gold or silver spray paint. Do not coat them completely with the paint - just a quick spray gives a very pleasing result. I have used silver paint on the leaf which peeks out from under the gold ivy.

I turn my attention to the top of the wreath. I have chosen a starfish to be the feature - this is a decorative element which works in well with the shells. A tiny wooden gold star is glued into its centre and self-adhesive silver letters spell out 'joy'. This is the finishing touch and is attached after I have added in the glittery silver leaves and ferns which add sparkle to this garland.

This is a close up the finished wreath. I have hung it from the door of my wooden cabinet to take this shot. If I was going to have the wreath on display here I would consider using silver sprays of leaves, silver pine cones and faux purple berries to surround purple glass candle holders to decorate the top of the cabinet. Can you imagine a table set with a white or silver tablecloth and sparkling purple glasses and matching napkins? As I have already decided upon a green, white and silver colour scheme for my table I will not be using this design - I just wanted to give you the idea if you are drawn to such colour schemes or perhaps your soft furnishings are berry shades. Choose Christmas decorations that work with, rather than against the overall scheme of your room.

If you want to add a little final flourish why not hang a decoration from the wreath? This sweet quirky little fairy (or is she an angel?) was a Christmas gift from my son, she is quite different from the other angels which are trimming the tree and I like to display her on her own. I thought her dress and bouquet complemented the wreath. A sheer purple ribbon is used to hang the wreath - on the inside of the door is a small hook, the wreath is attached here before closing the door.

For now, my modern wreath hangs outside over the white garden bench at the front entrance to my home. Its silvery green leaves complement the foliage of the cedar and cypress trees which frame the entrance. It is a smaller wreath and right now I am adding the finishing touches to a much bigger gold wreath which combines both modern and traditional design elements. I hope to have this completed soon and will show you the finished result. In the next post I will show you how I constructed my more traditional 'Joy of Family' garland and share some simple ideas for wreaths which will ensure you do not burn the ends of your fingers - the hazard of using a hot glue gun - ouch! But if you want to do some serious crafting and attach lots of heavier decorations this is a tool you cannot go without! Just a couple of tips, buy a heavier duty one from the hardware store and hide it from the man in your life or it may disappear into the recesses of his garage or workshop, never to be seen again - I must buy my husband his own glue gun sometime!

With Love and Joy,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this Ann. Since I've never endeavoured to make one, I never knew about the layering, so have found this very useful (in fact I think a trip to spotlight on my next trip to the city is something I want to do!)
    This makes such a beautiful welcome for your visitors!


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