Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wreath Tutorial Part 2

I promised a Wreath Tutorial part 2 and here it is…(part 1)

Pottery Barn Silver Bell Wreath
I will be showing you how I made my 2011 Halloween Wreath but keep in mind the same principles apply for any a wreath...any occasion.  

Pottery BarnOutdoor Ornament Pine Wreath
Start with an inspiration.  It can be a wreath, a floral arrangement, a color scheme…. it can be anything really.  It is easy to find great wreaths to serve as an inspiration or to copy*.  I suggest for your first wreath you find one you like and take a picture of it (or print a copy if you find it online) and use it to guide you as you buy supplies and put the wreath together. *Keep in mind that design lifting is fine as long as it is for your own personal use.  Please keep your ethics in check and don't steal someone's design for something you intend to sell.

Pier One Black Wreath
with Ornaments
Where can you find a design?  In RL (real life):  Stores that offer home decor items have a variety of wreaths for sale.  Look at chain stores like Pier One, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma.  They have a variety of wreaths all year and most certainly during the holidays.  Big stores, such as Kohl's, Kmart, and Walmart, usually carry wreaths during the year and especially during the holidays .  Big craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby, always have wreaths for sale and because they have so many, you are likely to find something you like that is at your skill level.  Keep your eye open as you shop and you will find ideas and designs everywhere.

My 2010 Halloween Wreath

Stores that sell wreathes, or wreath supplies, aren't the only source of inspiration.  Public spaces- hotels, business offices, and even upscale stores- are well decorated.  Wreaths and floral arrangements are almost always part of their d├ęcor and can be a good source of inspiration for design, flower choice, or colors.  Don't forget your friends’ and relatives' houses.  You never know when or where you will see something that inspires you so it is helpful to keep your eyes open and your camera ready.  I use my iPhone camera to take shots of inspiring items.

In VL (virtual life): If you don't find anything in the real world that strikes your fancy, look to the Internet.  There are plenty of inspiration sources online.  In fact the problem may very well become how to edit your
Made for my dear friend Barb
choices.  It would be impossible to list all the good online sources and you would probably have a different list than I did.  I have a wreath board on my Pinterest you might start with.  You can drop by to look.  Consider becoming a follower;  I am planning to keep it updated with new designs as the season and holidays change.   

From Kmart
If making an entire wreath from scratch is daunting but you still want something personal on your front door, consider the Semi-Homemade route.  A quick and easy way to get a wreath is to take a pre-made wreath and add a few embellishments.  I found a nice, very full,      

A wreath I leave up all
year.  I simply added a
holiday ornament.
pre-lit River Pine wreath at Kmart for $24.99- add a few flowers, a bow, or glittered pinecones and DONE!  Certainly more expensive than a completely homemade wreath but still reasonable.

Wreaths don't have to be conventional.  
Gum ball wreath from Martha Stewart
Pottery Barn Crystal Wreath (OMG I love this wreath!)
Paper leaves and glittered plastic berries
Martha Stewart Two wreaths together as one.
Some hints to keep in mind:
      • Use an odd number of items: flower blooms, pumpkins, bows, ornaments, etc.  Keeping things at odd numbers keeps it interesting.
      • Think about the color but also the texture of the items you are using.  You want a variety of textures.
      • If you plan to use lights, it is easier to put them on first.
      • You do not have to hot glue everything in place, but if you do, please remember to use newspaper or a silicone mat underneath to protect your work surface.  I've heard that hot glue can be really, really hard to get off of light pine Pergo.  Yeah, a friend told me….
      • If you don't want a permanent wreath, don't glue everything in place.  Instead, you can weave the stems into the wreath base.  This works well with a grapevine base IF the flower stems aren't too think (the sunflowers are a nightmare- I've done it and I ended up picking up flowers and sticking them back in almost daily).  You can use wire to hold the flowers in place temporarily.
      • You might want to "dry fit" the flowers before you add glue.  Play around with the arrangement until you get a design you like, then remove the flowers one at a time and glue them on to the wreath.
      • If the leaves are pretty you can use them in the design or keep them for another project. The leave for all the flowers I used were not worthy- I threw them away. 
      • Do you end up with a thousand glue stings when you are done?  Hit them with a blast from a heat gun and "poof' they are gone.
Once you have a design in mind, buy your supplies and get going.

Wreath Tutorial:
  1. Begin by gathering supplies:
    1. Wreath form: I used grapevine 
    2. Flowers: I used purple and green sunflowers, green hydrangeas and purple mums
    3. Filler: I used plastic skulls and silver glitter.  Other ideas would be ribbon,  bow(s), ornaments, foliage, crystals, monogram, berries, pumpkins, gourds... 
    4. Heavy duty wire cutters
Love this color scheme
    The hydrangeas came on a bush

  • Begin by breaking down the flowers.  Each flower requires something different but the main idea is to get rid of the extra stems and foliage and sometimes breaking the blossoms down into smaller units- depending on the flower and project (I usually cut the bottom row off of poinsettias because they are huge and hydrangeas get split into smaller clusters).
  • The hydrangeas were easy- they came on one bush, had a thin wire inside of a small stems and the foliage started several inches below the bloom. 

Regular wire cutters easily cut the stems
I got all these blossoms from 1 bush of hydrangeas
  • The mums were similar to the hydrangeas.
  • The sunflowers on the other hand... much different.  There are two techniques I would consider: either pop the bloom off the end of the wire or cut the wire about 1-2 inches below the flower.  
    • I chose to pop the bloom off the end but in order to keep the flower together it is important to use hot glue immediately after pulling out the big center wire or you may end up with purple fabric and a fuzzy plastic disc.
Looking at this huge wire dipped in plastic you can
probably guess why I didn't try to cut it.
    • Once the head is popped off the stem you have to be careful handling the bloom until it is glued and the hot glue cools.

    • As you can see in the photo above, there is a small plastic piece that extends from inside the bloom; this "female piece" attaches to the "male piece"- the wire that runs up the stem.  Once the male piece is removed the female piece is all that is holding the flower together….Hmmm isn't that always the way?  I digress….

    • Run a generous bead of glue around the female piece. It doesn't need to be neat- it won't be seen.  Let it cool. 

  • Begin with the biggest blooms first.  Spread them around the wreath.  If you aren't sure of yourself, place them without glue until you like the design and then remove them individually and glue in place. 
  • Put a small amount of hot glue on the end of the stems and push it into the wreath. 
  • Be sure to vary where you place them on the wreath- some on the top, some toward the inside of the circle, and some toward the outer edge/side of the wreath.  Notice that I have done this below.  You don't want the blooms all directly centered on the wreath, facing forward with big smiles on their face.  That doesn't look interesting or professional.

  • Once the big blooms are placed, start filling in with the smaller flowers.  Sometimes I cut the hydrangeas into smaller pieces to fit better. Watch that your colors are varied and well balanced. 

  • It is important to check your wreath as you go to be sure you don't have any unbalanced- too heavy or two skimpy- areas.  I hang the wreath on a door and step back…or, if they kids are handy, I have one of them hold it up.  Look at the wreath from all angles and be sure it is well balanced and looking like you want it to. 

Hanging up so I can check it for balance.
  • Once all the flowers are placed,  add the filler- the skulls. 
    • First they need to be GLITTERIFIED. 
    • I used Martha Stewart Sterling Glitter and Martha's Glitter Glue.
    • I only use Martha Stewart glitter.  Why?  Because her glitter is by far the best glitter for the price and cheaper,-glitters do not sparkle as much. There are other companies making beautiful glitter.  Art Glitter makes a spectacular glitter but it comes in 1/4 ounce jars.  Seriously?!? I buy glitter by the pound.  The silver glitter in the pic above is my actual silver glitter.  I have twice that amount of red, white gold, and orange glitter.  1/4 ounce!?!!? I see other brands coming into the market which seem quite pretty but my love affair with Martha's glitter is just too meaningful.  Cheap craft-grade glitter wont' work so don't bother.  
    • I like to glitter with Martha's Glitter Glue because I like the consistency for the project.  Any craft glue will work.  I've seen many tutorials using Mod Podge with glitter so I tried it…. once….and I hated it.  It is way too thin to hold on to the amount of glitter I like and it takes longer to dry.
  • I use a foam, throw-away brush to paint on glue. 

  • You can either glitter the skull in two stages, letting one side dry before completing the other side or, because the skulls have holes in the bottom, you can stick one end of the skewer into the skull and the other into a piece of styrofoam until dry.  
  • The bottom of the skull won't show so I just glittered the entire thing and sat it on a silicone mat.
  • What different a little glitter makes!

  • Simply add hot glue to the bottom of the skulls and glue onto the wreath.  Keep in mind the rule of using odd numbers of objects and vary the direction they face to keep it interesting.

The picture above is what my wreath looked like until I was putting out the rest of my decorations and found a black glittered "Happy Halloween" sign with no place to go….


1 comment:

  1. Wow these look like amazing diy projects. It is also great time with the holidays just arround the corner.


I love reading your comments...