Make your own holiday wreath for that personal touch

By Mary Fran McClure
WSU Chelan/Douglas County Master Gardener

Holiday wreath that includes Douglas fir, western red cedar, holly, Oregon grape, bearberry, snowberry frames Connie Mehmel.
Connie Mehmel shows off her wreath that includes Douglas fir, western red cedar, holly, Oregon grape, bearberry, snowberry and two she can’t identify; someone else at the greens party she attended contributed the big green seedpods and long narrow leaves. – Provided photo/WSU Master Gardeners
Mary Fran McClure
Mary Fran McClure – WSU Extension Chelan/Douglas County Master Gardener – photo by Don Seabrook, Wenatchee World

With that large Thanksgiving feast now a memory, perhaps getting out and cutting some greens for a wreath-making party are in order. Making your own holiday wreath isn’t complicated or expensive, and most of us have access to greenery, whether pine, cedar, fir or other evergreens such as holly, privet or Oregon grape.

I wrote about wreath making in this column nine years ago, so perhaps a few readers have made it a tradition. It’s an enjoyable project with family or friends.

For supplies, start with a sturdy wire frame wreath sold at craft stores or make your own using grapevines or heavy wire. Pruners, a wire cutter, gloves and paddle wire are the other essentials. Paddle wire is a continuous length of wire wrapped around a paddle, making it easy to wrap around your greenery and wreath base to hold everything in place. Craft stores have paddle wire; I like the 22- to 26-gauge wire because it’s bendable yet sturdy.

In addition to branches or stems of greenery, you might want to accent them with pinecones, dried or fake flowers or red berries. Holiday ornaments are another possibility. Other considerations include citrus, apples or pomegranates. Limit your accents, though.

Creating your wreath is a good outdoor or garage project, where you can spread out a tarp with ample space to lay out your greens.

First, form a large sturdy loop of doubled wire for hanging your creation and attach it firmly to the frame. With pruners, cut greenery in 6- to 9-inch lengths and have batches ready to add as you begin building your wreath. Anchor the paddle wire end to your wreath frame anywhere in the circle and begin combining little bunches of greenery and laying them against your frame. Wrap wire around it all to hold in place and continue adding more little bundles of greenery. Be sure to place all plant material in the same direction, with each bundle overlapping the last one.

Fill out the entire circle with your background greens, then add another layer that might be more greenery filling in sparse areas, if needed. When you’re happy with the fullness of the wreath, cut the wire and secure it by bending it around the frame a couple of times.

Time to stand back and take a good look at your creation. You can easily tuck in more greens if they’re needed.

Next, add your accent pieces, whether a big, red ribbon bow or accents from suggestions I gave earlier. Don’t overdo your accents, as usually one focal group will be most pleasing.

I have combined strings of tiny lights wound around the wreath for nighttime interest. If an electrical outlet isn’t nearby, you can buy battery-powered strings of lights.

Proudly hang your wreath on or near your front door or other area where it gives festive holiday cheer for you and visitors. You might just decide to make several wreaths for friends. Better yet, invite a small group to combine their greenery and possibilities and throw a party for wreath making.

No matter how you do it, it will enliven your holiday spirit.