Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Wreath How To!

I am going to attempt to show YOU!! how to make your very own Christmas Wreath. I make the wreaths out of Fir Boughs that I cut myself from our own back yard. We are very fortunate to live in the country and we have access to our neighbours wood land. Always check with the land owner and get permission before cutting fir. I have also noticed that you can conveniently purchase the boughs from fresh tree stands or tree farms for a price. I however prefer the free do it yourself option. Key word being free.. It also gives me an excuse to have an Adventure with my son Jacob see here to read about our adventure in the woods.
Step One
Find the fir trees...check
Sect Branches and determine where to cut... When making the decision where to cut, I always count at least three sections down on the branch.. It very much depends on the branch. If the branch is full cut as far down as you can, you can use the bottom section as filler when working with branches that are not so full.

From the tip of the branch showing where I would make the cut.
The bough.. this is a nice full branch. I make the wreaths double sided, and make as many as 20 wreaths depends, sometimes more if requested.
Step 2 get your materials ready...Check

Wreath Wire Frame... I have a local metal shop make these for me costs $15 fro 2 dozen. They can be purchased at a wreath making company as well. I also ask Friends and Family to save the wire for me and I will re use the wire frames.

Wreath Wire.. This can be purchased at your local craft store. relatively inexpensive.. tip.. I buy it after Christmas and take advantage of the boxing day or end of season sales...

Pruners (snips). We use these for pruning our shrubs as well these can be purchased almost everywhere.. Home Depot, Wal marts..ect.. They range in Price from $8- $30.
Step 3, Get your Wire Started...Check
You will need a lead of wire and I would recommend that you tie something to the end because the wire can go missing among the wreath... You will need the lead to be at least 9" you will use this to finish off the wreath and to make the loop... to hang your wreath. To start the wire simply wrap around the frame twice. With the roll of wire in the center of the frame.

Step 4... Choose the Boughs... Check

I separate the boughs into two sections
  1. To use on the top or face of the wreath. (top)
  2. To use on the back of the wreath (bottom)
The picture above would be considered TOP.. As it is a full bough.

The picture above would be considered the Bottom. It is noticeable in Rough shape.. Any bought that is not full or is rough looking will be place in the Bottom pile to be used on the back of the wreath.
In the picture above I am showing where to clip or snip a bough, when it is a larger fuller branch, You make the cut (shown above) and then place the bottom portion behind a bough that is not quite as full (Shown Below)
Not so full bough(above) paired with a lower section of a fuller branch (below)

Step 5..Lets get this Wreath started...Check.

To start the wreath (You always begin with the top/face of the wreath) select 3 top branches, and hold in your hand place on the wreath with the bottom of the boughs where the wire has been started.

Wrap the wire around three times
Pulling tight on the wire. You want it snug.
Your wire should now be on the out side of the frame.

Step 6...Flip..Check

You want to now flip the wreath over to the Back-side of the wreath and then choose three boughs from the bottom pile.

Continue the same way wrapping the wire around three times pulling tight.

When you are finished you will flip to the front and work from the front to the back.
Here is a photo of the second set of boughs being placed on the front of the wreath. (below)
Step 7. Keep the ends trimmed.. Check

I keep the ends of the boughs trimmed as I work. If find it is a neater finish. see picture below showing where I make the cut
Before... (above)
removing the ends...(above)
After..(above) nice and neat..

Step 8..Lets Wrap it Up.Check

Finishing the wreath can be a bit tricky and can take a couple of tries to get it right. When I get close to the end(see below) I start making the boughs a bit fuller on the front of the wreath adding one or two more boughs to each bunch.. You have to be careful not to get the wire caught up in the wreath and pull down other branches.
Step 9. Tie one..check

When you get to the end you want to leave a tail of wire the same length as the lead of wire, you want to tie a not all all the way to the frame of the wire( or as close as you can get to the boughs). You will want to hold the wires up and spin the wreath to combine the wire. You will then want to create a loop simply take each wire and wrap around the frame.
Step 10 Mark the loop. with a piece of colourful ribbon, fabric, paper.. Trust me you can loose the loop in the wreath. ( see photo above)

Step 11..Choose your Bow ..Check
I buy the Bows at the Dollar store ( I cheat a little) If you are crafty and make bows go for it they will look great on your wreath.

I have to vamp up the Dollar store Bows because they will not hold up to the elements such as Wind... I simply reinforce the bow with wreath wire and wrap it around the wreath frame making sure to put the wire underneath the boughs.

And secure it in the back...
Taaaadaaa.. Finished product.. At the this point you can trim the wreath, but I prefer to have them a little wild!!!

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