One of the things I enjoy doing most in Autumn and on the run up to Christmas is spending an afternoon with a good friend (and a glass of wine and some chocolate) making wreaths and talking non-stop. This year, we managed it only once before Lockdown 2 and for the next few weeks we are going to try to replicate this as best we can on Zoom. She asked for instructions and here they are in case they might be useful for you.
From Dried Materials
After taking part in more than a few wreath workshops and getting tangled up in willow and hazel, here is the most straightforward way I have found of making a wreath.
Materials needed: a wire wreath frame 10″ or 12″, florist’s binding reel wire, sustainably gathered moss, ingredients to decorate your wreath.
(If you are interested in buying any of these in a kit, take a look at the home page and email me: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Making a mossed wreath base.
Whether you are making a wreath with dried or fresh elements, steps 1-3 are the same.
Step 1 : attach the binding wire to the base by twisting it around the outer hoop of the wreath frame.
Step 2: shape a handful of moss into a fat sausage shape and attach to the wreath base using the attached reel wire to bind it – you wrap the wire round and round it, moving in and out of the loop. Each time you do this, give the reel wire a small tug to make sure it secures the moss tightly enough. Leave around an inch or so between each round of the binding. Don’t be too stingy with the moss as you will need a good base to secure your ingredients later.
Step 3: take another clump of moss, shape it as before, overlap it slightly with the end of the first attached moss and use the reel wire to continue binding. Carry on until the whole wreath is covered with moss. When you have covered the whole ring, what you do next will depend on whether you are making a wreath out of dried or fresh ingredients.
Making a dried wreath
For a dried wreath, cut the wire leaving a length of around 3″; tie off the wire by slipping it a couple of times under one of the tight loops binding the moss; secure it by sticking the end of the wire back into the moss base. The base is now ready for you to poke dried ingredients into.
Seedheads, cones, dried flowers, grasses, twigs, branches and leaves are all excellent for adding to your base. Choose ingredients which have a firm enough stem to allow you to insert them into the moss without breaking.
You can plan in advance and dry material in the Summer and Autumn. Achillea, sedum, honest pods and old man’s beard are all good candidates, but if you lightly forage too, the choice is endless.
For a more conventional festive wreath, you can add cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices etc
If a dried wreath is kept indoors and under cover, it will last for years and age gracefully. Once you have finished with it, the moss and dried elements can be composted and the wire ring reused.
To make the whole wreath compostable, you should replace the wire ring with a base of branches such as willow, hazel or silver birch and replace the reel wire by using string. Straw can also be used as an alternative to moss.
(A base made from scratch by bending willow, hazel or any other pliable stem needs practice as stems can crack and it can be difficult to bend them into a circle. If you would like to see how it is done, the best free guide I have watched is this one: Tuckshop Flowers).
Basic and Get You Started wreath boxes can be ordered and delivered or posted to you. Just email with your order.
Part 2: How to Make a Fresh Seasonal Wreath – coming soon.