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. The technique for dried and fresh is very similar, though the moss for a dried wreath must only be slightly damp.
Materials needed: a wire wreath frame 10″ or 12″, florist’s binding reel wire, sustainably gathered moss, ingredients to decorate your wreath.
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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.
Adding the Ingredients (dried or fresh)
Technique 1: 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. Cut the stems of your dried ingredients at a 45 degree angle to make it easier to insert them in the moss.
Keep the wire attached to the base. Gather your ingredients into small bunches and add attach them to your base with rounds of wire. Overlap each bunch to cover the wire and stems. The longer the bunches the wilder and more natural your wreath will look.
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. Strawflowers, thistles achillea, sedum, honesty 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
If a dried wreath is kept indoors and under cover, it will last for years and age gracefully. For a fresh wreath, once you have finished with it, the ingredients can be composted and the mossed wire ring reused. Moss can be rehydrated by dunking in water.
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.