How to Make a Christmas Wreath

One of the great joys of Christmas, is doing things together. That includes everything from shopping and wrapping gifts, to cutting a tree, baking goodies, and making your own special decorations, like wreaths.
Even the children can help gather fir tips, and with a little help from parents, and some simple accessories like bows, bells, candy canes and berries from a discount store, they have great presents for aunts, uncles, grandparents and teachers.
Wreaths are made on a steel ring, with a good gauge wire. Check with your local craft store to see if they carry the supplies you need, or if you’ll need to order them online. This should be done a few months ahead of Christmas, in case it takes time to get the supplies.
However, the fir tips can’t be gathered until late in the Fall. The needles on fir trees need to “set”, and the tree must have stopped growing for the year. In northern states like Maine, it is recommended not to gather tips until at least early November, after three consecutive nights of temperatures that are 20F or lower.
Fir tips are literally the end of the tree branches. The actual tip is a center stem, with one to either side, growing from the base. As you go back up the main stem, you have stems growing off both sides, and the further you go, the side stems will have more stems of their own, which often branch off into secondary stems.
Tipping, is to cut the last 12-20 inches off branches from the middle of the tree. This is where you are more likely to find branches with needles all around the stems. Lower branches are older and have had more wear, and upper branches are newer, and tend to be longish.
From a 12″ branch end, you can break 2-3 sections, each having a stem/branch of 4-6 inches, depending on the width of the wreath you are making. A standard wreath size is 16-20″, and is made on a 12″ wire ring. You will want to attach perhaps three pieces on each side of the ring, in order to give the wreath fullness.
First, attach the end of a roll of wire securely to the ring. Lay one bunch of tips on the wire ring, lining up the wooden stem with the ring. Wrap the wire around the stems, about 1/3 of the way up the branches. If your wrap it too low, your tips will flop off the wreath. Pass the wire around the fir tips and ring, twice, and pull tightly after each pass.
Turn the ring over, and attach a second bunch to the other side in the same way. When you become more skilled, you will be able to put a bunch on each side at the same time, being careful to wrap the wire tightly to secure both bunches at once.
Work your way around the ring in this manner. As you break your fir branches into smaller bunches, try to keep them about the same length, so your wreath has some uniformity. Little bits that stick out, can be trimmed off when you’re done, with a pair of rose clippers.
When you come to where you started with the first bunch, it sometimes looks like there isn’t enough room for more, but there would be a gap if you didn’t add something. Take your last bunch, and insert the stems under the tips of the first bunch, lift the tips and pass your wire around that last set of stems. Wrap an extra time or two for good measure, then form a loop, twist the wire, and cut it. You’re now ready to trim and decorate your creation!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *