Fernwood Studio held a workshop on decorating evergreen wreaths for the holidays. I created the wreath base in my greenhouse with a “wreath making machine” and the students were shown design techniques and had an assortment of pods, cones, nuts, berries, faux fruit, and other delights to use to decorate their wreaths. Mouse over and click on photos to see caption and more of image.
The “machine” is essentially a pedal-driven clamp that squeezes metal prongs around a bunch of greens. It is so simple and easy to use, a child can do it. The results are always successful and everyone is always pleasantly surprised that even they can create a masterpiece. The rings come in a variety of sizes and I most often use the 12″ even though it finishes to about 20-22.” An assortment of conifers is used for the base. I am fond of noble fir as it is sturdy and thick, giving a full abundant look. I will then add greens from my property: Pacific Coastal cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir, deciduous and evergreen huckleberry, cypress, juniper and holly. I purchase princess pine, berried blue juniper, and incense cedar.
I offer a great variety of “add-on’s:” Ponderosa pine, pinion pine, alder cones, Sequoia cones, spruce cones, nuts, berries, large dried chile peppers, dried pomegranates and orange peels, etc. for personal choice. Almost everything is hot-glued on which allows things to set fairly fast. A friend made plywood wreath boards so the students can design their wreaths looking at them as they will ultimately be seen on a door. Even though ribbons are offered, I mention that a successful wreath does not have to have a bow. If they opt out of having a bow, then I recommend that items are placed around the base so there is an assortment and variety for visual interest.
I tell them to start with large pieces first and place them reasonably spaced around the circle-either in a configuration of thirds or fifths. Then support them with a mid-size item(s), following with a scattering of small, support pieces. I also mention that it’s alright to have 2 items together, as long as they are different in size and slightly canted from each other; i.e., not side-by side lined up like soldiers.
Wreaths can also be used on tabletops for centerpieces with a grouping of pillar candles in the center. They can also ring a lovely punch bowl or a raised tray with food. I’ve even hung wreaths horizontally as a “chandelier.” If hung fairly high, I will wire another wreath to the bottom in a way to make it look good both top and bottom. A plastic taper candle holder can be hot-glued into greens allowing for the look of candles to be added. These devices are called “Handy Andies” and can be found in the floral/wedding supply sections of craft stores.
Here in the northwest, wreaths hung on the outside of doors under cover can stay fresh-looking well until the first part of March. I have created and shipped wreaths to family and friends out-of-state to send a fragrant and beautiful touch of the gorgeous part of the country I live in.