But then I bought a Martha Stewart wreath-making book, read how to do it and everything changed. (See the blog post later this week about my annual wreath-making parties.)
It’s the easiest thing ever.
Here’s how to make a fabulous wreath for less than $10:
1) When you buy your Christmas tree, ask the people at the lot if you can have left-over greenery branches. (Lowe’s has always been great about letting me take everything they have, even if I didn’t buy a tree that day. It saves them clean-up work and saves me money!)
2) Gather all the pine branches you can find and load them in your car. The only thing that matters is that (1) the branches are still green, and not brown and (2) they’re all the same kind of pine needle (for example, some trees have long needles and some have short needles; but I found most lots sell all of one kind or the other).
There’s an upside and a downside to this step: the car smells like fragrant pine — a nice smell at Christmas, but the needles remain on the floor and/or in the trunk until about July…
3) As a substitute for step #2 above, you can buy one or more trees at any lot (the cheaper the better) and cut them apart to make wreaths.
4) Move the greenery (or tree) to your work space and spread old sheets or blankets to protect the floor. Cut it in pieces about 6-7 inches long. Gather those pieces in medium-sized bundles.
5) Attach the bundles of greenery to a wire wreath form (available in several sizes at craft stores for about $3 each) using a package of green wire ($2 at a craft store). Use the same wire continuously until the wreath is finished.
6) Before attaching anything, wrap the wire around the wreath frame about 10 times, tying it in a knot several times and criss-crossing it so it’s as securely attached as possible. This single action basically holds all the greenery on the wreath form; if it’s not secure, the whole thing may fall apart, so I can’t stress enough the importance of this step!
7) Lay the first greenery bundle across the frame wires, facing outward at an angle to the left.
8) Wrap the wire very tightly around the base of the greenery three times (about 2 inches from the bottom). Keeping the wire tight is critical, since all the greenery will fall off the wreath frame if you don’t do that! And if you wrap it too close to the base of the clump of greenery, the greenery can slip out.
9) You’ve done the hardest parts!
10) Now, continue placing bundles of greenery next to each other on the frame, all facing out at the same angle. Overlap part of each over the one before it so the greenery is thick. (This is not the time to scrimp and spread the greenery too thin, or you’ll have a Charlie Brown wreath…) Make sure all the wires all the way around the frame are completely covered with greenery, and don’t forget to wrap the wire around each bundle at least three times and tie it very tightly about 2 inches above the base of the greenery. The wires will all be covered with the overlapped greenery and won’t show at all later.
11) In about 40 minutes, you’ll probably have wrapped all the greenery you can fit around the wire frame and fastened it all on.
12) Wrap the fastening wire through the wires on the back of the frame about 10 times, tying knots and criss-crossing them as you did in the beginning.
13) With wire cutters (about $2 from a craft store), cut the fastening wire.
14) To keep your lovely wreath green for months, even in warm weather (!), soak it overnight in a wheelbarrow or a bathtub filled with water. You’ll be amazed how much water the pine needles will absorb!
15) Let the wreath dry outside, and attach a bow to it you want. You can also buy inexpensive wreath embellishments at craft store (ornaments, birds, etc.) and add them, too, to create a theme wreath.
16) Pat yourself on the back because you just made your first Christmas wreath!
17) If you have greenery left, make more wreaths! They make great gifts and since they retail for $20 – $40 each, they’re inexpensive (but look expensive) and something that nearly everyone loves.
Holiday blog posts: