AMES, Iowa – It might be hard to believe, but the Christmas season is just around the corner. One way to make the holiday season memorable is with a wreath, and a fresh, homemade wreath can really brighten a gathering. Making a wreath isn't as difficult as you might think.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists can help answer questions about creating a fresh Christmas wreath.
What materials are needed to construct a fresh Christmas wreath?
Materials needed to construct a Christmas wreath include a pruning shears, scissors, wreath frame, No. 22 or 24 gauge florist wire, wire cutter and evergreen branches. Decorative materials, such as ribbon (bows), pine cones, holly, various fruits and ornaments may be used to finish the wreath.
Box style wire frames, florist wire, bows and other materials can be purchased at craft or hobby stores. Box style wire wreath frames are commonly available in 8- to 24-inch-diameter sizes. A 16-inch-diameter wreath frame is ideal for most home decorations.
Evergreen branches (greens) can be obtained from the home landscape. A small amount of judicious pruning won’t harm trees and shrubs. Greens also may be purchased from garden centers, florist shops, and Christmas tree lots or farms. Additional materials, such as pine cones, can be purchased or collected outdoors.
What is the proper way to construct a Christmas wreath?
Begin by cutting the greens into six-to-eight-inch sections. Next, firmly attach the end of the wire roll to the frame. Place a small bundle of greens on the frame; then fasten the base of the twigs tightly to the frame with two or three turns of the wire. Position the second bundle of greens so as to cover the base of the first group.
Continue this procedure around the frame, placing the groups close together to produce a thick, full wreath. Tuck the base of the final bundle of greens beneath the foliage of the first group and fasten it to the frame. Decorate the wreath with a bow, cones, ornaments, etc. Wire each item separately and fasten it to the frame. Finally, attach a wire hanger to the top of the wreath frame. The wreath is now ready for hanging.
How long can I expect a wreath to remain fresh?
Wreaths hung outdoors should remain fresh for three to four weeks. The average life of an indoor wreath, however, is about seven to 10 days. Indoor wreaths should be promptly removed when they become dry. The life of an indoor wreath can be prolonged by hanging it up only during special holiday occasions. Place the wreath in a plastic bag and store in a cool location, such as a garage, during the remaining time.