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Here in Italy we don’t really have a tradition of buying a natural Christmas wreath to hang at the front door. We do hang them, but we usually don’t really bother if it’s real or not anymore, which I think it’s quite sad actually!
But I used to create wreaths with ribbons and winter spices when I was little, and so last year I gave making my own natural wreath a go and I totally loved the result and the whole process a lot. I decided this year I would try and challenge myself to do a new one that looked a tiny bit better as well! And I believe it’s turning a bit into a tradition – and an exciting one!
I reckon there are lots of methods that will work when creating a wreath at home, but between the tests I’ve made, I’ve definitely learnt a lot about which greenery works and which doesn’t, as well as how to tie things together so that your greenery looks very compact but not sporadic and all the additional decorations look very natural at the same time! So I thought I’d share a little bit of an insight of how to make a natural Christmas wreath at home today, hoping this will be inspire you to make your own!
DIY Natural Christmas Wreath
– Straw Wreath Base
– Small flexible real pine branches
– 4/6 small pine cones
– 4/6 dried orange slices (you can make your own – read on!)
– Thick twine
– Thin needle + natural looking thread (green or brown)
– Transparent elastic thread
1. Firstly you want to create a hanging loop with some thick twine and attach it to the wreath base. You can make it simply by creating a slip knot in your twine, and then tying it tight to the straw wreath base.
2. From here, you can start wrapping the longest pine branches around the wreath to cover the outer border. While you do it, use the transparent elastic thread, wrapping it around the wreath base and pine, to secure the pine branches to the base.
3. Once you’ve covered the outer border, start building your wreath from the inside, covering the entire inside border so that the straw is invisible to the eye, and then covering the rest of the surface building some thickness too. To secure the pine into place, keep wrapping the elastic thread as you go. Remember to always make sure the branches follow all the same direction.
4. To add some movement, cut small branches and insert them between the needles of the structure you have just made, making sure they all follow the same direction and their ends pop outside of the wreath, building thickness and volume. Again, use the elastic thread to secure them into place.
5. Once you have your base done, tie the elastic thread and move on to the decorations! You can prepare some homemade dried orange slices, by cutting thick slices of an orange and drying them for 24 hours (or more, the drier the better) in a food dryer. Or, if you don’t have one, you can pop them in the oven for 3-4 hours at very low temperature until dry.
6. To attach the pine cones and orange slices to the wreath, use a natural-looking green thread and a very thin needle and sew them in place. I’ve found with the oranges, the best way to do it is to sew the white border, that is where the slices are more solid. With the pine cones, you can also simply wrap the thread around them and tie it to the wreath to make sure they won’t fall off.
7. Feel free to add more Christmassy decorations if you fancy (last year we added red berries and holly for a touch of colour). Then hang your wreath to your front door and enjoy – and make sure you take a minute to appreciate the mix of scents!
I preferred to use the same quality of greenery all over the wreath. In particular pine works quite well, while I’d avoid cypress for this project and, if you decide to go for two (or more) different types of greenery, try selecting them so that they are all in the same family of green!
I hope this little project will inspire you to do your own wreath! Make sure you listen to some Christmas songs while you’re at it! 😉