This week we thought we'd give you all a quick lesson on how to make a garland. This technique can be applied to pretty much any kind of garland – from beautiful loose wedding swagging to a Christmas garland for your mantelpiece or fireplace.
Firstly you'll need to get all your materials together, you will need;
Raffia or strong string
Foliage of your choice – something strong and hardy that will not wilt
We used small leaf pittosporum
Flowers of your choice – again you want to use strong flowers that can handle being out of water
Gypsophilia (baby's breath)
Firstly you’ll need to decide how long you want your garland to be. Ours was very long as it needed to be wrapped around a tree, so in total it was probably about 4m long.
Take a few strips of raffia - probably about ten strips - and cut all to the same length if needed. You will then need to tie all the strips together at one end. Plait the raffia together, keeping a relatively tight plait all the way down. Each length of raffia is about a meter long so if you want your garland to be longer than a meter repeat this process until you have enough.
Next step is to cut down all your foliage into small sections. Make small bunches with the foliage, and using reel wire, start at one end and attach the bunches to the raffia plait. Each time you add a bunch, overlap it over the tie point of the previous bunch so you are covering the wire as you go.
If you are using more than one plait of raffia then you’ll need to attach the next plait before you get to the end of the first one - again using reel wire. Once you’ve attached the next plait, continue adding foliage bunches as usual.
When you have covered the raffia with foliage it is time to add the flowers. We would recommend putting the garland in situ at this stage as it is easier to put the flowers in once the garland is in place. Again, you will need to trim down your flowers, you’ll need them to be about 5 - 10cm long, including a stem length of about 7cm. If you are worried about the flowers lasting you can also wire and tape them at this stage. To add the flowers, feed the stems through the foliage and reel wire, if the foliage is dense enough and the wire tight enough, then the flowers should be fairly secure. You can wire the stems onto the garland to make them extra secure, or use small german pins. If you are using fluffy filler flowers such as gypsophilia or aster then add these to the garland first. Add each type of flower separately, making sure that you have an even distribution over the whole garland.
Once you are happy with your garland give it a good misting, ensuring you cover the foliage and the flowers. Making sure that you keep the garland moist will help it to stay fresh for longer.