We've been making wreaths for the Autumn. We have also done a tutorial on how to make wreaths from scratch!
This week we felt like the summer had finally gone and Autumn was here. The trees are starting to turn gorgeous shades of orange, gourds are popping up everywhere and we are wearing a coat for the first time in months. Autumn is probably our favourite time of year, after Christmas of course. Chikae in particular, with her American influences, is starting to get excited about Halloween and all the other fun the Autumn brings with it.
We were at the market one morning and getting giddy over all the stunning oranges and reds and fabulous berries and foliage that was cropping up so decided we would make some autumnal wreaths, just for fun.
Wreaths are surprisingly simple to make once you’ve got the basic skills down and we thought we should show you all how to make your own at home. Keep it on the down low though as they’re so much fun to make and super easy everyone will be making their own and we’ll be out of a job!
First things first - get yourself down to your local flower market if you can, or a good craft shop or garden centre if you don’t have access to a flower market. We’ve made a little check list of everything you need (See image below for visual aid);
- Wire wreath rings (we used 12” diameter)
- German / Mossing pins
- Reel wire
- Wreath backing (optional)
- Glue gun (optional depending on what you intend to decorate the wreath with)
- Scissors (floristry ones for any thick branches, and wire cutters for the wires - try and keep the separate to keep the blades sharp)
- Wires and gutter tape (optional - can be used for things like fruit, and cones)
- Ribbon (optional)
- (Dried fruit - orange, apple, lime and chilies)
- Bag of spagnum moss
Those are the basics that you need to make the base of the wreath, and then what you put onto the moss base is entirely up to you. For our wreaths we used;
Fresh blue hydrangea
Dried autumnal hydrangeas
Physallis (Chinese lanterns)
Dried fruit - orange, apple, lime and chilies
For wiring succulents
Thick gauge wire
You can use pretty much anything you like to decorate your wreath. We would advise using as many dried materials/flowers as possible and then you don’t have to worry about your wreath deteriorating over time, however if you are just using it for a day or two, say for a party, then most fresh flowers will be fine too.
To start, get your wreath ring, spagnum moss and reel wire (you might want to wear gloves for this bit as the reel wire can leave your hands quite dirty). If your spagnum moss is in a compact lump then break it up into handful size bits.
Attach the end of the reel wire to the wreath ring - wrap it round a good few times to make sure it’s secure.
You’re then going to add moss to the ring, working round the ring, until the whole ring is covered with a dense and secure layer of moss.
You want to grab quite big handfuls of the moss and scrunch them onto the ring firmly with one hand, and then with the reel wire in the other hand, tightly wrap the wire around the moss. Don’t worry about trying to fully cover the ring to start with, or making sure it’s even, you can build up the layers once you’ve got the first layer done. The most important thing is to keep the reel wire tight so that the moss is held securely in place, keep the reel wire attached to the spool at all times rather than cutting it as you go along - only cut the wire when you’ve finished. Keep adding moss until you have an even distribution of moss over the ring, front and back, about 5 - 7 cm thick, and no metal is visible.
At this stage you can chose to back your wreath with what is essentially thin plastic to cover the wire and create a smooth back in case you want to hang it on a wooden door or place it on a delicate table.
First step here is to secure one end of the backing to the wreath using a german pin. The trick to using these pins is to push them straight in just over halfway and then bend them back over themselves as you push the end in. This way they are very secure and will definitely not fall out and neither will whatever you are securing.
Once you’ve attached one end of the backing to the wreath you need to work along the wreath, folding the backing, and pinning as you go along, so that you cover all of one side of the wreath.
Now comes the fun part - decorating your wreath. We would recommend laying out everything that you want to use and preparing it before you start. If you are using long stems of foliage, cut these down into smaller sections, the same goes for any flowers or berries you are using. You want small manageable pieces that will just need one pin to secure them. You’re probably aiming for bits that are between 5 - 10cm big.
We also used wired succulents in one of our wreaths so are going to show you how to wire these too. Succulents are great as when they are cut they can last out of soil or water for a good couple of months, so you can use them in bouquets and arrangements quite easily once you’ve wired them.
Take your succulents out of the plastic pot and remove some of the soil around the top so that there is a gap between the bottom of the succulent and the top of the soil. You should be able to see the stem of the succulent - cut the succulent from the stem. Whatever you do don’t throw the stem and soil away! If you’re lucky, you’ll get another succulent sprouting from the roots.
Now you want to wire the succulent head much like you would a flower. If you’re using a small succulent then one wire fed straight through whats left of the stem up into the base of the head should be sufficient. Just make sure it’s firmly in the base of the bead and then tape securely with gutter tape. For the larger succulents you’ll need a bit more support. Use a thicker wire up the middle of the stem and then feed a slightly thinner wire horizontally through the remaining stem - so the two wires are perpendicular to each other. Then bend down both sides of the thinner wire and wrap around the larger wire. Use the gutter tape to bind the wires together. This technique is called a double leg mount and is a very useful to know in the floristry world!
When you’ve prepared everything, use the german pins, as before, to secure everything into place on the wreath. It is best to start with the foliage, covering the moss, and then add everything else on top. If you have anything fiddly or solid that it is difficult to secure with the pins you can use a glue gun to attach these to the wreath.
Once you are happy with your wreath ....
- C & J