Documents:

Making Wreaths
by Linda Tomlinson
by Linda Tomlinson

email: your_garden@hotmail.com

Linda Tomlinson received a diploma in Horticulture from Olds College as well as a B.ed from the University of Calgary.

She has worked in many aspects of the Horticulture in Alberta as well as a stint in a Nursery in Australia.

Linda has taught adult Ed classes in Horticulture. She has a weekly column in The Red Deer Advocate going into her third year.


December 4, 2005

Don’t discard or chip all of the branches after pruning. Keep the ones that are supple and bend easily, as they make nice wreaths. The best branches are ones that are long and under three quarters on an inch (2 cm) in diameter.

While Willow wreaths are often used, any flexible branch will work. Different barks add color and interest to the finished project. The bright red of a Red Osier Dogwood is very eye catching.

When gathering branches in the wild, look for shrubs with new growth as it will be thinner and more pliable. Do not remove all the branches from one plant but take a few branches from many different plants.

The amount of work taken in preparing the branches for making wreath depends on the desired end result. If the wreath is to be smooth, remove all the side branches. It will look similar to a grape vine wreath; where the branches are the main focal point.

Leaving the branches intact will be more challenging but will give a fuller more rustic effect. The side branches will need wrapped around the wreath after the main branch is in place. As some of the side branches are short they will not always stay in place and will have to be wrapped several times.

Start by taking one of the longest, thinnest branches and bend it into a circle. Twist the tip of the branch around the other end. If all the branches are short, use 2 branches instead of one. A small piece of wire or string will keep the ends together, if they keep falling apart. When the project is completed, the wire or string will be hidden among the branches.

Take the next branch and twist it around the foundation branch. Start before the original join, using the branch to reinforce the weak area. Continue adding branches always starting and ending at different spots. Branches should be twisted in the same direction as changing direction will create large air pockets and make a weak wreath. The exception is the last few branches that can be wrapped in the opposite direction for decoration.

Check periodically to see wreath’s shape. Often they will become lopsided or oval. Gently stretch or push the wreaths into the desired shape; adding more branches to support the new shape. Do not use too much force in reshaping the wreath as it will still come apart.

Add branches to areas that are thinner than others. It will reinforce the wreath as well as make it balanced.

Expect some of the ends and twigs to stick out. These can be tucked into other branches or cut off. Make sure that the branch won’t unravel before removing the stubs. Stubs can always be concealed by adding more branches to the wreath.

The number of branches used depends on the size of the wreath as well as its thickness. Usually thicker wreaths are stronger. They are also easier to decorate as they have a wider area to work with.

Decorations are a matter of personal taste. They can be placed symmetrically around the wreath or in one area. The bottom or one side of the wreath are the areas usually decorated

Attach the decorations by a method that is not noticeable. The cracks between the branches make it easy to weave decorations into the wreath. Wire and glue guns are also effective.

Don’t forget to add a string or wire at the top to hang the finished product.

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