There's no better way to welcome the holiday season (and your guests) than with a beautiful wreath on your front door! Wanting to do a modern take on this decorating classic, I had Baylor Chapman of Lila B. Design in San Francisco (www.lilabdesign.com) show me how to get creative and fresh with holiday greens.
Step 1: Modern Ingredients
I jumped out of bed nice and early (read: 5:30am) and went with Baylor to the SF flower market to get the supplies for our project. I was amazed at all the beautiful things there were to choose from!
After some coffee fueled browsing, we decided on the above ingredients: bright and delicate greens and unusual 'living' color pops that would make a wreath color correct for the season, but unique and in keeping with my modern aesthetic.
1. Grevillea foliage - x 1 bunches
2. Heavenly Bamboo - x 1 branch
3. Leucadendron - x 5
4. Dried Bougainvillea - x 1 branch
5. Earth Star (bromeliad) - x 1 in a 2 1/2 inch pot
6. Pin Cushion flowers - x 2
7. Poppy pods - x 6
8. Redwood (sequoia sempervirens) sprigs - x 1 bunch
*Quantities listed above are for one wreath made on an 8" wreath frame. If you'd like to make a bigger wreath, buy a larger wire frame, up the greens quantities accordingly and follow the same instructions as for the 8".
If you have trouble finding the above from your local nursery or florist, choose things you're drawn to. Just make sure you have a variety of colors and shapes/sizes - at least two different smallish spriggy greens and a few hardy flower/succulent/bromeliads (something that will last and keep looking good out of water or is dried).
Step 2: Prep Your Greens
Cut your greens and flowers into 7-8 inch sections (each one including a tip) and pile them separately and neatly on your work table.
Step 3: Hardware Needs
To make your wreath you'll need:
- one 8" wreath ring
- gardening shears
- 24 gauge / 1/4 lb paddle wire
- wire cutters
You can get the first three things at any nursery or florist supply shop and the cutters at any hardware store.
Step 4: Get Wired
To get started, tie your wire to where the outside ring meets one of the cross pieces by wrapping the wire around two to three times and twisting it like a twist tie.
NOTE: You will be leaving the wire on the spool the whole time. You will not be cutting the spool off until the very end.
Step 5: Get Your Greens On
Start by laying down a small bunch of one of your greens, as illustrated in the first photo above. Add a few more sprigs of the other green on top of the first bunch.
Step 6: Wrap Your Wire
Now you're going to take your spool of wire and wrap it across the greens, down through the wire frame center hole, across the underside and back up to the starting point. Pull the wire tight. Repeat this wrap two - three more times.
Step 7: Place, Wrap, and Repeat
You're going to repeat the last step again and again, layering all the different goodies and wire wrapping every few bunches. Look to the images as 'pattern maps', aka placement guides. There's no rules to the order of how you layer the greens, so don't stress about making it exactly like the one pictured. I would just say try and place the color pops (flowers, etc.) at intervals all the way around so it looks balanced.
Step 8: Place, Wrap, and Repeat Cont...
Keep adding and wrapping and remember to keep the greens angled, in relation to the frame, the same as the first bunch. That's how you'll get that lovely, feathery edge effect.
*If you need to unwrap and re-do a portion or two, go for it! It won't hurt the greens.
Step 9: Minding the Gap
When you get all the way around to the last bit of space on the frame, in order to make the last bunch meet up with the first bunch seamlessly, gently tuck the stems of the last bunch under the tips/mid-section of the first bunch. This will hide the stems of the last bunch.
Then even more gently, wire in the last bunch by lifting the tips of the first bunch, so the wire goes underneath and doesn't show.
On your last wire wrap, stop on the underside of the frame and cut the wire from the spool so that you have a six inch tail. Pull on the tail to tighten the wrap wire and thread the tail around the outer wire of the frame two to three times to secure it. Then feed the tail under the last 'across' section of wire (like pictured) and either cut it off or tuck it into the greens.
Step 10: Finishing Touch
Now to attach your Earth Star bromeliad (or succulent).
Pull it gently from it's small pot and remove most of the soil and roots. (see first picture above)
Cut a 10" piece of wire and pierce it through the base of the plant (as pictured). If you have trouble doing this, you can also just wrap the wire around once or twice.
If you were left with an uneven transition or pesky space where your first and last bunch meet, this would be a great place to put your Earth Star. If there wasn't a gap, you can put it anywhere you'd like!
Nestle it into the spot you've chosen and wrap the wire around the greens/frame, being careful to get it under and in between the greens so you don't flatten any out. Twist the ends to secure it in place and use your wire cutters to clip the tails.
Step 11: Ta Da!!
Now the only job left for you to do is decide where to put it... : )
Step 12: Thanks to Lila B. Design!
Lila B. Design is a living arrangement floral studio in the Mission district of San Francisco. Their store is in a shipping container in the garden of my favorite SF coffee spot, Stable Cafe! They are lovely people making beautiful things! (www.lilabdesign.com)
Thanks so much Baylor and the Lila B. team for helping me make what is sure to be the loveliest wreath on my block!