Thursday, November 29, 2012

of Glitzy Christmas Wreaths

I just love holiday craft projects. Really, I love any craft in general that deals with plants. The best part about crafting around the holidays is that you can share your spoils with everyone you care about in life. Also be proud of me for posting more than one thing this month! I'm improving. My oldest sister Mandy, whom you may remember recently had a birthday, came up with the idea to make these wreaths for our parents (pictured above), aunt and uncle, and nana and papa after seeing this post. Mandy is a fabulous idea woman but becomes easily overwhelmed with creative projects and so I am often tasked with following (straying from) the directions. We make a fabulous if a little distracted team.

I love having guidelines for creativity occasionally, especially when I have not done a certain project before but I generally try to make each project my own. The wreath in the above post is beautiful, but being a plant and foliage kind of gal I felt I could make a few tweaks to create a wreath more to my liking. The result was so fabulous that I ended up making them for my sisters as well (Katie's is the star of this post), and at only about 12 dollars a pop the wreaths are way cheaper than something you could find in a store. I bet you'll like the finished result better. Plus since you are using all fake stuff you can use this decoration for many years to come. I think it would be fun for older children as well, although I did burn myself on the hot glue many a time.

Todays Cast of Characters:

Christmas glitz abounds today with fun things from Michael's and the Dollar Store. I made three wreaths each go round so I got two sizes of ornaments from the dollar store but you will only need about 8 small and 5 larger ornaments total. It would be nice to use some existing ones if you have those lying around. I also found delightful little sprigs of evergreen with berries. I thought they were exceptionally cute but they only came in a two pack so one lucky family member got two sprigs on their wreath. From Michaels I got a grape wreath (its the brown viney looking one), their plant garland, a few little flowers, and a cute little bird that had a pine cone and sprig attached. As for the garland, I definitely prefered the one I used on my parents to the one I used on my sisters. It was easier to work with, lusher, and much more sparkly. Luckily my mom has a hot glue gun and tons of glue as well as several nice plaid ribbons available at her house so I didn't have to purchase anything. Since ribbon was on sale, I'd imagine it would only add a few cents to a dollar to each wreath price.

What to Do:

To start out, remove the pieces of garland from the chain link they are attached to. I used one third of the garland for each wreath I made which I imagine is roughly 2 feet. You don't have to cut each individual piece if you don't want to but I think it gives you more material to work with in the end. Don't snip too close to the end of the plant, it will cause issues.

Continue snipping until just the chain link is left. Next, place your eye catchers (which in this case are the bird and the sprig of berries) where you think they look nice on the wreath. I like the bird to be perched higher up on the wreath but really it will look good anywhere. The trick is creating a good balance of color and texture on the wreath.

I like to put the little flowers right near the bird or other focal point so I hot glued a few of them at first and then worked my way up to a bunch.

Next fill in between the two focal points. I like to create a layered look so I glue some big pieces of the snipped garland down first and kind of layer up between them. Be sure to leave some room to glue in the ornaments. This was a particularly tricky garland because of the abundance of red berries.

Roughly estimate the size and position of your bow and make sure you have enough garland to fill your wreath until that position.  It doesn't have to be exactly in the center if you would prefer it elsewhere.Then work on filling in the greenery and making it look cheery. This is where I burned myself most with the hot glue so please be careful!

At this point my mom started making the bow. I have no clue how to make it but she watched this tutorial on youtube and had fabulous things to say about it.

Once that fun is done its time to place and glue your ornaments. This takes a lot of hot glue but the end result is worth it. I put them where I find a bit of room and also where I think they look good. It is important to have a mix of sizes and styles in one area. I also like to highlight certain features of the wreath by putting the glitzier ones there.

Finally attach your excellently crafted bow to the section you left for it and take a step back to make sure everything looks kosher. I found that on most of the wreaths I had a little bit of the snipped garland left that I would stick in a place that didn't look as lush.

Your wreath is now ready to share! It can be placed indoors or outdoors but it will obviously last longer when kept inside or at least protected. Enjoy!

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