Making a traditional Christmas wreath

Find out how to create a green and glossy traditional Christmas wreath made with plants from the garden – here's how to do it.

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Watch this video No Fuss Guide with David Hurrion to find out how to make a traditional Christmas wreath to hang in your home. To make it, you can use evergreen plants from the garden like holly, ivy and conifer sprigs – you could even use small branches from the Christmas tree. View the video guide to discover more.

Online Masterclass: Christmas Wreaths, Garlands and other Living Decorations

Get in the festive spirit with this one-hour Masterclass, plus Q&A and discover even more top tips, techniques and creative ideas on how to make your very own unique Christmas wreath and decorations using natural materials from the garden. Enjoy this seasonal session with David Hurrion at 12noon on Friday 4 December for just £12.50.

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Christmas wreath making Masterclass

Making a traditional Christmas wreath: transcript

It’s Christmas time and if you’ve ever tried to go out and buy a Christmas wreath, you’ll know exactly how expensive they are. They can cost anything from £30, £40, £50 upwards. I’m going to show you how to make one for under a tenner, really.

So I’ve gone out and I’ve got lots of green conifer. Now, this could be a conifer from your back garden, it could be a conifer hedge or it could be the bottom of your Christmas tree. If you’ve already bought your Christmas tree, you could just chop the bottom branches off, so that it fits in the stand easily and then use the bottom of
your Christmas tree to make your wreath, so, really frugal and thrifty. And simply cut the material into pieces that are about 10-15cm long and do all your preparation in one go, because this cuts down the amount of time and effort that it takes to make your wreath. So, there we are – I’ve got a good pile of conifer that I’ve prepared earlier over there.

I’ve then gone and got some ivy. This was growing up my wall in my back garden and at this time of year, you’ll find that not only has it got this lovely glossy foliage, but it’s also covered in flowers and sometimes berries. And again, cut those into little short sections, not too long. We’re going to wire those onto the frame a little bit later. And then, holly. Now, it’s a good year for holly this year, but it isn’t always. So, if you can’t find holly with berries, don’t despair, you can find the little wire-on berries to use if you haven’t got holly with berries on it. And again, cut that into sections. So, where you’ve got a piece with berries towards the top, that’s perfect. But if you’ve got a longer section that’s got berries lower down the stem and you don’t want to waste those, cut it into two pieces.

Firstly, cut the first short section and then cut just above where the berries start lower down and make that a section as well, because by the time we get it all together on the frame, it’ll be fine.

So, having prepared all my individual pieces for the wreath, I can then set about putting them on the frame. Now these frames cost about £2 – they’re available from florists or on eBay – and you need some soft binding wire and then you’d simply wire that onto the wreath frame and twist it round a couple of times and that’s the
starting point. And then you take the pieces of conifer that you’ve prepared and you put them onto the frame and you wrap the wire around the base. So, holding a piece of conifer on there, taking your wire that’s attached to the frame and wrap that over the frame so that you’re attaching it firmly. Then take your next piece of conifer, lay it over the base that you’ve just wired on and then continue wiring all the way round like that.

So, now that I’ve got the material all the way round the outside of the wreath, I just need to put the last piece in position. And the trick for this is to take your piece of material and lift back the first piece that you wired on in position and place the end of it underneath so that it hides the base, but it covers the base of the last piece of
wired material. Just wire that in position by wrapping the wire around it and then put your first piece back in place, so that it covers the base of the wire and then, very carefully, wrap the wire through the end of that first piece of material. Now, this helps to hold it in position, stops it being floppy at the end, but it also helps to wire it down so that it covers the last piece that you placed in position. So there we are. That’s my wiring done. And all I need to do now is pass the wire through the frame a couple of times, just push it through there in the frame and then cut the excess off and then just wrap it round a few more times just to lose it in there in the foliage. So that’s the basic part of our wreath now covered with foliage.

Don’t worry, if you’ve got bits sticking out all angles, we can trim that off and tidy it up a bit later. So put that to one side.

Now we’ll move on to our wiring, our individual pieces of ivy and holly. Now with these we all cut to length, you may find that you’ve got too many leaves at the bottom of the piece of material that you’ve cut, so pull some of those off. And again, don’t worry if it looks a bit bare at this stage, because by the time we’ve put it on the
wreath, it’ll all come together nicely and take a piece of florist’s wire and wrap it around the base of the stem and wrap round twice, just to hold that wire in position against the stem. So there we’ve got the wire is gripping that piece of stem and making it really firm. And then pull that leg of wire down. So there’s our first unit that’s made for our ivy. We need to go through and do all the ivy, but we can do the same with the holly. Again, take the piece of holly stem. It’s been cut to length already, wrap the wire around there, pull the one leg
down and then wrap the wire around that leg, binding it carefully to the stem so that it holds it in position and then pull that leg back. So there we are – we’ve got our pre- prepared pieces, so I’ll just go through and do all the rest of that wiring.

So with all my holly and Ivy now wired up – just put that to one side – and then we’re going to attach this to the wreath that we made earlier. The key to attaching these units is to take the piece where you’ve put the wires on and then just simply push it carefully into the frame and then turn the wreath over and wire that carefully
backwards and forwards through the wireframe itself, just so that you’ve wrapped the wire legs that you created through into the frame like that. So alternate pieces of holly and ivy, make sure that they’re presented so that the leaves are sticking up towards you as they will be viewed. And remember, turn over, once you’ve put the legs through the frame and wrap that round the outside, the outer wire of the frame. So we just need to continue doing that all the way around the frame.

So I’m putting the last few bits in here. Make sure that they’re evenly spaced around the wreath, so that it looks, well, it looks professional. You want it to look professional, don’t you? Just wrap that wire around the outside of the wreath frame and now we have our wreath that’s completely covered in foliage, with the berries tending
towards the middle and the ivy around the outside, so that you get a natural look to it.

All we need to do now is to make something to hang it up with. And this is really quick. You just take one strand of wire and fold it in half so that you’ve got a really strong double strand together. And then take your wreath and work out which way up you want it to hang. I think it’ll look quite nice hung that way up, actually, to be honest, and then turn the wreath over and push the looped end through the frame. Bring it up, pull the loop of wire apart and then wrap the two free ends around that loop. Bend it down, out the way, and there’s your hanging loop, ready made.

And then all I’m going to do now, is finish this off with a ribbon. So, I’ve taken this sheeny, shiny ribbon. You could go for green or red or any colour you like, really. But try and pick up one of the colours that’s actually on the wreath itself and take one, two, three – it might seem a lot – about 3m of ribbon. Cut it down like that and
then wrap the ribbon into a continuous loop. So keep wrapping it round on itself – and that continuous loop is about 20-30cm across. Keep wrapping that ribbon round, the shiny side out, and find out where the end is inside, there, and pull that to the same position as the other end. So they’re all in one place and then just cut off that spare bit of end, so that the two ends roughly finish at the same point on the wreath. Put that down, hold it in place with the ribbon, like that. Don’t waste any – the bit, the spare bit, that you’ve cut off, this ribbon actually rips up very easily. So, rip it down the middle and use that piece. Screw it round and round. Use that piece to knot round your ribbon at the centre. So, find the middle point of your ribbon and just use that spare off cut of ribbon, just to tie it off at the centre. Don’t worry how rough this looks at the moment, it’ll look great in the end. And then, now comes the arty bit. What you need to do is, the ends and all these sections of ribbon, you need to pull out, one at a time from the centre of the ribbon. So, already you can see that we’re trying to make a bow, an attractive, big bow, that’s going to go on the front door and really draw the eye to the base of the ribbon. So once we’ve done that with one side, we then repeat the other side. And again, don’t worry about how rough this looks at the moment. So there’s our decorative bow. Then we take another piece of wire and we wrap that through the ribbon, through the middle part of the ribbon. Just poke it down through the middle part. Fold that wire in half over the centre of the ribbon, so that you’ve got two legs. Give it a twist and then poke those two legs through at the point opposite where you’re going to hang it from. So there’s my hanging point – I’m going to put my ribbon down at the bottom here. So, poke it carefully in. Use the legs to guide it through, make sure you go through the centre of the frame, pull it tight and then do the same thing that you did before wiring it off onto the frame so that it’s firmly attached, like so, turn your wreath over and then go back in and tidy your bow up so that it looks attractive at the bottom there.

Now, if you can see much of these ends of the ribbon, just fold those in half, use a pair of scissors just to cut to make a V notch at the end of the ribbon just to finish it off nicely. And then you have a traditional holly and ivy wreath to go on your front door – less than a tenner.

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