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Back to News Updates – December 7, 2020

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DIY: Native Holiday Wreath

From a simple circle of pine bundles to a bauble-accented creation, wreaths offer the opportunity for creativity and experimentation. Spread joy by making your own wreath this season. It’s easy to either DIY your own or take a wreath-making class to learn some tips and tricks. Most wreaths start with a few simple tools, plant materials, and some festive decorations that add a seasonal touch. Read on to find out how.

The wreath form is the foundational structure of a wreath. Available online or at a craft store, a wreath form lends uniformity to the shape of the wreath and provides a framework for the cuttings and decorations. Forms can be Styrofoam, cardboard, metal, or from natural materials like grape vine.

There are many high-quality, locally available, native plant options to create a wreath. White pine (Pinus strobus) is likely the easiest to find, given its wide range. Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is widely available, too, and has sturdy foliage and attractive berries. For those who want to pay homage to Delaware’s state tree, the berries of American holly (Ilex opaca) last much longer than its leaves and are suitable for wreath accents.

After managing the basics – working the cuttings, one by one onto your wreath form until they sit securely – get creative. Consider adding more material to fill in any empty spots; securing a pomander, pinecone or bauble to the wreath or a decorative bow, and then step back and enjoy the season.

Materials

  • Snips or trimmers
  • Wreath form made of twisted grape vines (available at craft stores or dollar store)
  • Cuttings of eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), white pine (Pinus strobus) or native magnolia (Magnolia spp.). Use 6-10” stems and twigs, and avoid branches thicker than ¼”
  • Florist Wire
  • Hot Glue
  • Decorations such as dried citrus fruits, pinecones, acorns, or ribbon.

Directions

1. Cut material from a magnolia, cedar, or white pine tree in your yard. Cut the ends of the branches, where the stems are slender and thin. Keep cuttings between 6–10″. When it comes to working them into the wreath form in later steps, you can always trim them shorter.

2. Clean up cuttings by removing leaves closest to the cut end of the sprig—this will make it easier to tuck into the wreath form. Set these leaves aside, as they will be used in Step 5.

3. One by one, work cuttings into the tight spaces between the dried grapevines on the wreath form. Be firm, but gentle—materials like cedar, pine and magnolia are tough but not indestructible. For this basic wreath, make sure each cutting is facing the same direction. Fill the form all the way around so that the grape vines are obscured by leaves.

4. Wrap floral wire around the wreath form and stems to help secure the cuttings in place. Once the wreath is secure, close the wire with a loop to make it easier to hang on a hook.

5. Take the leaves from Step 2 and tuck them into bare spots on the wreath using a dot of hot glue on the stem.

 

6. Add decorative elements (pinecones, citrus fruits, acorns, ribbon) as desired, securing them to the grape vine wreath form with wire or hot glue. The leaves of American holly (Ilex opaca) don’t fare well in wreaths, but the berries are suitable as an accent. Hang on a door or wall and enjoy!

Close up of red berries/fruit of American Holly (Ilex opaca).