A DIY November wreath using copper beech
It’s that time of year again when my fingers start itching to get making and I start jotting down ever increasingly ambitious winter and Christmas craft projects, only to realise about three days before the big day that I haven’t actually bought any pressies yet, although my tree and mantelpiece are works of art
Anyway, whether you are a craft-aholic or craft-phobic, I am a firm believer that making stuff is good for all of us. It slows us down and connects us to our hands, its meditative and gentle, and it’s a lovely way to spend time with people you love, and a good excuse to eat cake and chat as your fingers work.
Last week a good friend of mine came over laden with foliage and we spent a couple of hours quietly making wreaths in my kitchen while the baby napped, and it was heavenly. I made this very simple but rather sumptuous beech leaf wreath, and I thought I would do a little DIY tutorial for those who would like to make one too.
You will need:
3 -4 metres of vine (I used honeysuckle, but any strong vine will do - jasmine, clematis, virginia creeper etc) If you can’t get your hands on natural vine, you can use a wreath ring or garden wire twisted into a ring (see here)
10 small beech branches in different colours
15-20 dried flower heads (thistles, grasses, weeds, dried flowers - anything will do!) I gathered lots from my local park.
Twine or ribbon to hang the wreath
First you need to make the base using the vine. Take a length and strip off any side shoots so it’s a long bare piece. Thinking about how large you want your wreath to be, twist the vine into a circle and secure the top of it where the two ends meet with some wire (making sure the ends overlap a bit). Don’t worry if the circle is a bit irregular, the wreath will be even more beautiful for a bit of irregularity! When you’re happy with your first circle, take your next length of vine and, holding it in place at the top of the first circle, twist it in and out so it winds in and out of the first circle, strengthening the structure. Secure it at the top or wherever the length ends with some more wire. Do the same with your next length of vine and so on until your happy with your base.
Decide where you want the top of your wreath to be (i.e. the place you will hang it from). I usually make this the place where I’ve secured the vine so that I can cover the wire. Wrap a few lengths of twine around this so you know where the top of the wreath will be.
Take your sprigs of dark beech first and, trying to go in the direction of the sprigs themselves, secure one on either side of the base of the wreath with some wire so they stretch up the sides of the wreath base towards the top. Leave a bit of a gap at the top of the wreath where you will hang it. Once you’re happy with these two first sprigs, start adding more twigs, layering them on top of eachother and securing either by twisting the stems into the base or using small lengths of wire. Try to hide any wire you do use under foliage or towards the back of the wreath.
Start building up your wreath with the red, orange and gold beech sprigs, keeping the shape quite loose and organic. Follow the shape and direction of the twigs, and don’t worry about a few trailing leaves. Keep holding your wreath up to assess the shape and whether you’ve got a good balance of different colours throughout.
Once you’re happy with your leaves, begin adding the dried flowers and seed heads, one head at a time. I generally just push these into the wreath, securing their stems in between the sprigs and base without using wire, but feel free to use wire if that’s easier. Keep going, balancing out all the pieces you have so there are evenly distributed throughout. Again, keep looking at the wreath from afar to make sure you’re happy with it.
Hang it up and admire your handiwork!
So, have you been wreath making this year? And have you got any other winter crafting planned? I’d love to hear your ideas!