Natural Instincts

Blithewold’s Julie Christina shares how to make your own rustic wreath

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There are few things more satisfying than working with your hands to create something beautiful, especially around the holidays,” says Julie Christina, education programs manager at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol. Julie, who grew up making wreaths, muses that preparation is half of the fun. “Leading up to the holidays, we teach simple techniques at Blithewold that can be used year after year to create timeless natural wreaths, swags, garlands, or arrangements that are so much more meaningful when you’ve made them yourself.” Plus, adds Julie, “the smell of fresh evergreens in your home is the true reward!”

Prep

A wire wreath frame was used for this project, but most any round form can do. Some ideas: a grapevine wreath, a large embroidery hoop, a bicycle wheel, or bend a circle from a thick wire hanger.

Gather

• Berries
• Branches of cedar, evergreen, fir, pine
• Pinecones
• Scissors or wire clippers
• Wire
• Wreath frame

Create

1. Clear an indoor surface for messy work or take this project outside.

2. Begin by wiring items together in small bundles: short branches (6-8 inches long, depending on the size of your wreath frame); clusters of stemmed cones; sprigs of berries.

3. Work to conceal the wreath frame by placing bundles of greens at a slight diagonal and wrapping wires toward the base to secure (wrapping at least twice). Layer bundles in the same direction, always covering ends with the next bundle on top. Keep adding greens until you have the look you wish – simple or full. After you’ve gone around, tuck your last bundle under the first.

4. Adorn the greens by placing pre-wired cones and berries onto the wreath; secure in place by tucking and adding more wire if needed. Shape and fluff to conceal wire.

5. Attach wire to hang and enjoy!

Watch the full how-to on Blithewold Mansion’s YouTube channel.