December 13, 2012

A Craft Store Wreath Rescue …

Are you ready for this?  This wreath is an imposter.  A faker.  A complete pretender.

One of the jobs my sister had for my mom and I while we were in Cleveland was to take a pitiful craft store Christmas wreath and turn it into the bell of the ball.  We did it for zero dollars and I’m going to show you how. Get ready to have your mind blown.

But first, I want to let you in on a little secret.  Come closer, because I’m going to whisper it.  The Christmas wreaths from the craft store DO NOT LOOK REAL. I know. I know. It’s a hard truth to swallow. But truth it is, and doors everywhere deserve better this holiday season. So, let’s get started.

You’re going to need a few things to make this miracle transformation happen, so first grab a sad craft store wreath.

Next, wander your neighborhood during the day looking for REAL evergreen trees. Look for different varieties with different needle/branch types.

I just rocked your world, right? You’re actually going to use the real stuff to make the fake stuff look better. While you’re digesting that information, go get your black sweatshirt and pruning clippers and wait until it’s dark out so you can give the vegetation you’ve scouted out a much needed hair cut.

Mind blown again? I am actually proposing that you go out in the dark dressed like a thief and cut greenery that doesn’t belong to you.  Don’t hack off large branches. That would be wrong. Just prune small ends. I’ve been doing this with my mom since I was in high school.  It’s the reason our house was always full of fresh greenery at Christmas time. Little elves trimming trees. Can we still be friends?

For this tutorial I gathered the following:

  1. Shortleaf Pine
  2. Leland Cyprus
  3. A sad, sad craft store wreath
  4. pinecones laying on the ground
  5. Magnolia

Before you add anything to the wreath, you’ve got to “fluff” it like you would an artificial Christmas tree.  Don’t hang it up straight out of the basement storage. Nothing says sad like a wreath with all its needles squished in unnatural positions. Attack the wreath, straightening every limb until its full, but still very fake looking.

Now you’re going to start adding real greenery. The great thing about using a fake wreath as a base is that it acts like a cage for all the things you add in. I didn’t wire any of it together – I just tucked things in snugly.

I started with the Leland Cypress branches, adding them all the way around the wreath, making sure they were all facing in the same direction until I felt like it was enough. I think the wreath already looks ten times better by just doing this one step!

Next I was ready to add my Shortleaf Pine branches.  These are my favorite. I love the long needles.  The branches are very sappy though, so I always make sure to have some “Goo Gone” handy for clean up.

I followed the same process with these branches, just adding them into the wreath all the way around and facing in the same direction.  I had enough to add a layer to the outside of the wreath and then a few on the inside circle as well. Now my sad little craft store wreath looks so plump and dare I say, luscious! Again, you could hang this baby up at this point and it would be a vast improvement from the where it started.

But I’m going to add just a few more layers of texture. Ooh, I love texture.  I clipped the Magnolia branch into two pieces and tucked it into the wreath.  I made sure some of the leaf backsides were showing because they are a gorgeous, brown and velvety.

Then I grouped the pinecones in twos and wired them together since they didn’t have a long branch or stem I could insert into the wreath.

My wreath only needed one more thing – a burlap bow!  Then it was ready to hang from the light between my garage doors.  Now, I want you to look at it and tell me – does it look like a sad little craft store wreath? There is very little of the original wreath showing. It is the filler and the real greenery is the showcase.

It took me more time to write this blog post than it did to make this wreath! It is so easy and can make such a beautiful statement on your front door or home during the holidays. It won’t last forever, but I’ll just pull all of the real stuff out at the end of the season and do it again next year.

I dare you to give your craft store wreath a makeover. Let me know if you do!

PS. On my sister’s wreath we also added dried hydrangeas and hemlock branches. Everything we added to her wreath was found IN HER OWN YARD!


The Queen Vee said...

It worked like a charm. I think I'll make another one for my back gate.

MelancholySmile said...

Reading this makes me miss the days when I could go into my backyard for all my Christmas greenery needs. :( Arizona at Christmas just doesn't compare. But at least I no longer live with 6 months of snow. 6 weeks was always my limit. :) love the wreath! As always, your creativity is inspiring.

christy said...

Amazing. Nicely done.

Apis Melliflora said...

Watching you and the Queen turn my plain jane wreath into the belle of the ball was like magic! But now I know how to do the trick too! I love learning new tricks. Especially from my talented relatives.

TracyS. said...

Amazing make over. I may have to give my sad craft store wreath a make over too. When I'm over the flu that is.

JulieB said...

Wow! I am inspired!

Aiketa said...

Wow, I'm stunned!!! This is such an incredible transformation! I thought it might be really difficult to do, but you make it looks easy!!! And really beautiful.
As always say, you are so so talented!!! Thanks for sharing your tips on how to improve fake wreath!

hahahah I smiled while reading about your tree trimming adventures! :D