Wreath Making Fun at the Farm

Happy Holidays too…

What I have been up to these past weeks is having fun making wreaths, swags, kissing balls and garland. When you buy your special Christmas wreath at Erway’s Christmas Tree Adventure, you get a hand-made wreath, by me most likely, using whatever greens and ornament you might choose to fit your inside or outside decor. Plus, you get my special holiday wishes built right in.

When I start a wreath, I go out into the field and gather my selection of natural elements and evergreen cuttings.  For the wreath I intend to make today, I gather greens of my choosing. I clipped pine and Grand Fir to add to the Frasier Fir base. The Frasier Fir, Blue Spruce, and holly are brought to me by Santa’s very industrious Helpers.

Three of Santa’s Helpers Assisting the Children and Filling the Baler with Netting

If I add dried hydrangea or boxwood, like the pine and Grand Fir, I pick and cut them myself. I like choosing my own greens. I get to wander around finding new live and dried sprigs to add. I love to be creative and the farm is huge, so much to pick from. We will stay traditional today.

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Pile of Accent Cuttings

Next, I set up the wreath ring into the clamping machine, in this case a small 12 inch ring. This sized ring will make an eighteen to twenty-four inch wreath. Small wreaths can be up to 30 inches in some cases, depending on what I add to the mix. That was the case with this wreath and why it was priced at $30.00.

The Wreath Ring

I have my Felco clippers at the ready along with floral wire and small wire cutters. I also have needle nose pliers handy as well for attaching the hanger. For this wreath, I used wire to secure the decorative beads together in a bunch. They are all individual as you will see below.  Floral wire is needed for when I use it for adding pine cones, too.

My  First Layering

I start my design, in this case, layering Grand Fir over the Frasier, then adding white pine sprigs for texture. You can see these are not going to be big box stores wreaths. They are individually created and as fresh as can be. Minutes ago these greens were snipped. How fresh are those shipped in many weeks ago?

Adding the Pretties

Once I have the greens securely between the prongs, I add an ornament or ribbon loops if I choose. These seem to be a favorite. I found I can clamp many different things into the wreath, it just depends on my imagination. Today it is traditional, yet still different from the big box store wreaths.

Here I used white, pearlized, wired beads; wired to the pine sprig. We were out of red, so white it is. You can not see the clamping prongs until I close them up. They are hidden in amongst the greens. The next set can be seen clearly.

I will clip the pine sprig shorter, like the other greens shown here, so it is not sticking out of the wreath and the wreath lays flatly against your door. Too much bulk makes for a sloppy and lumpy wreath.

I throw in pine cones too on some wreaths. That is another big seller.  Boxwood is a holiday favorite. I make full wreaths of boxwood or add it as an accent.

After all the components are in between the prongs, I step on the pedal, which brings the two prongs together very tightly like is shown above.

Moving On

I move onto the second set of beads after I complete a section without the beads. This  alternating saves on materials but makes a nice spacing as well.

Rounding the Ring, 18 Minutes In

It is repetitive until the wreath is completed. I alternate groupings for adding the beads. Some wreaths I change-up every one-third or so adding a few sprigs of a different evergreen . These are very unique. They sell as fast as they are hung.

Sometimes I just come out of the door of my workspace and a customer is waiting for my next wreath. That makes be feel really good and makes my day.

Oh, My Backside is Showing

Then I flip the wreath over to make a hanger. When I make the hanger for the wreath, I use the needle nose pliers to pinch the ends securely to the ring frame. Now we have a hanger.

Setting the Hook, Gotcha Now

I flip the wreath over again and lay it out on the floor. I found when I can step back away from it, I can trim it much more nicely if need be. I usually trim the center, so the hole is opened.

Almost Done, the Floor is Cold

Next I add a bow, if needed, in this case not, and price the wreath for sale. I take it out to hang on the tree pyramid.

I designed these a few years ago. I even figured out how to place the wreaths to maximize the 4′ x 8′ plywood. I made a little model.

Buy Me Please

This was one design which I really liked. But it was more difficult and time-consuming to construct for the farm workers. So it was thrown in the rejection heap. I want someone to build it so here it is…

Wreath Stands By Donna, I see the price increased since I designed these four years ago, opps!

I made it slotted for easy disassembly and storage. The holes were so the wind would not take it down. The pegs held the wreaths. Corner brackets (not all shown) held it secure and stakes anchored it in the ground.

The image above is how the tree pyramid was finally built. The little cylinders are the smallest wreaths, if made to the size of the 12 inch ring. If you include medium and large wreaths, which we do, then only six wreaths fit per pyramid side. The stand is 4′ x 8′ per side.

Below is a close-up so that you can see how all the stems and wires are concealed in the wreath I made today. That is important not to see wires and the ring.

This step is done when I lay in the greens. This wreath, from gathering greens to hanging it for sale, took about 25 minutes. I make over a hundred wreaths a season, twelve or so in a six-hour day, and I have a machine for the clamping the prongs tight. This is invaluable.  But it is completely handmade. If you want to bend the prongs yourself, it can be done, but it will never be as secure as using the machine.

Detail

Here is a four-foot wreath made with cedar accents, Frasier Fir, holly, and pine.

Big Wreath

A close up of the four-foot wreath. They should not have put this wreath over the pillar. When it is taken down, it will straighten back out, but I personally think it should have been hung normally for a better display.  It is a really pretty wreath.

Detail of the Cedar and Holly Accents on the Big Wreath

Holly Wreath

Holly wreaths are very popular. I dressed this one a bit with curled ribbon and red berries. I do like the berries!

Detail of the Holly Wreath

Plain Jane

And I make plain ones for those creative souls. We add the ribbon because these wreaths are the ones that usually go to the cemeteries. They are $20.00 which is very reasonable for a full, fresh Grand Fir, Frasier Fir, or Spruce wreath. Come visit the Farm and see if I can make one for you!

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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40 Responses to Wreath Making Fun at the Farm

  1. TufaGirl says:

    Oh, to live in a land of pines, holly and such for making those beautiful wreaths. I imagine the scents and choices of products to use would make the process so much fun. It is very nice you have a machine to finish off and hold the wreath together. I think the holly is my favorite of all.

    • I look forward to Christmas each year to go work at this wonderful Christmas Tree Adventure. So much holiday spirit and happy people.

      I always enjoyed making wreaths and I have some really easy ways to make them at home, but the machine makes it so quick. No more wiring on the boughs which is a great time saver, plus it is easier to get them better positioned. Funny thing is, all the other steps are basically the same, all the machine does is squish the prongs together, but oh what a timesaver.

  2. The process of wreath making is really interesting. Your illustrations are great. No wonder they cost what they do when they take so much thought and work. For my wreath, I buy a plain one without ribbon ($5 down here) and hot glue on cones, holly, boxwood, arborvitae, and my favorite Japanese skimmia berries and foliage. Because of your Xmas decorating tips, I now have a huge vase of fresh holly in my living room and fresh greens on my mantle and sideboard. It looks very festive. Thanks, Carolyn

    • I am glad you have greens in the house. My holly is starting to loose a few more leaves though. But it is my failure to keep the oasis moist and trim the bottom of the stems, like you do with cut flowers. Still pretty good considering the cats are using it as a new play toy. They love batting off the leaves and chasing them around like little mice. They even look a little mouse like too.

  3. Karen says:

    Donna, what a wonderful post showing the progression of wreath construction! I am in awe of your abilities and your seemingly boundless energy. If I had even a smidgen of your ingenuity and get up and go, I’d be happy.

    We love your wreath stand design, when full, the stand would look like 3D Christmas tree. Carl says he has several wreath holders just like the ones you show which he scavenged (of course he did, lol) so next year, I can try my hand at decorating one, too. He’ll have to make me a crimper of some sort though.

    Thank you for this wonderful how-to!

  4. great post Donna, beautiful weaths, Frances

  5. Garden Sense says:

    Beautiful wreaths, Donna! I really like the green wreath with a few white berries – simple but classic.

  6. Beautiful! What a fun, creative project to work on. I can almost “smell” the pines 🙂

  7. Missy says:

    Beautiful wreaths. The smell of the pine must be wonderful.

  8. Andrew says:

    Very nice. Unfortunately we don’t have any fancy gadgets like that where I work so any wreaths we do are just decorating pre-made plain wreaths. It would be a lot more fun with a tool like that though!

    • You order in all the wreaths and that makes decorating go faster I am sure. Those machines are not too expensive, maybe your store would purchase them. You do special orders like me, so it would come in handy. Your arrangements of late have been gorgeous.

  9. Thanks so much for an in-depth look at wreath-making. They look simply beautiful.

  10. Andrea says:

    Wreathmaking is not really a common tradition here, they can be associated sometimes to burial wreaths. But i do like them, and you made it to look easy to make! We have hollies and other lovely plants to substitute for pines, maybe someone has to start on doing it for Christmas. However, many buy Christmas trees than other ornaments. Your tutorial is very informative.

  11. Your wreaths are stunning Donna, wish I lived near enough to buy one!

  12. Your wreaths are beautiful! There is nothing better than the look and smell of a fresh handmade wreath. I never realized how much work went into them. Thanks for the step-by-step demo. Now, I appreciate them even more! Happy Holidays!

  13. Alistair says:

    Your detailed post is amazing,and thank you for the visit. Yes the blackbirds in particular love the berries, don’t feed them to your husband or family though.

  14. Kerri says:

    Donna, your homemade wreaths are beautiful and so festive.
    I’ve watched a friend make them with that machine and while it makes it much easier, I know it’s still a lot of work and hard on the hands.
    The holly wreath is gorgeous but I’d be very happy with any of your creations. I love the white berry wreath…simple and lovely.
    I enjoyed seeing you Christmas kitties and other recent posts 🙂
    Wishing you a joyful Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!

  15. Marguerite says:

    so that’s how it’s done!! Those little prongs look awful handy. In previous years I have made my own wreaths but it was a messy affair involving lots of wire and wrapping and misshapen circles. Next time I try this I’ll be checking out your pronged base and little machine!

  16. Great information. I wish I could come help you. I love the holly wreath which is very different for her. Maybe next year, I’ll trim the hollies a bit. Thank you and Merry Christmas.~~Dee

  17. Beautiful wreaths! I love the first one with the white berries. I’d never seen a wreath ring like that nor the clamping machine! I’ve done wreaths the “old fashioned” way I guess with just a simple wire ring and lots and lots of wire. Your way looks much easier! LOL

  18. Bonnie says:

    A fellow wreath maker! I make them for my brother’s tree farm – Emeral Mist Trees. I’m glad the season is over! There are pictures of my finished wreaths on my blog. I use the same kind of table/machine that you do. Your wreaths are beautiful.

    • I visited your site. Your wreaths are wonderful.

      • Bonnie says:

        Donna, I have a few customers who want the plain wreath, but you can get those anyplace. They come back to our farm for the decorated, one-of-a-kind wreath. I have many customers who special order from me. All my wreaths have mixed greens – fraser, balsam, douglas, corkbark, cedar, yew, juniper, spruce. I grow artemisia just to dry and put in wreaths. I also use red dogwood and grapevines and dried astilbe. I love the decorating, creative part of making wreaths. This year I developed a little bit of carpel tunnel. My hands were going numb! But now that I’m done, they are getting better.

        • Thanks Bonnie. I too use all the green you listed. My grower has a huge farm and I have just about any landscape plant to use. Last your I did many wreaths with dried perennial and shrubs but this year I did not have time to do the drying. My real job is architectural and landscape design, so some years I am on a real time limit. We get special orders too. I try to fill them immediately then get to the ones for the general public.

          They sold out all the wreaths this year which was good. I told my friend that I can work at anytime so why make up so many ahead. The wind and snow gets to them and it is better to have fresh everyday. Next year I plan on doing the ordering for the decorative ornaments and ribbon.

  19. Kathleen says:

    These are masterpieces! Definitely not what you see in big box stores. I also love the holly wreath. I’m sure you’ve been super busy ~ I hope you have a nice, relaxing Christmas ~ you’ll have earned it!

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