These last few weeks of the year and holiday season are almost always a little chaotic. There’s Christmas shopping left to do, plans to make with family, packages to mail off, cards to send, final work deadlines to wrap up…Tasks and obligations seem to pile up super quickly this time of year, no matter how prepared I think I am. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way!
My method for combatting the craziness is focusing on things that help me put the season into better focus. I love listening to Christmas music or watching movies in between day-to-day tasks (or better yet, while I’m working on tasks!), and I also love finding time for a little holiday craft or two before the end of the year is upon us. These types of projects help keep stress away, and definitely make the season feel more festive in general. Today’s post features one of my recent stress-relieving crafts: a DIY Christmas wreath decorated with foraged materials from our yard.
I started with a plain live evergreen wreath purchased from our favorite local Christmas tree farm, Francisco Farms. This year we couldn’t buy a real tree from the farm because I didn’t think our kittens would behave around it, but I knew that I could treat myself to one of Francisco Farms’ handmade live wreaths since we’d keep it outside and away from prying paws. The wreath has hung bare and beautiful on our front door for the past few weeks, but I wanted to give it a little more personality as we got closer to Christmas and the official arrival of winter.
My thought was to only use things found throughout our yard to add color and texture to the wreath. As fate would have it, we ended up getting our first snowfall of the year the morning I had planned to work on this project, but I was still able to find all sorts of pretty things for my wreath. I stole several branches and bunches of berries from the Heavenly Bamboo (or Nandina) that line the side of our house, and I also cut off a couple sprigs from the Blue Spruce in our front yard. I figured those would all dry nicely in the chilly Virginia weather we’ve had lately, and that they would also add tons of natural dimension to our plain wreath.
I brought all of my clippings inside, sequestered the kittens so that they couldn’t access my work area in the sunroom (Nandina is toxic to pets), and then I laid my plain wreath on the floor to get to work. I decided to start with the Blue Spruce sprigs since those were pretty large and I needed to save room for them. Then I added the leafy stems I had cut off our Nandina, followed by a layer of the berry bunches to finish off the look.
I didn’t end up using any wire or glue for the added branches. I just cut off the lower leaves from each stem using scissors so I had a bit of straight, bare branch exposed, then I pushed those into the wreath form between the evergreen branches. It worked great! Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that you might want to do all of this with gloves if you’re working with sharp yard clippings. Those Blue Spruce bits hurt against my bare hands!
The finishing touch for me was an oversized, extra droopy bow made from ribbon that I already had from Target. I secured the bow to my wreath using some clear fishing line, and then I was done! Since I didn’t use any wire or glue, a couple of my pieces fell out when I lifted the wreath up from its horizontal position on the floor, but after I hung the wreath up vertically on the door using a hook, I squeezed those fallen pieces right back into the form in a sturdier way so I knew they wouldn’t fall out again. We’ve had the foraged wreath up for about a week now, and the branches and berries are all staying in place nicely! That said, feel free to use floral wire or glue to secure your pieces if you’d prefer a longer-lasting fit.
That before/after graphic a couple of photos up makes me so excited! I can’t believe that this project didn’t cost me anything, but it still adds lots of expensive-looking style to our entry. I will be sure to update you as the weeks go by to let you know if things take a turn for the worse in terms of freshness, but I’m hoping these foraged elements all just dry in place and look good well into the winter. Let me know what you think in the comments! Do you prefer the minimal/plain version of the wreath, or the layered/colorful version?
Psssst…You can watch this wreath come together in a video that I posted over on my Instagram feed here.