December 6, 2012

How To Make A Santa Belly Deco Mesh Wreath

One of my co-workers, Bridgette, is very active on Pinterest.
She saw a cute Santa deco mesh wreath there and we 
decided a version of it would look good at work.

I'm showing it on my home's front door in the above photo
so you can see how it looks on a 32" wide door in case you
decide to make one too.   The ones we saw on Pinterest were
more like a traditional deco mesh wreaths going around the
circumference of the wreath.  To give the illusion of a fat belly,
I decided to try it using the same technique that I used to make
a deco mesh pumpkin wreath and add Santa embellishments.

Here are the supplies I got to make the wreath:

24" wire wreath form   $8
roll of deco mesh (21" x 30')   $12
2 sheets of 12" x 18" black craft foam   $2
one sheet of green craft foam   $1
14 red chenille stems   $1
red craft paint  $1
I also used hot glue and craft foam glue that I had on hand.

Because the deco mesh is see-through, it looks better if your
wreath form is the same color as your main mesh color.
For this project, paint the wreath form red. (Duh)

This step does not have to be perfect.  When you are all finished, 
if some spots on the form show the green, you could go back 
and touch them up with the red paint.

If finding red chenille stems is hard this time of year, you
can even paint another color of stems red with the paint. 

When the paint is dry, take the 14 chenille stems and
 bend each one into a "V". 
Place the point of the "V" on the outside wire of the wreath. 
Here is the "pattern" you will place the stems
on the wire wreath form:

 Attach seven on the top and seven on the bottom. 
Leave about 12" on the sides of the wreath
 with no chenille stems.  

Give each stem a couple of  tight twists onto the wire.

I made a mistake thinking that I could get away with using only
half of a chenille stem for each attachment point.  These photos
show a half of a stem but keep yours uncut.  The "arms" of an
uncut chenille stem will be longer than what is pictured.

After you have the stems evenly spaced and with their "arms"
facing the "good side" (rounded) of the wreath form, use glue
to hold them in place.  I used hot glue but you could use 
another kind if you would like.

When your glue dries, you can start attaching 
the deco mesh to the wreath form.  
You will pinch/gather/pleat a point along the width of the
 deco mesh about 12" in from the beginning of the roll.

You need to leave that 12" "tail" to hide the cut end of the
deco mesh roll inside the wreath when it is finished.

I find that thinking about the gathering of the deco mesh
 as tiny accordian pleats stacked up beside each 
other makes a nice "pouf" and "poufs" are the 
name of the game in this project.

Start attaching your gathered mesh to the wreath
by placing the pinched mesh into the chenille stem
"V" that is farthest on the side and on top.

Twist the chenille stem arms tightly so that they will hold
the pleated/folded mesh just like you had it pinched.
Then pinch/gather a spot about 12" farther down the mesh
roll and attach it to the wreath form with the chenille stem
that is outermost and on the bottom. 

The side deco mesh poufs will be your lowest poufs.
Each pouf that goes toward the center will get higher.
The center pouf will be the highest and then you will
decrease the height of the poufs back down as you work
towards the far side of Santa's belly. 

Your next gathering point will be along the roll far enough
to reach the next "V" on the top side of the wreath and have
some extra mesh to make it higher than your first pouf.

With this wreath, you are working up and down across
the middle of the wreath and not around the edge of the 
wreath form like traditional wreaths. 

Then gather at a point on the width of the mesh that will 
reach back down to the bottom wire and have a little 
bit higher pouf than that second one.

Try to push/pull/pouf the mesh to be how you want it to 
look along the edge of the wreath as you go along.
It is harder to go back at the end to make adjustments 
because you are working with a whole roll and if you
change something in one place, it affects the mesh
on the whole project.  I like to try to keep the edge
of the wire form covered visually as much as possible.

So, here is how the wreath looks from the side halfway through:

After your center pouf (should be the highest), start going back
down in pouf height to give the look of a dome.

Don't skip any "V" attachment need them all to
give a full look to your wreath. 

At the end, hopefully you will have another "tail" of mesh.
Pull it to the back of the wreath and tuck it in to some of 
the mesh folds.  Also tuck the beginning tail into the back folds.

If you need to to some adjusting to your poufs on the front 
side, this is a good time.  To add stability to keeping the 
chenille stems in place, you can wind the "arms" of the "V"s 
along the wreath form.

I couldn't find enough pre-cut letters in the craft store to just
add the "Ho Ho Ho" without making some.  I found one "H" and
and one "O" to use as templates to trace and cut them out of
craft foam.  You could also find a font on your computer to 
use as templates for the letters and size them as you like. 

I have not worked with these sheets of craft foam before.  
They can really get marked/scuffed up easily.  
I would suggest having a "good" side and a "bad" side of the foam.
Make your pencil marks, etc. on the "bad" side.

The Santa Belly wreaths on Pinterest used black deco mesh to
make the belt and it was a really good look. I did not want 
to buy a whole 'nother roll of deco mesh just for the belt so
I went cheapo and made it out of the craft foam. wide should I make the belt?

I decided to make the belt 4" wide.

So now, how big should the belt buckle be?

I went with 8.5' long and 7.25" high.
The buckle parts are 1.5" wide.

Cut the foam out with the "bad" side facing you.

I don't know if you have to use foam craft glue on this sheet 
foam but I was afraid not to.  I have had "melted" other 
types of foam before with non-specialty glue. 

Here is where I made the biggest mistake (of several) on this
project.  I put a long piece of 4" wide black foam all the way
under the center piece of the buckle.  When it was time to make
the "belt" go around the round mound of belly, it was too short.

What I should have done was just use a short piece 
of  4" wide black foam under the center piece of the 
buckle to give the illusion of (from the front) 
that it was all one piece of belt.  So, from the back, the
right side would look like the left side does in the photo.
Too late now...the glue is dry...maybe a belt "do-over" later?
(See " Belt Update" at end of this post for "new" belt.)
I used clothes pins to help me decide where to place the letters
and hold them in place when it was time to attach
with the foam glue.

I even tried the wreath on the door before gluing to make 
sure that the letters would also look "right" when
 the wreath is in up on a door. 

Clothespins were used to help hold the belt and buckle 
in place during gluing and drying.  The clothespins even 
left little dents in the foam...not very noticeable though.

I was able to wrap the longer side of the belt all the way to 
the back of the wreath.  I had enough length to poke some holes
in it and thread chenille stems through the foam and attach
the belt to the wire wreath form to hold in addition to the glue.

The short side of the belt just barely made it around the belly.

Well, here is my not-perfect-but-fun-anyway
Santa Belly Deco Mesh Wreath.

It's elements are large enough to be seen easily from the street
and hopefully bring a smile to someone's face.

When Santa's Belly Wreath went to work, my co-workers thought
that it needed more "sparkle".  It came back home to get glammed
up a little with some glitter on the belt. 

First I fixed the too-short belt by cutting the original piece
of belt into a pointed tab to imitate the end of a belt and then
added a new longer piece of belt under that.

Then I started putting some of the specialty foam glue
 onto sections of the belt with a paintbrush and then

 sprinkling glitter onto the glue.

I added black glitter to the belt then green glitter to the buckle.

Here is the new improved glittery belt:

It actually looks more sparkle-y in person.
Hope the girls at work will like it better now. 

Some other deco mesh projects I have instructions for are


  1. Very fun and cute! Perfect for work!! I would never have guessed to run the ribbon across the framework like that, thanks for showing us how!

  2. This is way too cute! I think of you every time I pass the deco mesh at Hobby Lobby. I actually used it for the first time ever on my tree this year! Have you seen a candy corn made out of it? My neighbor had one and it was so cute. Wish I would have taken a pic of it!

  3. You can almost see his tummy jiggle as he laughs ho ho ho!

  4. I love how large and poufy it gets! Very cute. Kitty, as for the rum balls. I use my hands, as I have seen my sister, who is a dipping queen, do. By using your fingers, you can shake off the extra chocolate on the rum balls. It is messy, but fun. Hope you like them. We gave them out to two friends last night -- they are in love. Joni

  5. It turned out beautifully! I just played with some of that mesh for the first time this year and then helped two friends do their trees with it. It is fabulous. How well it fills out the jolly old elf's belly! I adore Pinterest too. Too many fun, fun ideas. Thanks for the fabulous tutorial.

  6. Oh that is just so cute. You did great job!~ I would not have the patience for all that measuring and I probably would just wing it. I am so happy you shared it with the knock off party. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you.

  7. Precious wreath- Thanks for the tutorial. I will make one of these next year.
    A time saving tip- You can buy red work wreath forms already made with the tinsel tips so you dont have to paint the wire form or ties.
    Thanks again! Merry Christmas

  8. This is so cute! It does look just like Santa's jolly belly with his belt. Great tutorial. Thank you for linking up to the Better Late Than Never Christmas Inspirations bloghop!

  9. This is so cute! Would love if you'd join our Countdown to Christmas link party! Hope to see you there! Have a great week! :)

  10. Thanks for your visit!
    I thumbtack them to the ceiling. My ceiling is plaster so it chips a little but you can't see it. I often pick the same hole and it works great. I am going to add that as you weren't the only one that asked! Have a great weekend.

  11. Hey there, thanks so much for linking up to our Countdown to Christmas link party. We're excited to tell you that we featured your Santa Belly Deco Mesh Wreath! Hope you’ll continue to link up with us! Merry Christmas! :)

  12. Thanks for the step by steps directions. I love this, very creative.

  13. I love it Gayle and the way you explain things is just brilliant. I'm really having so much fun on your blog :D


Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to comment on my blog!

© Miss Kopy Kat. Design by FCD.