May 17, 2013

A Wreath For All Seasons

It's fun to have a seasonal or holiday wreath on our front doors
or mantels but it can get expensive and time-consuming to 
have a separate wreath for each occasion.  

When I saw a new burlap-looking deco mesh at Hobby Lobby,
I thought that it would make a good wreath base to add 
different embellishments, ribbons, etc. to change it up.
This deco mesh seems to have more body and be more weather-
-resistant than actual burlap but gives "the look of" burlap
 which a very popular trend now in even the most high end looks.

To begin the wreath base, get a 18" or 19" wire wreath form
in the floral section of the larger craft stores. They are usually
less than $5.  You will also need tan craft paint and a package
of tan chenille stems (we used to call them "pipe cleaners"). 
It also helps to have glue to keep the stems from sliding around.

Paint the wire form with two coats of craft paint. It does not
have to be perfect but it helps hide the form.

Place about 8 stems around the outside wire of the form and
about 7 stems on the inside of the form.   Bend each stem in 
half like a "V".  Push the ends of the "V" from the backside
of the wreath at your selected points. Then twist each stem 
twice tightly onto the wire wreath form. 

You don't have to glue the stems down, but I like to.
Turn the wreath good side down and glue each stem onto the
wreath form on the backside.  Be sure that the "arms" of 
each stem are facing towards to front of the wreath so
 they can secure all the elements onto the wreath form. 

After the glue has dried, you can start adding the deco mesh.

This deco mesh from Hobby Lobby is more expensive than most of their other deco meshes and it is
not as many feet.  It has a lot of body however and you don't need a lot to go around the wreath.
 You can use a 40% off coupon on the mesh and Hobby Lobby regularly includes it in the 50% off 
ribbon sales.  I could not find it on the Hobby Lobby website to order online.  An alternative to this
product, if you can't get it from Hobby Lobby, is a weather-resistant burlap-looking product from 
the online source Mardi Gras Outlet.  It costs more but it is 30' long. 

Unroll several feet of the mesh.  About 12" from the end of 
the roll, gather the mesh (accordian-style seems to work well)
across the width...this is what gives you the "poufs". 

Keep the gather pinched tightly and place it on one of 
the chenille stem set of "arms". Twist the arms tightly around
the mesh gathered point. 

This is what you first gather will look like with the "tail"
hanging out.  Leaving a tail (to be secured later) keeps the mesh
from pulling through the twisted chenille stem arms.

Move about 12" further down the mesh roll and do 
another gather of mesh.  Without letting go of the gather,
place it on the next set of arms to see if you like how big
the "pouf" will be.  If you want a bigger pouf, let that
gather go and move further down the roll.  If you want a 
smaller pouf, just re-do a gather closer to your original one.

This mesh does not have a finished edge and unravels some.
To give a finished edge, just turn under the edge as you make
your gathers and it will hide the edge and keep it from raveling.

Try to keep your poufs about the same size all the way around.

 Make a mesh pouf that ends on top of the first attachment point.
Secure the end of that pouf with the chenille stem arms of the
first pouf.  Without cutting the mesh, then start making mesh
poufs the same way along the inner wire of the wreath form. 

When you have finished going around the inner wire, cut the
mesh roll about 12" from the end of the final pouf.   

Pull the beginning tail and the ending tail to the backside 
of the wreath form.  Make one tail run along one side of 
the back of the wreath form and the other one going
 the opposite direction. Secure each tail onto the back of 
the wreath form with a half of a chenille stem. You can trim 
the ends if you would like to in order to make them neater. 

Here is what your wreath base will look like:

See all those chenille stem open arms?  They are waiting to 
embrace all sorts of items on top of the "burlap" mesh.
To use the "arms" twist whatever you want on the wreath
with the arms and then pull the ends of the stems to the
 back of the wreath form to hide them.

 When you are ready to change the wreath, untwist the 
stems, take out the old elements and add the new.
 Hide whatever stems are still showing on the front side
 by pulling them to the back of the wreath.

Here are just a few examples to get you started but the
wreath is only limited by your imagination:

With Memorial Day coming up soon, you could add some 
patriotic ribbon to the wreath.  I liked this ribbon because it
had a tan in it to go along with the color of the mesh.

Just use the chenille stem arms to hold down loops of the ribbon
(wired ribbon works best) along the shape of the wreath. 

 You can zig zag the ribbon between the arms that are on the 
outside wire and the inside wire or just pick one or the other. 
 When you are finished attaching the ribbon, pull the ends of
  the chenille stem arms to the back of the wreath to hide them.

Actually, I thought I had bought enough ribbon to make a bow
for this example but just going around the wreath took more
ribbon than I anticipated.  To go around the wreath AND make
a bow, next time I would probably get at least 6 yards of ribbon.

Although packs of flat pre-made bows are one of my least
favorite things ever, these patriotic bows from Dollar Tree were
worth a try (50 cents each).  It's an example of how inexpen-
sively you can add things to your already good-looking wreath.

The gold twisty-tie served a dual purpose of holding the bows
on the cards AND securing the bows together so once they
were untwisted...oops...there goes the bow.  To hide the gold 
twisty it was covered with some cheap blue ribbon in the 
front and tied in the back.  I made it serve a dual purpose
 too by forming a little loop on the back of the bow.

That gave me a way to attach the bow to the wreath with the
chenille stems but not have to tan stem show on the bow.

If the spot where you want an object for your wreath to be
does not already have a chenille stem there, just make another
"V" shaped stem, push it from the back onto a wire, twist
the stem on to the front of wreath (red arrow), and use the ends
of the stem (blue arrow)to hold your object on the wreath. 

 A lightweight object can almost "float" but a
 heavier object might need to be secured closer
to the actual wire wreath form to stay put. 

A wreath like this could be used not only for Memorial Day
but 4th of July, Labor Day, Veterans' Day or President's Day.

Originally, I was going to paint all of the white sections of the
bows a tan color, but that little idea was taking way longer than
I thought it would (does that ever happen to you?). 

Here is ONE bow painted to give you an idea:

So, after Memorial Day, you are going to want a summer wreath.
The mesh almost looks like a fishing net already so you only
need to add a few more things to make it beachy. 

Here are some of the ribbons that I thought about using
for the summer wreath:

The above ribbons are from Hobby Lobby...I promise, I have no connection with them...
I am just addicted to their ribbons, etc. especially when they are 50% off.  

The crazy chicken-wire-coated-with-foam "ribbon" gave the 
most seaside look for this summer wreath.

It was attached just like the original deco mesh on the wreath
with the chenille arms twisted around gathered points.

The foam starfish were so lightweight, they could be attached
with floral wire onto the chicken-wire ribbon.  The fishing
floats are heavier so they were attached with floral wire
directly onto the wire wreath form. 

The burlap look of the wreath is perfect for a Fall wreath.

This inexpensive garland of faux leaves is oh-so-easy to
add to the wreath with the chenille stem arms.  Many
craft stores have similar type garlands for all seasons of 
the year so that is a quick way to change the wreath up. 

Another Fall-ish look (but you could just change the colors
for other seasons) is to use more mesh and a fancy ribbon.

Attach a layer of deco mesh the same way and with the same
chenille arms that you used to make the original base. 
Then add wired ribbon on top of the colored mesh. 

Remember, you can always add more chenille stems to the
wreath form to have additional attachment points for 
your elements depending on where you want them 
to "pouf" or be visually pleasing to the eye. 

Other readily available and inexpensive seasonal items that 
can be added to your wreath are wired garlands, ribbons and
little placards or sayings.  Here is a St. Patrick's Day wreath.

Add the ribbons and garlands with the chenille arms around
the circumference of the wreath.  The placards can be 
suspended with an additional chenille stem attached to the form.

Your wreath can also come in handy for events at your house.

Here's an idea for a bridal shower using ribbon and flowers:

Attach white ribbon in loops with the chenille stem arms. 
This is super-duper cheap wide synthetic ribbon from Michael's.
They have it in good basic looks like satin but feels 
like to use extravagantly then throw away. 

Add faux flowers to the wire wreath form.  Push the stems to the
back of the form and secure with floral wire or chenille stems.

Make the flowers "behave" by securing the ends where you want them  to be with already attached chenille stems or new ones.

This idea would also make a good Spring/Easter wreath with
colorful flowers and ribbons.

Well, I want to try it with long tails too.  Just twist a chenille
stem around two long lengths of ribbon, cut the ends into
"fishtails"  and attach to the wreath form with stem.

A little more "romantic":

Hostessing a baby boy shower?  Add some blue ribbons with 
the original chenille stems...they are long enough to add lots.

You could also add other elements like little stuffed bears,
baby rattles, or letters if you know the baby's name. 

Gosh, I wish I had had enough ribbon to make a big bow too. 

Want an everyday wreath every once in a while?
Choose some fun ribbon and attach loops of it with
the chenille stems.  

This would be a good look with a wooden initial in the middle suspended by chenille stems or invisible fishing line.  
I don't have an initial handy so , thanks, Pic Monkey!

You could use wreath at Christmas too, but maybe you 
should give it a rest from all it's work during the year.

This post was my first guest post ever over a 
Amanda Jane Brown's blog which was published a few
weeks ago.  She said I could re-post it on my blog too which is 
good 'cause it's the only post I've had time to do all month!


  1. I love this wreath and its changing "wardrobe." I love the bunting for Memorial Day! LOL I guess it does need a break at's been working hard all year!

    Oh, and I love the beach one!

    Ricki Jill

  2. I love all of these wreaths! GREAT idea! I always like to incorporate a natural look, and this fits the bill! I am a huge fan of Hobby Lobby....especially love those 40% off coupons!!! If you check back at my blog, I had some posts last year of some of my finds at Hobby Lobby. Thank you for visiting me today and let me know how your kale chips turn out. If you have any tips for me in preparing them, let me know!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  3. You outdid yourself on this one! I love all the versions of the burlap wreath and the best part is you don't have to store half a dozens wreaths to change out with the seasons. Pinning

  4. I love your wreath post, it has lots of ideas. You spent a lot of time on this and it shows. Great pictures.

  5. I love all your wreaths! So much inspiration! Cristina

  6. Hi Miss Kopy Kat!
    You are going to have a lot of people copying your idea! What a versatile wreath. I love each version and I am going to look for that burlap deco mesh. Fabulous idea!

  7. You are the most awesome wreath maker ever! I love the versatility of the one wreath.

  8. Thank you so much for such a detailed tutorial. I just followed your directions and now have a great wreath for my front door! Thanks again!


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