November 28, 2013

Make A Wheat Sheaf

One iconic symbol of Thanksgiving is a wheat sheaf.
It symbolizes a rich and plentiful harvest. 
Wheat sheaves also remind us of the strength of being with
friends and family...bound together the strands of wheat are
strong but a stalk by itself will bend and break easily.
You can make your own wheat sheaves to use in Fall and
Thanksgiving decorating.  You can also add dried grasses
to the wheat to add interest to the sheaf. 
Being the cheap-y that I am, I thought that maybe by
cutting some wheat-ish looking weeds growing near my
house, I could make an inexpensive sheaf.
There were several different types of weeds to cut. 
I tried to keep the types and sizes separate.
Here's how the weeds...well, let me call them grasses, looked
after the green leaves had been stripped off.
After seeing the meager results of all the work of gathering,
hauling, stripping the grasses, I decided that the wheat bundles
that I had previously thought were too expensive in the craft
stores starting looking like a good deal (especially on sale).
The wheat bundles cost about $3 each on sale.  Here's what
I had to work with to make wheat and grass sheaves.
I came across a Martha Stewart tutorial on how to mix wheat
and grass in a sheaf so it must not be too tacky.
The tutorial instructed to make smaller bundles of the grasses
and wheat and bind them with floral tape. Keep the heads of
the materials at the same height.  Keep the tape at about the
same level on each bundle. Floral tape can be found in the
floral section of craft stores.  It has to be stretched as it is
applied to expose/activate the stickiness.
At first I followed the tutorial but I took it apart when I saw
that my wheat and grass bundles in the center were being
covered up by subsequent bundles added. I made a false
center of dried stems hot glued together  to make the
 sheaf look fatter than it actually was to save materials.
You do NOT have to do this step.  If you have enough materials
just grasp a few wheat or grass bundles in your hand, bind them
together with floral tape to make a center.  As you add more
bundles, twist the stems slightly as you add them. The
twisting helps the sheaf to stand on its own.
Keep the heads of the bundles at the same height as
you add them.
Here's how mine looked with the false center adding some
wheat and grass bundles:
The bigger the bundle gets the harder it is to hold it
without getting a cramp in your hand.  I decided mine
looked pretty good without using all the product and also
I hated just covering up the bundles in the center more.
When you get the fullness that you want, cut the bottom of the
stems straight across at first. 
To make the sheaf stand by itself, you might need to cut the
center stems a little shorter.  This was about the trickiest
part of the whole project...making the sheaf stand alone.
Well, making my main sheaf not being as fat as Martha's
 left me with some wheat and grass left over.
A couple of smaller sheaves were made to go on either
 side of the large sheaf.  For these, only wheat was used. .
I learned that this is called "bearded wheat".  These came
from Hobby Lobby and Jo Ann's.  To try to make these
quicker than the first one, I did not tape bundles together.
Tape about 10 stalks together for the center then add a
few stalks at a time with the floral tape.
Add more stalks to center bundle...
...then tape down.
With this technique, the tape stayed at the same level easier.
Is it because I am cheap that I didn't want to use more
wheat than necessary to make a "fine" sheaf?  I still did
not use all the wheat up with these two sheaves.
Tried as I might, I was not able to make these smaller
sheaves stand on their own.  Maybe I didn't twist enough?
Too tall with a smaller amount of stalks? Didn't cut the bottoms right?  Don't know.
To solve the problem I held the stalks in a clear glass
container and added dried white beans around the stalks.
I learned the hard way to add the ribbon to the stalks
and move the sheaves to the place they are going to be
before placing the beans around the stalks.
I had found some ribbon with wheat sheaves on it that I
thought was perfect but, since I decided not to make a bow
on the sheaves but just keep it simple and wrap the ribbon
enough to cover the tape, the sheaves don't really show up.
The ribbon cuff was just hot glued on the sheaves.
Also in the dining room is a turkey made with grasses so
he ties in well with the grass and wheat sheaf.
I love him.  I saw him while I was on a trip and had to
have him even though he had to travel in the airplane
in my lap to get home.
Yikes...still had wheat and grass left over!
Some of the grass bundles that had big bushy heads were
not used in the main sheaf because the tape fell at a
place where ribbon would not cover it.
I decided to make them into smaller sheaves and add a
collar of  wheat bundles (wheat bundle  heads lower than
 the grass heads) to use on the kitchen table.
These sheaves were wrapped with burlap ribbon.
These Pilgrims were purchased years ago when we
had an A.C. Moore store here. They just have
some floral picks arranged around them.
In trying to use up more left over wheat, but running out
of time, I made wheat arrangement with a glass vase and
more dried white beans.
The wheat stalks were lined up in bundles with the heads
at the same level. 
Measure how tall you want the arrangement to be and cut the
stems a little shorter than that.
sorry for the bad background on these photos...cutting the stalks makes a mess and
with company coming, I couldn't mess up the dining room again.
Push the hand held bundles into the beans in the vase.
Keep adding more bundles into the beans.
You could use another shape vase also. 
This one gives kind of a contemporary spin on a wheat sheaf.
This way to display wheat was the fastest one I tried.
In my typical last minute blogging style (which I hate) even
though I started gathering the grasses, etc. back in September
and am just now getting the project finished on Thanksgiving!
Hope YOU are having a great Thanksgiving!


  1. Gorgeous. I love wheat and need to make some of these. I have a couple bundles that I decorate with all the time. Happy Thanksgiving. Hugs, Marty

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