Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Garlands & Wreaths

By Brett Lund

This blog post I wanted to focus on something that I find when I talk to a lot of people they get very overwhelmed and can’t do. The project that I’m talking about is garlands and wreaths. Now before you say, “here we go again, I just won’t do one” bear with me. You will find by the end of this post that you will not only think that wreaths and garlands are not scary, but I bet you will discover how easy they are.
Having said that, I’m going to start by talking about wreaths. Roberts Crafts has many wreaths available for sale. They have your basic green wreath, they have twig wreaths, they have wreaths with pinecones, and many others. The wreath that I decided to do my project on is the basic lighted wreath.

Why did I choose a lighted wreath? I am a sucker for lights. This wreath was very reasonable in price and it was nice and full. Now some advice for you: when you purchase the wreath, when you get home, fluff it out. You are probably saying “Fluff it out?” Imagine the wreath as a living wreath and bend out the branches from being so flat from the shipping. The great thing about fake wreaths (I say fake because it is not a living wreath) is that the branches can bend to any position that you will like. You will love this because If you knew how little glue I used you would say how did you do that? My answer is that I used the branches to my advantage. I bent them all around each of my decorations. Now a word of caution, remember the shape of wreaths is round, so keep your wreath to that shape. Don’t bend the branches out of it’s natural formation, or the wreath will definitely look fake. 

Gather your supplies that you are going to use. I used some picks, some ornaments, some small frame signs, and some medium and large snowflakes, along with some ribbon. I know people who like to assemble the wreath completely on a table or desk. I personally like to hang it up and arrange the wreath hanging up. It’s just what you decide and your preference.  

I take the ribbon, and weave it throughout the entire wreath. If you wanted to wrap it around the wreath, go ahead and do so. The ribbon that I used has wire in it , so once the ribbon is wrapped around the wreath, make sure you stretch out the ribbon. Set the wreath off to the side and decide what things you want to layer first. I like to layer the big things first. Almost as a focal point.

With this large ornament I wanted to show you the wire that I cut. “Oh my Heavens!” I can hear you say. “You cut the wire!” Yes, I did. Make the ornaments work for you. Don’t feel obligated to use every piece of the ornament. If there is wire on the ornament that is used for hanging and you don’t like it. Cut it off. Alter the ornament to suit your needs. 

You will notice that there are the large snowflakes and there are the small ones mixed in with them. Also notice hos the red snowflakes make a visual triangle, and the white snowflakes make another visual triangle. That’s a rule of design. Make things in visual triangles. Also, look at how I’ve used the rule of 3. “What’s the rule of 3?” Well, here you go: when you design try to use things in either 3 or odd numbers such as 5 or 7. You always want things to be a little off. It makes the piece that you are designing a bit more visually interesting. Another thing that I want to point out is notice the snowflakes. Do you know how I attached them into the wreath? All I did was put them into the wreath and then wrap the branches around them. You will learn how nice it is to have wire wreath branches. Bend them and move them to your advantage. This is something that a lot of people don’t know. It’s ok to bend them and hold in your decorations. This is also a great way not to use so much glue. 

If you look at the close up of this picture you will notice frames. Now if they had hooks on them, I would just twist the branches and have them hang off the branches. But they had no hooks, so I sat them on top of the branches and I applied some glue to a branch and glued the frames to the branches. I then took the branches around the frames and bent them around the frame. It makes the frame look like it is nice and snug in the branches. 

In this picture you can notice three more things that have added. First thing is I took red and silver ornament balls, took the tops of them and took them off the balls, put a drop of hot glue on the top and snap the hook back onto the ball. This makes it possible that when I get three balls, I will thread them on a piece of floral wire, twist them together, and stick the wire into the wreath. Once again, remember the rule of three here. Three balls make a great statement. If I really wanted to make a statement, I would have had one ball bigger then the other two. The second thing that I added is the snowmen. These snowmen are so cute and I loved how they were bending down or throwing a snowball. I took a branch, and threaded it in between the hands or the legs and twisted the branch around. The snowmen stay put and they look like they are having fun. The third thing that I added was the silver star picks. All I do with these ones is spread out the stars on the top, and stuff into the wreath. If you see the wire coming out the bottom, take the pick back out, and fold the pick in half and then stick back into the wreath. Super easy, very classy!

This is another close up of the ornaments and snowflakes and frames. I love how everything goes smoothly together.

This is the picture of what the wreath looks like. I love how everything turned out. I love how there was very little glue that got used. I didn’t even burn one of my fingers! I love how it lights up, and I love how everything is so well coordinated. Now wasn’t that easy to design your first wreath? Shall we move onto our garland? Don’t get afraid, It’s so easy. 

The first thing that I do before I do anything else is I “fluff” the garland out. Remember we are folding the garland to look natural, so make sure that the garland’s boughs are bent out and looking good. 
I also added bows to the right and left side of the garland. Now I will be honest with you, I don’t know how to tie a good professional bow, so what did I do? I purchased my ribbon from Robert’s Crafts, and I had a designer there fold them for me. You can do the same. You will have to pay a little fee for the bow getting tied professionally, but it adds so much to your garland. I love how the designer used two colors and tied everything together. I also like how there are tails for the bow. Just remember because there is wire in the bow, spread out the bow. Don’t leave it looking like someone just sat on it.  

Just like the wreaths, I used a lot of different picks. Both berries, snowballs, and assorted picks all are going to look so awesome for this garland. I also used ornaments scattered on the garland.

With the picks remember to spread them out, don’t just throw them into your garland. You want them to look realistic. And if when you put them in the garland you can see the end of the pick, bend the pick in half and re-tuck back into your garland. 

In both of these pictures, I wanted to show how I incorporated the picks into the garland. I first opened them up, placed them into the garland, then wove the garland in through them. It makes the garland look like they are supposed to be part of the garland. It adds dimension to the garland. 
In this picture I have added red and white poka dot ornaments. Now you are probably saying, “wait what about the rule of 3?” Yes, if you look at the final example, It shows the rule of 3. In this picture I ran out of the ornaments and had to run back to Roberts to get more.

If you look at this picture, you will notice more of the picks coming out of the garland. I’ve got to admit, I love picks so much. They make your garland, wreath, or tree look fuller and they add so much to your decoration. Not to mention that they aren’t expensive at all. Don’t feel like you have to use the entire pick either. If you like a part of one pick and a part of another pick, take the parts that you like and make a pick of your own choosing. That’s what makes our garland so neat. I can take parts of one thing and add them to another thing. 

This is a picture showing how everything is incorporated together. The picks, the ornaments, the snowballs, everything. I love this garland. It turned out so awesome.

This is the final product. Look at how well everything came together. Did you notice I didn’t use one drop of hot glue. I love that. I love knowing, if I don’t like it, I can change things around. I can move things, and take things out. I like knowing at the end of the season, I can take it apart and store it, and next year break it out and put it all back up. I hope you enjoyed reading this post. I hope you also realize that making wreaths and garlands is very easy, and with the product that Robert’s Crafts sells, it makes your wreaths and garlands look extra special. If you start on your garland or wreath and realize and get stuck, feel free to ask any of the Robert’s Crafts associates to help you and they would be willing to. Look forward for my next two blog posts. They will be on quick and easy neighbor gifts for the Christmas season.

Until then, Happy Crafting!

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