How to Make Wreaths
Shears, thread, wire, evergreens and willow switches - or a wire frame- are your five basic ingredients for a wreath. With just a little practice, the technique becomes easy.
Making the Wreath Foundation
For the foundation, you may use either a hoop made from willow switches or a wire coat hanger shaped inlo a circle-as shown in Figs. 8, 9 and 10. The coat hanger will be satisfactory for light weight wreaths. For the heavier ones which will decorate your door. however, or for wreaths which are to be packed or shipped, you may find a willow hoop preferable. The sprays have less tendency to slip on the wider base of a willow hoop.
For the hoops, select willow switches -or any other pliable canes- about 4 feet long and as thick as the base of your little finger. Shape them into circle of the desired size. (10 to 12 inches in diameter is a good easy-to-handle size.) Wrap the unall end of the cane in, overer, and out of the circle until it holds firm.
If two canes are to be used to form a heavier base. weave the large part of the second willow switch into the thinnest part 0f the circle; then continue weaving it in as you did the first one. Cut off projecting ends, or weave them into the body of the foundation. With pliable pieces of willow, this foundation will usually not have to be tied or wired at all.
Once your frame is complete, it is wise to prepare the greenery so you'll have enough to finish the entire wreath. It is easier to wire sev'eral sprays of evergreens together first instead of trying to wrap each spray to the frame separately. However, you should wire your ornaments to the completed wreath rather than complicating the wreath making by adding them as you go.
In adding the sprays, first tie end of florist's string securely to the frame. Then, holding the frame in left hand, place first of wired sprays on the frame and wrap at least 1 inch of the base of the spray with five or six turns of the string or wire. At least an inch of the 4 to 6-inch spray must be fastened tightly to the frame, so that it will not fall out as the wreath drys.
Add succeeding sprays in the same way, lapping the bushy part over the place at which the preceding spray was fastened, so that none of the wiring is visible. Continue until the entire circle is covered. Then fasten the wire or string tightly. The string or wire used should be kept in one long piece during the entire job of winding tbe wreath. (Figs. 11 and 12.)
Better results will be obtained -especially at first- if you apply your bunches of evergreen in a counter-clockwise direction and, also. if you wrap the wire from the inside toward the outside of the wreath. Once you've mastered the mechanics of the process, you may want to vary the appearance by having the sprays pointed in opposite directions - half of the wreath applied clockwise and half counterclockwise.
Or you may want to spray the lower half of the wreath with a white or silver paint, leaving the upper half in natural green. Another very beautiful variation, as the process becomes easier for ouu, is to make the wreath much thicker at the bottom. (Figs. 13 and 14.)