Wreath-making is not just a craft for me; this is an opportunity to get outside and experience the forest surrounding the Black Hills in the wintertime: to hear the chatter of red squirrels, the electric zip of pine siskins, and listen to the see see see calls of ruby crowned kinglets foraging in the evergreens. Time seems to slow within the solitude, with the slow metronome crunch of one’s boots in the snow and the click click click of clippers nipping off the tips of Black Hills spruce trees.
One of my favorite aunts showed me how to make these wreaths, and ever since she’s taught me, I’ve been making wreaths practically every year. They make great gifts for teachers and friends, plus look great on your own front door.
Roll of jute string
A large piece of cardboard (big enough to accommodate a 16-18″ wreath)
Shower curtain ring (to hang wreath)
Evergreen boughs cut approximately 10″ long
Pine or spruce cones
Hot glue gun
Make the Wreath Form:
- Tie a pencil around the end of a piece of string and pin a thumbtack to the other end. Measure the radius of the wreath you want to make (I usually make somewhere between a 16-18″ wreath, so have about an 8-9″ length of string).
- Pin the end of the thumbtack into the center of the cardboard piece. While holding the thumbtack in place, pull the string taught and use the pencil draw a circle to form the outside perimeter of your wreath.
- Subtract 4 1/2 inches from the string’s length. Again, pin the thumbtack in the center of the cardboard box, draw the string tight, and use the pencil to draw the outline of an inner circle.
- Cut along the lines you drew…and wallah! you have a wreath form (hint: if you are making several wreaths, use this form as a template and trace its outline for the additional wreaths you’d like to make.
Make the Wreath:
- Wrap the jute three or four times around the top of the wreath form and tie once or twice with a sturdy knot, leaving a little extra string (about three inches).
- Twine the jute around the cardboard wreath form (like you’re making the stripes of the candy cane; keep each “stripe” about 1-1/2″ apart.
- When you get back to the piece of extra string, tie both ends together.
- Your form should look like this:
- Now the fun begins: starting at the top, tuck the largest stem of the evergreen boughs under the wrapped jute until you have about 6-8″ of evergreen exposed. I usually use about three boughs per stripe, but it depends on what type/size of evergreen you’re using.
- Progress from one string to the next, tucking your way around the entire wreath. When you get back to the beginning, use your boughs to conceal any exposed jute.
- Decorate as desired…(or leave plain). Fasten the shower curtain ring around the jute at the top of the wreath.
- Close your eyes and inhale.
- You done good.