Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wreath Making Simplified

Wreath making could become your favorite craft because even on the first try almost everyone is successful. The basic wreath can be any shape that has an opening from front to back as long as the line of the shape comes full circle. Such a heart!

Do you feel like experimenting? Let's try it.

Gather some old newspaper, some string, white glue, rubber gloves, glitter, buttons, bows, ribbons and lace. Oh yes, the tools for this one is some plastic, a pair of scissors and a can of non-stick spray.

Are you ready to get started?

*First lay out the plastic to protect your table.

*Then rip the sheets of newspaper so that each sheet is one full page.

*Lay the paper out in such a way that you overlap corner to corner diagonally. Lay out five or six sheets this way.

*Next twist a few sheets of paper together until you have a frame base formed about two inches thick and two to two and one half feet long.

*Lay this on the paper you overlapped earlier.

Now, go glue crazy. Put on those gloves because as you lay out the glue on the paper you smear it over the frame and start wrapping the other paper around it until you get a smooth slick look to the paper. At this point you fold the frame in half to form the bottom of the heart shape.

*Then you loop the rest of the frame into the full shape of the heart, tie the center together at the top and wrap string around the roll to support the shape.

Don't waste that glue! While the glue is still wet you start designing your heart wreath. Take your lace and start at the top center of the heart, wrapping all the way around. Overlap just enough to keep raw edges of the paper from being exposed. If most of the glue has been absorbed by the lace you can set the wreath aside to dry overnight. Be sure to spray the area you will be using with the non-stick spray before you lay out your project, we don't want it to stick to your plastic. If it is still too damp, add some ribbons and bows in places that you think will look good. If you have an extra damp spot place a button in the spot to use up the glue. Sprinkle with glitter. Now, take a break. Tomorrow you will add more buttons and bows till you get the wreath that you want. All you will need to do is add a little glue and fill out the wreath. I myself made one of these papier-mâché wreaths for my sister's sewing room with scissors, tape measure, seam ripper, thread spools, pins, needles and buttons as the main ornaments on it. Once you have your ribbons and lace on you can choose almost any motif you want to decorate with.

For a babies room...try baby bottles, a rattle, diaper pins, a pacifier, booties, samples size baby powder, baby oil, baby lotion. Do you get the picture? Even the bathroom...a bar of soap, a toothbrush and sample size toothpaste, sample size mouthwash, roll on deodorant, sample size shampoo etc. How about the kitchen? Measuring spoons and measuring cups, a knife, fork and spoon, a juice glass, the sky's the limit when you begin to get creative. Now, this was just an experiment, but all wreath making is basically the same. A frame, a theme, and you!

TYPES OF WREATH FRAMES All wreaths start out with a frame or base. The best price, shape, size, and style are argued by experts all over the world so you will need to experiment with them all until you find which ones you prefer.

Let's see now, grapevine, straw, and moss at one time were the most popular bases by the traditional wreath makers and can still be found at any good craft store. But, there are many much more creative choices available to the modern day wreath maker.

A simple foam base, or mirrored foam base, or wet foam bases for live flowers, drilled wood bases, wire bases and even stuffed bases that you crochet first.

FOAM BASES One of the least expensive and one of the easier wreath frames to work with is a foam based frame. And they come in almost every shape and size that you can imagine. The one major problem with the foam frame is that sometimes it's hard to fill in all the little cracks and crevices. Also, some glue doesn’t work well with the foam and hot glue will often melt the foam according to the type of glue gun you use. But, you can cover the frame before starting the project to eliminate both of those problems. You can use lace, ribbon or fabric of almost any kind to cover the base. Also moss works well.

STRAW BASES Not everyone can afford huge amounts of dried flowers and herbs for their wreath making, especially if they want to change them out with the seasonal changes. In these cases the straw bases have become their first choice, because one nice cluster of herbs and one nice ribbon tied or draped around the wreath will do. And if it is colorful or fragrant or both you seldom need anything more to have a completed project.

WIRE BASES Wire bases can be very exciting because you can quickly whip up a gift for someone in moments if necessary. Just keep the supplies handy for those little emergencies. The supplies you will need are heavy wire, light wire and barbed wire. The tools are wire cutters and needle nose pliers. Then you pick a subject that the person you are creating for likes and twist the wire into that shape, tie on a ribbon or glue on a few odds and ends and the perfect gift is ready once again.

I have seen these done with barbed wire, in the shape of Texas with an old boot wired to it and flowers sticking out of the top of the boot. Priced at those little antique stores for $25.00 to $50.00 according to how elaborate the design was.

VINE BASES Now vine bases are a good choice for many reasons. First, the vine is so nice looking that you can get away with using less of the more expensive materials and leaving a lot more vine showing. Yet, it will still look great. You can give it a country flare or dress it up with the more exotic flowers and be able to decorate the most formal of homes.

To decorate the vine wreath you most often use hot glue or wire and as usual anything goes with crafting. In fact I saw one of the vine wreaths used in a 15 year old girl's bedroom. It had a microphone, a CD, a tiara and a picture frame nestled into the flowers and ribbons...and it was absolutely stunning!

MOSS BASES Nearly everyone likes the moss base because it's so easy to hot glue on them, also you can use floral picks and flowers and greenery just by pushing them into place. And the moss is attractive enough that like the vine wreath you don't have to cover the whole thing.

DRILLED WOOD BASES These are always cut and drilled by the wreath makers themselves. But, the best part is you can come up with shapes that are not seen anywhere else. The drilling is so you can tie in the materials if you want to but you can just hot glue everything instead also.

This is where pine cones and other outdoor findings can be grouped together.

PINE CONES There is one other type of popular wreath, pine cones and nuts only. This is where you can really shine, look for flat sided pine cones for the bottom and hot glue them firmly together. Make sure you have a very tight connection to each pine cone on the bottom row. Then one by one add more pine cones to fill out and round out the top of the wreath. Next hot glue acorns and pecans and walnuts in some of the smaller openings to give more balance. Continue filling in until you feel the wreath is done.

Those are a few ways to make wreaths. Hope wreath making will become your favorite craft!

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