Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rectangular Wreath Tutorial

Last year, I decided a departure from round evergreen wreaths was in order.

I grabbed some thrifted picture frames and went to work securing the fresh green boughs to my rectangular frames with florist's wire. Perfect! All was well until I went to hang them up. After a few days, they began to sag - terribly!!! I quickly realized my mistake - picture frames are stapled together. Staples don't hold up to rain and wind and heavy evergreen boughs. I removed the wire holding the boughs, rescued those fragrant boughs, and dug out my old stand-by, the round wreath frames. I re-wired my boughs in place, put on the bows, and called it good.

In the back of my mind, I knew I still wanted to do something different for this year, but over the summer, I never got around to figuring out just what kind of material would make the best frames for my wreaths. Since I hang my wreaths from Command by 3M hooks on glass doors and windows, I knew it had to be super lightweight, so wood was out.

Wandering through the plumbing department one day in early December, I spied - PVC! Strong, lightweight, cheap and paintable. The only NASTY element - the glue. When I say nasty, I mean, as in DEATH THREATS all over the packaging. Seriously. I took my neurological life in my hands and took the whole project outside - and still got a headache! I used a skill saw to cut the PVC because we don't have a special tool for the job - it took about 20 minutes.

So here it the result - 3 ten foot lengths of 3/4 inch PVC and two contractor bags of elbows.
Four 12x18" frames and one 18x24" frame.

A little plastic spray paint (which doesn't cover well when there is snow in the air and you're wearing gloves to paint, but that's o.k.!), and 4 bundles of evergreen boughs - cuttings from the Christmas Tree business just down the road. A hint here - pick the softest, moistest, most fragrant boughs they offer - your hands will thank you!

Start by securing a hanger at the top of your frame - I use 18" of strong floral wire, doubled and wrapped in florist's green tape. I use needle nose pliers to make sure it is very secure - these will get heavy.

After securing the wire to the frame, I began cutting bundles of greens and wiring them on tightly. Since the boughs will loose moisture and shrink over the season, 'tightly' is a key.

I went right to the corner and than overlapped the ugly ends with the first bundle on the next side.

Does everyone know there is a 'good' side,

... and a 'not so good' side to branches?

I like to mix it up, but for the most part, I choose to put the best side up when wiring on those branches! I like to use many small bundles rather than big clumps of greens since the smaller bundles tend not to roll around the frame like the big bundles do! Go all the way around and just shove the first bundle aside while you wire the last one in place - or ask for help if extra hands are around. Take a minute to fluff it all up, look for bald spots and make sure it's all secure.

Next, the hair cut - because no matter how hard you try, you will have some wild hairs there that need a trim. One tip here - cut from the top of the offending branch, on an angle, so that the resulting white cut edge doesn't show.

Last, a bow, and you're ready to hang - though you could get all fancy and add pine cones, or whatnot. I was embracing simplicity (and running out of time)! The ribbon is from Sam's Club- it is crimson velvet on gold, and I love it on my red door!

When the work is all done and you've used some olive oil to get the 'sticky' off your hands, have your son make you some nice hot chocolate! Doesn't he do a great job? I don't mind the chocolate dribbles one bit!

My spare bits and pieces of greens found their way around the old frames, and are transforming my thrifted urn into something wintery!

So, now the wreaths have pretty much survived the season, so I can proclaim them a success. I know it is too late for you to use this tutorial this year, but tuck it into the back of your mind for next year - and enjoy a little change of pace with your evergreen wreaths!

TOTAL COST for 2 round wreaths, 4 large rectangular wreaths, and one x-large rectangular wreath - $24, and I plan to re-use the PVC frames for many years to come!

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  2. Nice! I love anything that departs from tradition! PVC was brilliant.


  3. Thank you for sharing this...it's really beautiful. Oh, that hot chocolate has my name all over it....


  4. Just lovely Heather. Happy Christmas from Ireland!


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