Re-visiting burlap wreath making

It’s wreath making time for me again.  Yes, I am STILL trying to use up the supplies that I have on hand; and I’ve been putting off making the wreaths because they are so labor intensive!  Here is my previous post on wreath making.  I’ve come up with a BETTER way to make them this year though!

First, we have the wire wreath forms.  The ones on the left I got at a garage sale eons ago.  The one on the right with four rungs, I bought at Dollar Tree, but you can get them at any craft store if you prefer to pay a lot more for them!

The first few I started with were made using plastic mesh.  Again, I got mine at DT, but you can pay more at any craft store.  AND you can get wider sizes at craft stores.  this size worked just fine for me though.

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(Pardon the puppy paw at the top of the photo.  I had Willow for the weekend and she wanted to help!)  The bigger white mesh wreath was made using a bigger 2-rung form that I had with the batch from the garage sale.  And the picture above shows my new method for making the wreaths: twist your chenille stems onto your entire piece of wreath material (whether it be mesh, burlap or ribbon) FIRST.  Previously I had added the chenille ‘as I went along’, which gets very tedious!

I cut up my chenille stems ahead of time, before starting on the wreath.  That way, I have them all ready to go and can get into a better rhythm when tufting my ribbon.

By doing it this way it’s easier to take breaks if you need them (which I do with my carpal tunnel!) between strips of material and attaching them to your wreath.  Also, the actual construction of the wreath goes by much faster this way.  Overall, it probably takes the same amount of time, from start to finish to make one; but this new way it feels less laborious.

And then it’s time for embellishing.  I actually made ALL the wreaths and left them plain for a bit; then went back and added the embellishments to all of them at the same time.  I just lined them all up and started sampling the different add-ons that I had on hand.  For the sale of continuity though, I will show each wreath, start to finish.

I went super simple on the 2-rung aqua mesh wreath, and just added a simple gold glitter ‘Believe’ ornament.  On wreathe like this, where I am adding minimal adornments, I do not permanently attach the added decor.   I note on the price tag that the ‘Believe’ is removable; and this adds to the value of the piece because it can be used  without the added piece after the holidays.

Next is the fluffier 4-rung aqua mesh wreath.  On this one, as well as the big white mesh wreath, where I am using a lot of smaller adornments, I glue them on with tacky glue.

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That’s it for the mesh wreaths.  I wish I had written down how much mesh I used on each wreath, because I really do not remember.  I ‘think’ the big white one took 7 of the 5 yard spools.  The fluffy aqua one, 6 spools; and the smaller aqua, 4 spools.  When in doubt while purchasing supplies, buy MORE than you think you will need.  No harm in having extra left over.  But if you don’t buy enough . . . you might not be able to find more of the same when you go back!  Especially at Dollar Tree.  If you don’t buy ALL you want of think you will need at the onset, it’s VERY likely that you will never find more of it again.  And yes, I learned that lesson the HARD way!

On this one, I DO remember exactly how much yardage I used.  This is one of the 4-rung wreath forms, and I used a full 50 yard spool of Costco burlap ‘looking’ wired ribbon, and five yards of the ‘Merry Christmas’ ribbon.  The 4-rung wire forms pretty much take twice as much yardage as the 2-rungs.

This one is made from actual 5″ burlap on a 2-rung form.  Bigger, fluffier folds using 10 yards.

The printed burlap banner is just attached with safety pins on the back, so it is removable; allowing the wreath to be used year round.

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Size comparisons of various wreaths.

Another wired ribbon wreath, on a 2-rung form.  This one took about 40 yards in total.  For the two colors, I first added the print ribbon spaced out; then filled in with the red ribbon.

This one was a real challenge!!  I only had 10 yards of the ribbon to work with, and no coordinating colors to fill in with if needed!!  Fortunately this printed burlap ribbon was wired AND very stiff, so I could really fluff up each tuft and space them out more than with the soft ribbon.  I have to very carefully position each tuft ‘just so’ to hide all the attachment wires, and they will shift a bit with handling; but once hung in place is will be fine.

The turquoise burlap ribbon came from DT, the cream colored from the craft store, and the little big of green in the smaller starfish wreath came from who knows where??!  It was just in my supply box awaiting use.  I did both of these on 2-rung forms; and glued on the starfish.  I thought about making the starfish removable, but couldn’t figure out a way to do that without tying them on; and I didn’t like how that would look.  These took about 20 yards each to make.

2-rung form with 10 yards of the printed ribbon and about 6 yards of the red.  The printed was very STIFF (like the music notes ribbon) so I was able to spread it out a lot more than the solid red ribbon.  The red glitter ‘Believe’ ornament is just attached with chenille stems, so it’s easily removable; making the wreath usable other that just for the holidays.

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In the picture, this one LOOK like it’s all one color.  In fact it is two different shades of gold, because I didn’t have enough of either to finish it.   But I thought I had enough, so I didn’t plan ahead to intermix the two colors as I have on other bi-color wreaths.

The two different colors are just barely discernible, but you CAN see the difference in the picture on the left.  The ‘Joy to the World’ ornament is just tied on to one of the ribbon loops.

This one took 8 yards of the striped ribbon, and about 4 yards of the red.  Again, I didn’t have enough ribbon to complete the wreath and had to get creative.  I used some burlap ticking fabric to make a BIG bow at the top to cover up the area that I didn’t have enough ribbon to cover.

I’ve made a pretty good dent in my wreath making supplies!!  I still need to make a few more, but need to give my fingers a rest.  My right thumb is nearly raw from twisting chenille stems.

Upcycled Ornament wreath

 . . . . and next on my ‘Crafting bucket List’ is making a wreath out of vintage ornaments like this:

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(no, I did not make that one!  That picture is from Pinterest)  Every time I’d see one of these I’d just ‘sigh‘.  They are just SO glorious!!

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(again, picture from Pinterest)  This is actually my ‘dream’ wreath.  The really vintage ornaments in pink and aqua; each one different and in unique shapes.

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So, instead of just ‘drooling’ over the ones I saw on Pinterest, I started reading some of the tutorials.  Alas, they were as varied (and confusing!) as the burlap wreath tutorials.  Heavy sigh.

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I had actually purchased a bunch of the ornaments AFTER Christmas for half price at Goodwill last year.  Then I got so overwhelmed with picking a color and/or theme that I just slapped price tags on them all and took the boxes of ornaments to Stars to sell; and was just going to scratch that one off my crafting bucket list, incomplete.

P1240042Then this last week while out thrifting, I came across a BIG bag of assorted white and silver ornaments.  Yes, ALL of those ornaments were together in one big bag.   Looked like the perfect amount for making one of these wreaths.

P1240043Found this white berry garland and braided seed bead rope garland and figured I could use them as ‘fillers’ for my wreath if needed.

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This is pretty close to how I envisioned MY completed wreath turning out.

343b198ddab9ef2cf1c81f5b965daae3NOW, I just needed to decide which tutorial to ‘trust’.  Some said you could make on in 30 minutes.  HA!!  I spent ALL DAY working on mine.  And SO many of them showed this very same method as the photo above.  Just HOT glue the ornaments to a styro wreath form.  Styrofoam and hot glue do NOT go together well!

6a00e55391c48e88330105366f68d4970cThis ‘wire clothes hanger method’ looked pretty easy.  Glue all your ornament tops on (so they can’t pull off) then just slide your ornaments over your hanger and twist closed.  I had serious doubts that this would work as well as they claimed: the weight of the ornaments would likely turn your round form into an oval.  Besides, I don’t have any wire hangers.  (seriously, not a one!  I hate them!)

5648a1f10634ce60220d2b091f46f55cThis tutorial used a grapevine wreath, and attached the ornaments in ‘bunches’ as opposed to ‘layer by layer’ as did nearly EVERY  other tutorial.  I opted to trust the majority and go with the layering method.  But NONE of the tutorials really went into detail beyond the first few layers.  (NOW I understand why!)

P1240040I opted to use one of the straw wreaths I had on hand, and conceded to the fact that I’d HAVE to hot glue the first few rows of ornaments on.  Hot glue will melt the plastic covering on the straw wreath, so I removed it, and it immediately started shedding and coming apart!  I tore up some strips of muslin and glued them around the straw.  Hot glue will adhere better to the muslin.

P1240045My first outer row consisted of 19 medium sized balls and one smaller one (cuz the bigger wouldn’t fit!)  Hot glued these in place with the loops facing down.  (this is the BACK of the wreath)

P1240047After I hot glued them, I went back over each connection with a dab of tacky glue.  Hot glue tends to not hold too well in the cold and I was thinking of using this wreath for my front door)

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Second layer was on the inside; and took 13 small balls.  Attached with hot glue and reinforced with tacky glue.

P1240051Third layer was on the outside edge again, medium balls between each of the large ones. Since they had the first layer to support them while the glue dried, for this row I used JUST tacky glue.

P1240049Applied my tacky glue like this, them placed that end down into the space between the larger balls.

P1240052This row took 20 of the small balls; same size that I used on the inner row.

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Fourth row was the tiny silver glitter balls (13 of them) between the first inner row balls.  Again, I used tacky glue for this.  Stopped here to let glue dry overnight.

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Nice, neat row after row.

P1240055This is the last ‘defined’ row.  I used my largest balls, glued (tacky glue) one between every OTHER on the second outer row.  After this is when it gets ‘tricky’.  No more perfectly spaced rows.  You just have to fit ‘what you can where you can’.  NOW I understand why none of the tutorials go into much detail!

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I clipped the white berry wreath into individual ‘sprigs’ using wire cutters.

P1240077Got abut 50 individual pieces.

P1240064‘Somewhat’ between the previous layer, I used my biggest balls, but not in a perfectly symmetrical pattern.  You just keep filling the holes with whatever size of ball will fit.  I used my tacky glue as much as possible, and hot glue only if I absolutely HAD to.

P1240062I continued taking photos, but at this point you really can’t tell exactly what I did and I can’t explain it!  Just glue on whatever fits over the ‘bare spots’ where your wreath form is showing through.

P1240066Keep going!

P1240069From a distance, it looks done.  And I’m guessing that this is where most people stop.

P1240071Looking up close and from different angels, there are still a lot of tiny bare spots.

P1240073And they BOTHERED me!

P1240057The snippets of white berries did the trick to fill those annoying little spots.  I just dipped the ends in tacky glue, and shoved them into every crack where the muslin was showing through.

P1240074I SHOULD have attached a hanging loop FIRST, but forgot to.  So this is how I did it ‘after the fact’.

P1240075The backside is not at all attractive!

P1240104Not bad for my first attempt, eh?

P1240100Granted the white berries ‘detract’ from the ‘look’ a bit.  And I probably could have filled the little holes with MORE tiny ornaments.  But I was trying to ‘use what I had’ and if I were to have set it aside to finish later . . . well, you KNOW how that goes!

P1240107Those really ARE silver shiney balls.  They are just reflecting the amber lighting in the room and LOOK gold-tone.

P1240076This is what was left of the supplies.  Just a few large and medium balls.  I used ALL the tiny and small balls and berry sprigs.  Did not use the seed bead garland at all.  Maybe on the NEXT one???

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~::~

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UPcycled White Christmas swag

Found this white swag at the thrift store and decided to get it.

P1160912It’s MUCH prettier in person.  Very fluffy and sparkly.

P1160913The obnoxious burgundy velvet bow HAD to go!  Fortunately it was just ‘wired on’, so I didn’t have to surgically remove it!

P1160917You can see a little bit more of the detail in this picture, but it’s still not a great photo!  sigh.  White just does NOT photograph well!  I HOPE the ‘finished’ photos come out better!

P1170003I stood way back and used the zoom for this picture of the finished swag.

P1170005I tied up bundles of 3 – 5 white/silver ornaments (thrifted of course; some vintage glass, some new shatter-proof) and tied them onto the swag.  It has a nice sturdy wire form on the back, so that is what I tied the ornament clusters to.

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Had to fire up my hot glue gun to attach this ‘Merry Christmas’ glitter ornament to a round ornament.  Also used hot glue to glue the snowflake ornaments in place in the background.

P1170007I really didn’t follow any particular pattern for adding things.  Just added a few and stood back and looked, over and over and over again!  I didn’t necessarily want it to look perfectly symmetrical, rather ‘balanced’.

P1170006After all the ornaments and snowflakes were in place it still needed some ‘filler’ for the gaps between the ornaments.  You can BARELY see it in the pictures, but I added about 2 dozen snippets of sheer and silver ribbon; just tied in a knot with the two ends sticking out.  Hot glue again to attach these.

P1170008The cat nudged me as I was taking this picture, so it blurred.  But I kind of LIKE how it turned out!

P1170007Here’s the non-blurry version; and you can see the ribbon I added in this one, along the bottom.

P1170010I made this as a Christmas gift.

Trying to collect up enough ornaments to make one of those ‘big ole’ ornaments COVERED round wreaths.  LOVE those things!!