How to Make a Wreath, Step by Step

December  4, 2014

Today: We're wreathed in smiles, and here's why.

If you think of wreaths as staunchly holiday-only, we’re here to convince you otherwise. With the right foliage, a wreath can work in any season—consider them a longer-lasting version of a bouquet. They’re a beautiful way to decorate your door (actually, they’re the only way we know how to decorate a door); they can last for months; they’re hands-down the best hostess gift ever; and you can make them at home—even if you don't have hours of spare time or a penchant for crafting.

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We brought in some experts to teach us the technique: the duo behind Franki Elizabeth, a floral design studio in New York. 

More: Or pick up your own citrus wreaths, peony wreaths, magnolia wreaths, boxwood wreaths, or fragrant pod wreaths in our shop.

Onto the wreath you're making—you’ll need the following:

  • Metal wreath form (we used a 12-inch round form here but pick any size you like -- you can find them online and at most craft stores)
  • 22-gauge floral wire, cut into 5-inch strips
  • Floral shears
  • Wire cutter (use something sturdier than your floral shears) 
  • 3 different types of greenery (2 types of evergreen, like juniper or pine, and 1 type of a more delicate greenery like bay leaves, holly, magnolia, herbs, or flowers)
  • Ribbon or twine for hanging

Here's how it's done:

1. Lay out your greens, grouping them by type.

It's a good idea to do this outdoors—or spread out some newspaper indoors. This can be a messy project, and you don't want to be sweeping up holly sprigs for days.

Make 6 bunches of each type of greenery (for a total of 18 bunches). To make each bunch, cut 4 to 5 pieces of the greenery using your floral shears (good, sharp shears will make this task infinitely more easy). The pieces should be about 5 to 7 inches long.

2. Begin attaching the bunches—one by one—to your wire frame.


Tie each bunch on with the 5-inch pieces of wire. Each bunch should overlap with the previous one to cover the stems. Spin the wreath as you add on more bunches, working in a counter-clockwise fashion until you come full circle.

More: You deserve some eggnog for all this effort.

3. Take a look. 

Once your wreath is complete, check for any gaps and adjust as needed. Depending on how polished you want your wreath to look, prune any excess stems or foliage; the end result should look have nicely landscaped curves around the outside. Hang your completed wreath with ribbon or twine. Keep in mind that a wreath is delicate, so if you're planning to gift yours, make sure it's carefully secured in a box when you transport it.

More: Feeling confident? Get even fancier wreath inspiration from this book.


A few more tips from Franki Elizabeth:

  • If you include flowers, pick a variety that will dry well and hold their shape—a dried wreath can last up to a year, and we're all for longevity when it comes to decorating. Hydrangeas and peonies both work beautifully.
  • Don’t feel confined by this formula! A wreath with a single type of greenery looks just as beautiful as one with three different plants woven together.
  • When you begin layering, pay attention to covering the stems of each bunch. You want the finished wreath to look as full and lush as possible. 
  • For extra credit: Weave eucalyptus or lavender into your wreath to scent a foyer or room. It's prettier and more creative than a scented candle (and lasts longer too!).

Do you have any special holiday craft projects? Tell us in the comments! 

Photos by James Ransom

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  • AntoniaJames
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • Dina Moore-Tzouris
    Dina Moore-Tzouris
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


AntoniaJames December 4, 2014
Very helpful, Posie. I'll be trying my hand at one with local eucalyptus (from the redwood forest near my house, where eucalyptus grows like a weed), prunings from my blueberry bushes (now in pretty shades of deep cherry red) and Meyer Lemon tree, with perhaps some cuttings from the 6' x 30' rosemary cover on the retaining wall above my lap pool. Add winterberries growing locally for color, or perhaps the deep cherry red blossoms on the New Zealand tea trees just starting to bloom in my back yard Also wondering if the profusely growing leaves on the jasmine hedge outside my patio door might also be called into service. Oh, this is going to be fun! Thank you for the tutorial, Posie! ;o)
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Posie (. December 4, 2014
Oh my gosh, that all sounds beautiful! I will say that the eucalyptus wreath we have in our office is really stunning. Good luck! Please send us a photo!!!
Dina M. December 5, 2014
Wow AntoniaJames! That sounds amazing+inspiring! Pines and holly are about all that is growing here in NY right now--well, maybe some herbs that are left in the herb garden. I love wreath making, and this tutorial's organizational steps make great sense for a beautiful finished product!