How to Make a Fall Wreath
There's a wreath that suits every door: modern, country, neoclassical, traditional. If you make a wreath for your door—or wherever else you want to hang it—the style and materials used are entirely in your creative hands. While basic rules exist, you can change-out materials depending on what's available either in local stores, online crafts suppliers or in nature—from your yard. You can also add and remove holiday decorations, like faux black crows or skeletons for Halloween; gourds or turkeys for Thanksgiving.
While the Grand Poobah of Wreath-making won't yank the wreath off your door if it is nonconformist, follow a few guidelines to give your wreath close-up or curb appeal:
- Use consistent materials. Combining bright fake fall-colored leaves with pink dried hydrangeas mixes faux and real. While this is okay for small additions—like berries—the clash of real and faux is confusing and doesn't always look good.
- Consider the size of the door or window, and choose a wreath form accordingly. While forms may look small at the store, don't forget you will be building out from it at least a few inches. Will your door be able to open and close without crushing the wreath foliage each time?
- Make it simple. Easy and simple don't necessarily mean plain and cheap-looking. If this is your first attempt at wreath making, you don't want to tackle anything that is complicated or uses tools with which you aren't familiar or materials that are fragile and hard to find. The wreath above took two hours to make, and materials cost under $15.
- Stay on budget. Speaking of the cost of materials—don't invest in materials that cost more than a nice, fully assembled professional wreath. If you buy $75 worth of materials for one wreath, you need to know what you're doing and be certain it will last for several years. Better yet, stick to that $20-and-under budget—that's part of the fun and satisfaction of creating a do-it-yourself project. Join a crafts club and share materials and expenses.
Start With a Simple Wreath Form
Visit your local arts and crafts store to find grapevine wreath forms or the lighter-colored rattan wreath forms. This one was bought at a local dollar store, along with the faux leaves, crows, and other fall decorations. Buy early in the season, when the decorations and supplies first appear on shelves.
Wire forms are the most versatile and sturdy for wreaths that will bear heavy fruits, vegetables, and evergreen boughs. The grapevine and twisted rattan forms work well with lighter foliage, like fall leaves or any silk or faux flowers, leaves, or grasses. Florist's or floral wire wrapped around the stems can be easily looped through the branches.
Ready? Let's get our other materials and supplies together.
Gather Your Tools and Materials
Gather your leaves, flowers, grasses, seed pods, fruits, berries, or whatever else you want to incorporate into your wreath design.
Fall wreath-making decor:
- 6 or more bunches of fake leaves (do not have to be silk)
- Faux flowers, like mums, sunflowers, zinnias, etc.
- Other greenery (or other colors), like faux ornamental grasses
- Faux fall or Halloween decor like pumpkins, gourds, squash, crows, ravens, skeletons, etc.
Organize your haul and determine what you want to use for the wreath. Store other supplies in your crafts space so that you'll know what you have for the next project.
Wreath Supplies and Materials
As you can see, some of those festive decorations bought at the dollar store didn't make the cut. Here's what did:
- Assorted faux fall leaves in oranges, reds, browns, greens, and yellows
- Faux flowers
- Faux crows
- Wire ribbon
- Florist's or jewelry wire (thin coated wire)
- Wire cutters and needle-nose pliers (already had on hand)
Ready to make a fall wreath?
Cut Stem From Faux Branch
Selecting a branch of the faux fabric or silk foliage or fall leaves, cut one of the stems, using small wire cutters. Leave plenty of room on the stem—you can always cut it shorter if necessary after it has been wired and attached to the wreath form.
Wrap Wire Around Stem
Snip a 3 to 4-inch piece of floral wire. Starting at the bottom of the leaf or flower base, wrap wire securely around the stem, an inch or two. Leave extra wire at the end to weave or attach onto the wreath form. Make sure the wire can't slip off the stem.
Insert the Stem
Insert the wire-wrapped stem into the wreath form. If using a grapevine or rattan wreath, insert the stem through the wreath "branches" and weave or wrap the remaining floral wire onto one of the branches, as shown. As mentioned in the previous step, make sure to leave a couple of inches of wire on leaf or flower stem to attach onto the wreath form.
Use pliers to lightly crimp or secure the wire to the wreath, making sure not to squeeze too tightly, or the wire might snap. Tuck ends of wires into the wreath, so they don't stick out and poke fingers or scratch the door when you hang it.
Cut the Stem
Now that the faux leaf stem is secured by floral wire onto the grapevine wreath, you can cut the excess stem. Why? The less stuff crowding the back of the wreath, the better. Plus, it also might show and look sloppy or negligent. A wreath-making no-no.
Do Leaves Go in Same Direction?
Don't be in such a hurry to whip together a wreath for your door that you slap on the leaves haphazardly. If you look at professionally made wreaths, you'll see that the leaves, foliage, flowers, grasses, etc., are positioned to point or flow in the same direction—usually clockwise around the wreath form.
To achieve this, wire the stems in the same direction and at the same angle, if possible. Even if some of the leaves or flowers bend or flop in the opposite direction, the base stem should be consistent with all the other stems. See arrows in the photo.
Check for Uniformity
As you may have noticed in the previous step, parts of the rattan wreath form were showing. Some wreath makers like the natural look of a grapevine wreath peeking through—it's a matter of personal taste, style of house, decor, etc.
This wreath needed more foliage and looked unfinished or slightly naked without, so another faux-leaf run was necessary. About five more bunches of foliage and some faux ornamental grass was half off at the local arts and crafts store.
Lesson learned: Buy more rather than fewer wreath decorations, especially at stores that carry seasonal items on a limited basis. You can always return what's leftover, or use it for another project.
Add Ornamental Grass
To soften the look of the wreath, add textural interest and some movement, faux ornamental grass was wired onto the wreath's outer edge. It's not necessary to use a measuring tape and space the ornamental grass stems perfectly even—just eye it. If you have a nail or hook indoors (temporarily remove a hanging wall photo or artwork to do so), hang up your wreath at various stages, step back, and see what it does or doesn't need.
Make a Hook to Hang the Wreath
Cut a 5-to-6-inch piece of wire to make a hook for your wreath. Decide what point on the wreath makes a good "top," (it's entirely up to you) and wrap the wire around the grapevine wreath. Use about two fingers to make the loop, and double it, twist it and secure it to the wreath form. Make sure the loop isn't too long—you don't want it to show. Or do you?
Make a Bow
While ribbons and bows are used more often for Christmas and winter holiday wreaths, a bow might be just the right accent for your fall wreath-making project. If the wreath you're creating is minimalist or rustic, a bow probably isn't necessary. But if the color is right—like this see-through wired bow with copper and black metallic dots—then go for the bow.
The wire-edged ribbon helps bow-making novices catch on more quickly. The trick: simply gather same-sized loops—about 5 to 7—then twist, and leave a few inches at both ends. Cut ends diagonally and not at uneven lengths, for a more casual, less contrived look. Attach with floral wire to bottom, top, side or wherever you desire.
Add Faux Crows and Hang Wreath
Using the wire loop made in a previous step, hang it on a nail, hook, or wreath hanger attached to your front door, window, gate, or any spot that screams out, "Wreath me!"
Since this wreath is intended to decorate your yard or door throughout the fall—all three months of it—you can change-out decorations depending on the holiday and your mood.
Other fall decorations you can add to your wreath include:
- Skulls (fake)
- Pumpkins, gourds, and squash
- Indian corn
- Candy on wire or fake candy (candy corn)
- Twinkling LED Halloween lights