Saturday, September 24, 2016

Autumn Wreath

This floral piece is the final decoration for our living room mantle.

I bought all the supplies for this piece from our local Dollar Tree. The total cost was ten dollars. The finished wreath is approximately 25" in diameter. Comparable wreaths from a store like Pier 1 run from about $30 - $60. Here's how I made mine.

I used a 14" wire wreath frame for the base. I had three garlands of fall leaves, three bunches of golden yellow fronds with long dark green foliage, and three bunches of berries with small bright green foliage. I started by taking all the clusters apart and sorting the pieces.

This area in my Studio has poor lighting, thus all the confusing shadows.

I found that the wire frame wasn't the best choice for this project. It would have worked better with a brown willow wreath base where I could poke the stems into the twigs, or a foam base where I could attach the foliage to the base with floral picks. My Dollar Tree didn't have those in stock, so I used what was available. I wrapped twist-ties around the wire frame to provide more surfaces on which to glue the foliage pieces.

I began by attaching the yellow fronds and long, dark green leaves to the back edge of the wire frame. I used a 30º/60º right triangle to help me get a consistent tilt to these pieces which I glued in place with hot glue.

About 3/4 of the way through this process, I realized I could reinforce the glue by adding more twist-ties to secure the fronds and leaves in place.

Next I sorted out the fall leaves. There were some medium-size leaves that were mostly orange/yellow. There were larger leaves that were mostly reds. And there were small leaves that had two leaves attached to a single stem.

I turned the wreath over, then hot-glued the medium leaves around the perimeter of the wire base, being sure to cover the edge where the dark green leaves and fronds were connected.

I glued the small double leaves to cover the inner edge of the center of the wreath. Then I glued the bright green leaves to the main surface of the wire base, followed by gluing the red leaves. This covered most of the wire frame. (I forgot to take photos during these steps, but you can see the progression in this close-up of the finished wreath).

Next step? Cut apart the berries. There were 15 small bunches. I glued twelve of the berry stems onto the yellow fronds, tucked under the medium leaves. I spaced the other three bunches evenly around the wreath center and glued them in place.

While gluing each bunch of berries, I checked for dings. The Styrofoam berries tend to get bunged up. I simply used a marker to color in any of the white that was showing.

Finally, I filled in any places where the wire base was still showing with the few extra medium leaves that I had.

This finished wreath exceeded my own expectations. I think it's beautiful and was pleased that the creative process led me through the difficulties and into some workable solutions. I didn't have a "pattern" or an idea from Pinterest to follow for this craft, so it's a particularly satisfying outcome.

Here it hangs above the mantle to complete this Fall tableau.

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