Handmade Holiday Wreath

Yesterday I showed you the wreath I made to go over my holiday mantle-scape.

Now I'm back to show you how I put it together. I knew I wanted to use some brown craft paper I had leftover from an old project, so I headed to Pinterest in search of paper wreath tutorials. Holy cow, are there a lot of them out there! After sifting (and sifting, and sifting) I finally found my inspiration:

Now that I had my inspiration, I set out to scour thrift stores for the cheapest possible materials. Some people go the obvious route and buy a wreath form when they make a wreath, but - hello? - those things are expensive! Not me, I looked high and low for anything that was round, lightweight and cheap. The winner:

... this wicker basket, charger thing. I'll give 1000 bonus points to anyone who knows what that basket thing actually is. My favorite part? The 99 cent price tag.

"But wait," you're surely thinking, "who wants a wreath with a basket-weave center?"

Nobody, that's who. Luckily for me the basket oddity was constructed from 2 main parts so the basket-weave middle could be separated from the wicker band with just a few dozen pries with my flat head screwdriver.

In the end I was left with this round, lightweight yet oddly-asymmetrical (which I didn't even notice until I got the middle out) base on which to construct my wreath. Ta-da!

This is the part where you're all impressed.

Not as impressive is the fact that the edge of the basket was a wee bit broken. I wrapped the joint with tape to stabilize it and keep it from breaking further and called it a day. I knew the fullness of the leaves would hide my patch job entirely.

My inspiration didn't provide much of a tutorial, she only mentioned how long it took her to glue all of those little paper leaves. I made the executive decision to simplify my life by using fewer, bigger paper leaves. Most tutorials I read included making a cardboard template to trace so that all the leaves would be the same size. I did not do this because A) who has time for that? and B) who cares if all the leaves are identical? The answer to both A and B is not me. So my method was this:

-Start with several sheets of craft paper that are 22" x 32".
-Meticulously cut the sheet into 6 even strips using a ruler, a pencil and an x-acto blade.
-Realize that you're wasting your time and that speed is key. Also realize that paying close attention to your task is distracting you from the finer plot points on Glee.
-Haphazardly cut strips of craft paper that are roughly 5" x 22".
-Shoddily cut strips into 8 similar but not-at-all equally sized rectangles.
-Fold (but don't crease) each rectangle in half, lengthwise.
-Think to yourself that the someone in charge must be smoking crack because no teenage boy, gay or not, would wear Kurt's ridiculous half-sweater.

Where do you even BUY a sweater as dumb as this? It's a partial sweater, with a TURTLENECK!
image source
Also, this is stupid, too.

-Cut an arc along the open side of each folded rectangle, creating a symmetrical leaf shape.
-Using a glue gun, attach leaves to the wreath base in neat rows to assure even coverage.
-Panic because the coverage is NOT even and just start stuffing extra leaves everywhere until the wreath is finished, or until you burn yourself with your glue gun, whichever happens first.

I never kept an official count, but I think I used somewhere between 75 and 90 leaves. It is important to note that the fold in each leaf serves two important functions: it allows you to make symmetrical, non-wonky, leaves quickly AND it gives the wreath lots of depth and shadow once you're done. No one wants to look at a flat, dull wreath. And I mean no one.

You could do this with a number of different papers - patterned scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, book pages, black and white photos, whatever butters your toast - to change up the look. However, I would recommend a fairly stiff paper if you want fullness without having to make a zillion leaves.

You likey? Stay tuned for yet more Christmas goodies tomorrow. More than one post in a week? Who am I and where is the writer of this blog?

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