Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wreath me baby!

I mentioned here that Anna M and I conducted Operation Craft a few weekends ago. One of my goals, aside from painting my dining chairs, was to create new matching wreaths for my front doors. We now have two front doors in our new house so I didn't have two of the same wreaths. I searched high and low for options - and I was a bit ADD about it - or maybe bipolar. I get myself confused sometimes.

At one moment I loved whimsical and sparkly...another I liked earthy and natural. In the end I opted for something I could use during the year if I needed to. A burlap wreath. I found my inspiration from here and here. I loved the use of the letter too.

So off I went to Home Sweet Home Hobby Lobby for supplies. Don't worry. I had no idea what I needed. Because I'm prepared like that. I bought the following:

1. 2 wire wreath forms
2. floral wire
3. 2 wide spools of burlap ribbon
4. 3 medium spools of burlap ribbon
5. 2 bronze "S" letters
6. small spool of deco mesh-like ribbon in a gold/bronze color (for a little sparkle)

I already had plenty of ribbon options for the bows.

Here's where if I was smart I would show you a tutorial of how I made them. I'm not that smart.

Essentially I looped the burlap and with each loop would put a pinch of wire around it to allow it to stay firm. Since the wreath form had two circles, I did the wide burlap on the outside and the smaller ribbon on the inside. In hindsight, I might have made it a little tighter or maybe even used ribbon with a firmer hold or that was wired (mine is a bit floppy). Once the burlap was secured, I weaved the bronze deco mesh-like ribbon around it for sparkle.

And you may notice that they don't actually look like the inspirations. I started with the S in the middle and had plans to put a red bow on it...but when you looked at it from the road you lost it and it didn't "pop". So Anna M came over with some red deco mesh and we added it near the bronze/gold I had already weaved in. Then we added some red snow flakes I bought for the tree and added a bigger bow. That's when it came to life. Sadly my S's didn't make the cut. I may add them back after the holidays if I decide to convert these.

It would look even better if the doors were painted yellow. It's on my to-do list...maybe for 2014 (or 2015?).

So two wreaths down...only one to go, which promptly turned in to two. Confused yet? Yeah me too.

We both had the idea of doing a custom Christmas ball wreath. To be sure we could make them for cheaper than in stores AND we could pick the colors. Awesome, right? I decided to tackle it first. I chose several containers of Christmas balls - some normal size, some small (to fill in gaps) - in my colors (orange, gold, bronze and teal).

We had a hard time figuring out the best wreath form so I went with a Styrofoam form like this one. I bought one of each size since I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I initially was doing this only for my dining room. The other option we saw on Pinterest was to wire the balls using a coat hanger in to a circle. That seemed too complicated to me and I opted for gluing. Anna M opted for the wire hanger. Let's just say that if it weren't for her "this is not going to beat me" attitude, her wreath might have ended up in the trash.

So let me show you how I did this wreath(s)...

Disclaimer: what you are about to read is my second attempt. The first one, while successful, had a few bumps in the road! Oh and this will be a short tutorial. You'll need to you use your imagination between step 3 and 4 thanks to the magic (and my laziness) of fast forwarding.

Step 1: pick your drink of choice. You're going to be here for a couple of hours. This is not hard but it is a little tedious (which is why mine has caffeine). I did it in front of the TV and it made it less so.

Step 2: spray paint your wreath form (learned this one the hard way!). Remember to buy spray paint that is Styrofoam friendly. I used a little bit of gold and the whole purpose is to cover up the color of the foam so that if you have little gaps (which you will have), you don't see white or green but rather a pretty color.

Step 3: once I poured all the balls in to a bowl for easy access, I started gluing them (with hot glue) to the outside of the form. Something like this:

Don't get OCD and try to make them even in color. Just glue them on - it will look better than if you did matchy-matchy.

Step 4: keep gluing all around keeping them close together and making sure you put the glue where it won't be seen (another lesson learned the hard way). You'll keep gluing all around with the larger balls and then once those are complete, add the small/tiny balls to fill in gaps and make it even. The tiny balls are important! Otherwise, it gets too fat when you're trying to fill in the gaps.

And with a little imagination and a large time lapse, the finished product looks like this:

And my larger one that's in the dining room looks like this:

They sort've look like the same size in these pictures but the orange/blue one is actually made of full size, medium and small balls while the red and gold is made of medium and tiny balls...if that helps put it in to perspective.
Not good at judging size and distance? Me either. Maybe putting it context will help.

Viola! Custom Christmas ball wreaths that I hope to have for years. I must say that after I made the second one and learned from my mistakes, I'm a little addicted. The first one was a doozie and I made lots of mistakes, had a few third degree burns and ran out of balls. Second one - peace of cake. If it weren't so expensive to get all the balls, I'd make a huge one to go outside on my house.

So there you have it - the second part of Operation Craft. Anyone else make any wreaths this year? I'd love to see pictures!

1 comment:

  1. Ok I want you to make me one (after Christmas with on sale balls) for my door next year!!