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Natural Wreath How-To with Swallows and Damsons

by Grace Bonney

For many, creating a winter wreath marks the beginning of the festive season. This month, friends and siblings of all ages started the holidays by coming along to one of our wreath making classes. They came to to let their imagination loose with all the wild, gnarly and textured branches and foliage that we had to offer. I love watching a wreath evolve over the winter months — how it dries and how the foliage changes color from green to rusty browns. So when the holidays are over, hold on to the new dried version of your wreath and enjoy it until spring comes.
In this tutorial straight from our school, I’ll be showing you step by step how to create an organic, lush wreath using traditional methods. Enjoy! —Anna of Swallows and Damsons
Photography by India Hobson 


Step 1

The first step is moss the frame of the wreath. This natural base acts as a sponge that soaks up any moisture and in turn feeds the foliage to keep it looking fresh for longer. Fix the wire to your frame in a knot. This can now stay attached for the entirety of the wreath making process.

Step 2

Take a handful of moss and place onto the frame next to the spot where the wire is attached. Now hold onto the moss with one hand and with the other, wrap the wire around and around until it is secure onto the base. Repeat all the way around the frame until complete.

Step 3

Select your foliage and cut each stem or branch into smaller pieces. I think of each little bunch as being the size of a hand span so the pieces that you cut should reflect these proportions. Take 3 or 4 different foliages and hold them together in a small bunch. Place them flat onto the moss next to where your wire is still tied. With one hand, hold onto the foliage and with the other wrap the wire around the moss base and the bottom inch of the stems from the small bunch of foliage until it feels secure on the base.

Step 4

Continue to add the small bunches, each time wrapping the reel of wire just around the bottom section of the stems. Layer the bunches all in the same direction, gradually staggering them around the wreath. I try to alternate one pointing slightly into the center of the wreath and then one pointing slightly outwards.

Step 5

As you work your way around the circle and get close to where you started, there is less room to place the greenery onto the moss. A handy tip is to lift up your first bunch and tuck the last two underneath to give a seamless join.

Step 6

Add a ribbon to hang your wreath or make any decorative additions such as pine cones, dried fruit slices, feathers and cinnamon. Wrap a small wire around each item and poke it through the moss, turning the wire back on itself to secure and ensure it doesn’t fall out!

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