Start a new tradition this holiday season by making simple—yet stunning—wreaths using natural, found objects. This is a great excuse to round up family and friends for a fun walk through the woods, or set out solo for a quiet, reflective stroll. Soak in your surroundings as you seek out branches with gentle curves that could form a circle. Gather pinecones, acorns, moss and anything else that catches your eye.
Once you get all of your treasures home, put on some music and a pot of tea and let the natural beauty guide and inspire you. “Sometimes spare lines are the most powerful,” says floral designer Emily Thompson, who made this striking wreath of rosehips, which you can find from late summer through late fall. Make your own version following these easy instructions.
Pinecones, acorns or other organic adornments (optional)
1. Lay your branches on the floor or a big table and choose your favorites. Arrange them in a circle. “I like to include some branches that cross the center of the circle a bit,” Thompson says. “This gives the wreath an orientation so you can decide what is top or bottom.”
2. Bind the branches with florists’ wire, making the wire as unobtrusive as possible.
3. Bind the pinecones, pods and other adornments to the wreath by looping the wire around the objects, twisting to secure, then looping the wire around the wreath and twisting it in the back. Sometimes it is easier to bind your adornments together as a group before you attach them to the wreath.
4. Hang the wreath with ribbon. Thompson likes adding a pop of color with gold velvet or grosgrain.
Making your own wreath out of foraged materials offers more than just a pretty piece of holiday décor. All too often, the holidays sneak up on us, setting a frantic pace that leaves us frazzled. Taking an afternoon to collect objects from nature can have a restorative effect—fresh air, exercise and an escape from the mundane. As you set out, here are some things to consider.
Be Prepared. Take a backpack, pruning shears and a pair of work gloves for handling thorny branches.
Be Aware. Educate yourself on protected species of plants and rules for parks and preserves. Always get permission from the owner before entering private property.
Be Present. Turn off your cell phone, forget about your to-do list and focus on what is right in front of you: the dappled light coming through the trees, the sound of leaves or snow crunching under your feet, and the soft, fuzzy feeling of moss in your hands.
Be Resourceful. Fall is the best time for finding pods and pinecones, and winter months are prime for collecting bark, twigs, lichen and moss. Leave materials outside for a few days to let lingering bugs detach.
Be Creative. Don’t stop at wreaths. Turn a long, sturdy tree limb into a curtain rod. Fashion a pair of earrings from acorns. Use a stump as a stool. Nature offers many possibilities.
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