Winter is upon us, and with it, scant daylight and often gloomy weather. What better way to brighten up your mood than making a vibrant DIY Christmas wreath for your front door? And if you’re trying to make the season as zero waste as possible, a foraged wreath is an easy, affordable, and highly satisfying project. You don’t have to be a gardening expert or florist—all you need is some sprigs of foliage, a few materials, a cosy work area, and your favourite festive playlist! Hot drinks are optional.
Materials you’ll need to make your DIY Christmas wreath:
For your foraged winter wreath, you’ll need the following materials:
- foraged foliage or off-cuts from pruning in the garden
- a frame: either from foraged vines, a premade vine frame or premade metal frame
- a pair of secateurs or gardening scissors
- some floristry or hobby wire
- a pair of gardening gloves, if you are working with holly
- a wreath hanger for your door (optional)
- assorted festive ribbons for decorating or hanging your wreath (optional)
Step 1: Forage for your foliage
For your foraged materials, explore your own garden for foliage or ask a friend, family member, or neighbour if you can take clippings from theirs. Another great way to forage is to scan the local landscape while you’re out walking the dog or going for a run. Look for evergreen foliage in a range of colours and textures for your wreath.
Be mindful when foraging. Never cut from private property unless given permission. To ensure your wreath is environmentally-friendly, only take one cutting from each plant or bush you see. It’s also important to shake, rinse, and examine your cuttings to avoid kidnapping hidden insects or molluscs.
After collecting your foraged materials, you can condition them by placing them in water for a few hours or overnight. This will help keep your wreath from drying out too quickly.
If you have ivy or other vines taking over your garden, you can use them to make your wreath frame. Length and quantity are up to you, but test your vines to see if they bend into a circle without breaking. Remove the leaves and any scraps for the compost.
Next, experiment with the size of wreath you want, tying the vines together with your hobby wire or even some smaller vines. You can also purchase a frame made from wire or willow branches.
Step 2: Make your foliage bundles
There are many different ways to make a wreath, but this tutorial uses the “bundle” method. You will be making small bundles of foliage—like a small bouquet or nosegay—that you will attach to your frame.
To make your bundles, set your clippings out in front of you, grouping them by type. Play around with groupings of the same foliage and combinations to see what looks best. The length and thickness of each bundle depend on your foraged elements, the size of your wreath frame, and whether you prefer minimalist or fuller wreaths.
Next, take a piece of floristry or hobby wire and wrap the wire around the lower part of your bundle—around one-third—until it is secure. Once you’ve finished wrapping the wire, twist the two ends of the wire together to secure it. Don’t go overboard with the wire, as it will be difficult to remove for composting when it’s time to take down your wreath.
Repeat this step to build all of your bundles.
Step 3: Tie your bundles to the wreath frame
Now it’s time to put your wreath together! You may find that all your bundles fit perfectly, or you may need to experiment as you go along, trimming back or adding here and there. Just remember to keep wire and foliage scraps separate so you can recycle and compost waste materials from your project.
Cut a suitable length of wire and tie your first bundle onto your frame, wrapping the wire a few times until it’s securely attached.
The idea is to overlap your bundles around the circle, covering the stems and wires of previous bundles.
After your first bundle is securely on the frame, tie another one underneath, being sure to cover the stem and wire of the first one. Spin the wreath in a counter-clockwise direction as you add on more bundles and cover your frame.
While adding your bundles, you can try out different combinations and make adjustments as needed. Some people like to leave portions of the frame open for a more rustic or minimalist look. For a full wreath, keep adding bundles until you have fully covered your frame.
Step 4: Display your DIY Christmas wreath
When winter sets in, there’s nothing like a burst of colour on the front door. But how you hang your wreath depends on the type of door you have.
If your door already has a suitable doorknob, nail, or hook in a central position, you can try hanging it as is. If you want to adjust it vertically, you can tie some ribbon on the top and play around with different lengths before tying a knot or bow. If your door is metal or glass—or if you don’t want to do damage with a nail or hook—a metal or plastic door hanger will allow you to hang your wreath safely.
You may wish to display your wreath indoors. If this is the case, it will likely dry out after two weeks due to indoor heating. To keep it fresh longer, spray it with water every couple of days. Outdoor wreaths, on the other hand, can last as long as four to six weeks, depending on various factors such as conditioning, type of foliage, and weather.
When the time comes, dispose of your wreath by composting the foraged elements and recycling the wire. To do this, first pull off any bundles you can. You may find the stems have gotten smaller as they’ve dried out. For the rest, cut off the wire, being careful not to mix recyclable and compostable materials. And if you used a pre-made wire or vine frame, keep it for your next DIY wreath project.