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Making a Solstice Wreath

Wear a solstice wreath and commune with nature as you celebrate this special time of the year - Summer or Winter solstice - they look good too!

It doesn't take long or cost much to put a beautiful wreath together.
Any wreath firstly needs a secure base as this is the framework for any decorative material, such as flowers, berries, ribbons and ivy.
If you plan on making a delicate, ethereal, faery type solstice wreath you need to use a fine base to get the best effect - thin gauge wire is very effective.
The main materials used for bases in wreath making are: wire, straw or vines. If you want to make a fast wreath you can buy ready-made bases in wire, foam or straw.

solstice wreath
History of the Wreath
The wreath was originally worn during religious rites in ancient Persia. The Greeks called them a 'diadem', meaning bound around. Wreath comes from the old English 'writhen', meaning to twist or writhe. Wreathes were first made by twisting evergreen branches into a circlets, and the Greeks and Romans placed laurel leaf wreathes on the heads of Olympic athletes, and olive branches on brave warriors.

In Germany wreathes were lit with candles during the dark winter days as a symbol of hope for the sunny days of Spring. In Scandinavia lighted candles were placed around a wheel, to ask the god of light to turn the circle of nature back towards the sun so the days would lengthen and bring warmth back to earth. A holly wreath was considered a protection from the winter spirits and if you received a wreath of birch it held the message that somebody loved you.



Wreath making materials

Wire - thin florist's wire is generally the best option as it's not too heavy to wear and can be covered up easily with flowers, leaves and ribbons.
It is also easy to shape by hand without using special tools. Florist's green or brown tape, or coloured pipe cleaners can be useful for securing and attaching purposes.
You can use the florist's wire to attach your materials to the wire base, then further secure and cover up any sharp ends with tape. It is best to attach your flowers and foliage in small clusters, working your way along your wire circle, wrapping the fine wire round your wreath as you progress. If you are covering the whole wreath in order to make a complete circlet of flowers (I think this looks the best) you will need to carefully tuck your final bunch's stems under the first cluster. If you cannot manage to cover all the wire, it can be easily disguised with ribbons and bows which should be in a colour and thickness to compliment your chosen flowers. Gaps can also be conveniently covered with bunches of berries!

Straw - make a natural wreath by shaping straw into a circle and then tying it along sections with string or long flexible pieces of straw
(try damping it to make it easier). Or if you want an easier wreath you can buy ready-made straw wreaths at many craft shops. You can make an attractive straw wreath by plaiting three long sections of straw, but this is more difficult for the novice wreath maker (I failed miserably with this technique first time, and ended up with a wreath more suitable for Worzel Gummidge than a fair faery! ) Straw does has an advantage over wire in that you can push the stems right into the base. You can also glue them in for added strength.

Vines - a really natural looking wreath can be made by making a circlet with honeysuckle, ivy or grapevines, but you need to plan ahead with this wreath, as it makes it much easier to shape if you soak the woody stems overnight in water. Entwine the damp vines into a circle and then leave to dry. If you have made the wreath dense enough, then you should be able to just push your flowers and foliage into the gaps of the vines. To secure the materials further you can carefully tie the materials onto the vines with a fine green twine and then further secure with green tape. I find big flower heads or secured bunches will generally stay in the vines by themselves.

With all the wreaths you will need to keep them sprayed with water for as long as possible before the solstice celebrations, otherwise you risk a wilted wreath! As part of the celebration it is traditional to cast your wreath upon a solstice bonfire for good luck, however, it is not advisable with the wire based one. Happy Solstice!

Craft related ideas to make money by working from home

Making a solstice wreath

Important - Always think safety and don't let unsupervised children try this. Wear eye protection and insure any wires are tucked in/taped safely.

solstice wreath
If you want a light ethereal solstice wreath - Titania, Queen of the Fairies style - get some narrow gauge wire (22) - from a florist or hardware store. Measure a circlet on your head and then just keep winding the wire round into further circles, finishing by winding the wire in and around the circles. Tuck any sharp ends into the base.

ivy wreath

ivy covered solstice wreath base
Take long lengths of ivy (previously soaked in water -makes them more malleable) and wind them in and out of the wire circlet, covering as much of the base as possible, tucking ends in between the wire strands. If there are any obvious gaps you can push smaller pieces of ivy into the base and secure with wire.
flower bunch
Secure the bunches of flowers with wire, tags or tape.
solstice celebrations
Attach the flower bunches with green tape along the wreath.
wreath making
The tape won't be visible if you secure it underneath the ivy leaves.
solstice wreath
As you progress cover the previous bunch of flowers' stems with the heads of the new ones.

wreath making instructions
Any gaps can easily be filled by adding extra flowers or by winding ribbon around.


Once your flowers are all in place give your solstice wreath a spray of water to make sure it stays fresh and doesn't wilt on you!

summer solstice wreath
To finish off wind a length of ribbon around, curling the
ends to complete the effect.

solstice wreath
Place on head and then you can celebrate the summer
solstice in style - a Midsummer night's dream!

How to make a Christmas Wreath


Christmas wreath

You need: a wicker base, ivy, holly(with berries), fir, pine-cones, ribbon, wire, glue

Start by wrapping lengths of ivy around the front of the base, securing with wire ties and sticking stems into the base as you go.
(Don't worry about the back of the wreath 'cos it will be against
the door)


solstice wreath

Now slip pieces of fir into the base, behind the ivy right around the circlet.

Next add the sprigs of holly evenly around the wreath.

In Victorian times wreaths hung on the front door were known as ' Welcome rings'.
xmas wreath

Using a glue gun carefully stick the pine-cones to the arrangement. Finish by tying a big ribbon bow at the bottom and add a loop at the top of the wreath to hang it up with.

Happy Yuletide!

To make your Christmas wreath even more festive you can add baubles. Hang your creation proudly on your front door and be filled with festive feelings every time you go thro' your door! Happy Christmas!

 

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