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How to make a Christmas wreath

7 October 2021

Making a Christmas wreath with willow is simple. Aside from willow rods, all you require is a pair of secateurs and foliage/moss/baubles to decorate. Floristry wire can also come in handy.

How to make a Christmas wreath – Selecting the willow

The size of the wreath that you wish to make will determine the most suitable length of willow rods. To make a Christmas wreath to hang on a front door – around 30cms in diameter and approximately 4cms deep – 6ft or 7ft rods are ideal.

There are several different types of willow that can be used to weave a Christmas wreath. Brown (dry) willow or green (fresh cut) willow are both good choices. The colour of the rod will vary depending on the variety of willow.

White willow looks stunning but it is a more expensive choice. Our supplies tend to get snapped up very quickly. (White willow isn’t paper white. It is more cream in colour.)

Buff willow is another good choice. It is very smooth, requires little soaking and is fast to weave with.

Allow plenty of time to soak

Please remember that brown, white and buff willow rods will need to be soaked, so plan ahead. Some varieties of brown willow need to soak for over a day per foot. Choose 7ft Flanders Red brown willow and you will need to allow 12-14 days to soak. However, 6ft buff willow only requires 2 hours soaking.

Any willow that has been soaked will usually need to mellow overnight. Read our comprehensive guides to soaking and mellowing different varieties of willow.

Green willow rods do not require soaking. Please be aware that green rods will shrink a little as they dry out and this loosens the weave. 

How many willow rods are needed to make a Christmas wreath?

Around 10 – 15 rods are required per Christmas wreath. 6ft willow rods are a little easier to handle than 7ft rods, but more of the shorter rods will be needed to build the depth. As the pictures below show, fewer rods can be used.

Willow is sold by weight and most of our varieties are available in 1/2 and whole bundles. A green willow rod weighs more than the same length of brown, white or buff. Therefore, a bundle of green willow contains less rods than the equivalent weight of brown, white or buff.

In brown (dry) willow, Black Maul and Flanders Red are both good choices. A 1/2 bundle of 6ft Black Maul brown willow contains around 455 rods. A half bundle of 6ft Flanders Red around 420 rods. 1 kg bundles are sometimes available.

6ft and 7ft buff willow rods are usually available in 1 kg bundles. There are around 80 rods in a 1kg bundle of our 6ft buff willow and approximately 50 rods in a 1kg bundle of 7ft buff. 

Willow is a difficult item to transport and our courier charges the same price for delivering 1 kg as it does for 20 kg of willow. It makes economic sense to buy in bulk and store any excess rods.

7 steps to make a Christmas wreath

1 After soaking and mellowing, select a willow rod and bend it round into a circle. You will need to wrap the tip end of the rod (the top, thinnest part) around itself several times to stop it from springing apart. String or wire can be used to secure the rod

How to make a Christmas wreath

2 Continue to add rods one by one. For a neat finish, always ‘travel’ in the same direction and always insert the butt end (the bottom, fattest part) into the wreath first. Twist the rod around your circular structure several times. You will have butt ends sticking out. Don’t worry about these, they can be trimmed later. Tip ends should be woven through the wreath to prevent them from unravelling. Weave some rods in the opposite direction for a more ‘rustic’ finish

How to make a Christmas wreath

3 Keep adding rods. Remember to select a different place in the wreath to start. It’s best to have butt ends evenly spaced around the wreath

4 Keep bending and manipulating your wreath into a circular structure. After several rods have been added it should feel secure and fairly robust

How to make a Christmas wreath

5 Keep adding rods until the desired thickness has been achieved

6 Use secateurs to cut off the butt ends and tidy up any stray pieces

How to make a Christmas wreath

7 Use a bodkin to gently ease apart your weave and insert decorative items. Floristry wire is great for attaching festive materials

How to make a Christmas wreath

 

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