Last week, I made a vat of mulled wine, warmed some mince pies and welcomed six school mums round to make a ton of wreaths to sell at our school Christmas fair.
Wreaths are a great PTA fundraiser. We sell ours for £8 each and forage all of the greenery, holly and pine cones ourselves, meaning all we have to purchase are wire rings, moss, wire and ribbon. This year we sprayed some of our cones silver and added mini baubles too, but overall, our costs were under £35 and we made over £300 so a tidy little profit for a couple of nights’ work.
If you’re planning a bit of a festive fundraiser next year, this is how we make our wreaths. Note: it is essential to drink mulled wine and eat as many mince pies and/or chocolates as you work…
Step 1: mossing
We split the jobs over two nights, mossing all the wire rings on the first evening. Working around your ring, you push clumps of moss onto the circular base and secure them by looping wire around the moss as you go. You’re aiming for a good, solid and slightly bulging mossy ring onto which you’ll then wire your foliage base. Sadly I didn’t take any shots of this stage - too much time spent gassing and eating chocolates - but you will need gardening gloves (the moss is wet and cold) and a pair of scissors or secateurs to cut the wire.
Step 2: adding your base foliage
This is the fun bit. We find that proper fir sprigs are best as they bulk out nicely and make a generous base for all the other bits you add. Fir from leylandii are nice for accent bits, but tend to make a flat and rather sorry looking wreath if that’s all you use so try to forage the real thing if you can. Our haul included spruce and pine branches, sprigs of bay and laurel, variegated and green holly and some gorgeous little bits of evergreen that I don’t know the name of…
Then you simply grab a bit of foliage you like the look of, cut the sprigs into short clumps (about 8cm long) and bunch them together before wiring onto your moss base. Work in a clockwise direction so all your foliage clumps are facing in the same direction and build them up in layers for a nice plump base. Secure the first loop of wire by twisting the two ends around each other and pushing into the mossy base at the back, then you simply loop the wire in and out of the ring, securing your foliage clumps as you go.
Step 3: adding accent foliage
Once you’ve added your base foliage, it’s time to add a bit of adornment. I find adding slightly longer clumps (10cm or so) of holly or another contrasting foliage type in clusters around the base foliage works well. In the image at the top, you can see I’ve added 3 separate clumps of holly, positioned so the berries appear in a rough triangular pattern around the main foliage. Again, you secure these additional bits with wire, pushing the ends into the back of the moss ring.
Step 4: adding pine cones, baubles and bows
We use a lot of pine cones on our wreaths. They’re free, they look wonderful and they can be sprayed for a bit of variety. We wrap stubby lengths of garden twine around the base of each then simply twist them in groups of three into the foliage base of each wreath.
As well as cones, this year we used mini silver sparkly baubles and matt baubles in all sorts of earthy colours. Matched with a wired ribbon, they looked fab.
Step 5: getting creative with other adornments
We tend to keep our adornments low cost as we want to maximise our PTA profits, but if you were so inclined, adding dried orange and apple slices look wonderful (although you’ll need to be careful to store your wreaths somewhere dry to avoid soggy fruit) and bunches of cinnamon sticks work a treat.
How about candy canes? Or tiny pom poms? The list is endless.
Joining in with Lou’s Nature in the Home series which ever so fortuitously this Wednesday, is all about Christmas wreath making!