It’s the beginning of November, with less than 50 days until Christmas and we find ourselves heading into another month long national lockdown due to rising cases of COVID-19. All non-essential retailers, restaurants, gyms and churches all having to close again to in person gatherings, move to on-line only with a ‘stay at home’ order from the Prime Minister. What a year it has been so far? With that in mind, this post is a a ‘stay at home‘ craft that doesn’t require anything other than a dry Autumn day and a schedule free afternoon for crafting! This is a little eco gift for your home this November. Its a zero cost gift both in monetary terms but also in being completed made from nature and therefore biodegradable.
A wreath, in its circular shape, is historically a sign of Victory. It is placed on door as a sign that someone within the household has overcome something or in a Christian context a reminder of victory over death in the resurrection of Jesus. It is this time of year too that we see poppies on a wreath in remembrance of military sacrifice during the wars and we reflect on the cost of our freedom. The poppy wreath represents eternity, continuity and the circle of life. These wreaths are then placed on war monuments as a sign of thankfulness. The Autumn wreath is often tied up with American traditions of thanksgiving, thinking about heritage and the people important to us now.
This autumn wreath is really very simple and enjoyable to make. You will need:
- Autumn leaves, all sizes and shapes
- Flower press, some books or grease proof paper and an iron
- Wicker type sticks to make a wreath base (or you can buy one already made)
- Bendy sticks, wire or twine to tie it all together
First you need to collect leaves for your wreath. It is best to collect them on a dry day when the ground isn’t wet and look for leaves that are fairly flat and without too many blemishes. Maple tree leaves are the best for size and shape but any will do. Leaves with longer stalks are easier to work with too for weaving together .
Next, you need to press the leaves or dry them out. There are different methods of doing this. If you have the time or don’t mind waiting a week or so then you can press them in a flower press or under books. My previous blog post on Pretty Pressed Flowers that I wrote in the last lockdown has the instructions for this. I wanted to get straight on with the wreath so I dried them by ironing the leaves between grease proof paper and a tea towel for the moisture and to stop them burning.
Next, make the wreath shape by binding twigs together to make a circle. It doesn’t matter how neat it is, it all adds to the effect if there are twigs poking out. You can also buy a wicker wreath base from places that are open during the pandemic like Wilko if you don’t have lots of twigs and sticks in your garden.
Lay the leaves around the wreath to start binding them with either wire, twine or thin bendy twigs. In the same way as a Christmas wreath is formed, use the larger leaves on the outer edge,smaller ones on the inside, working in a clockwise direction, bringing the wire around the stalks to secure them in place. Extra leaves can be weaved in to make the structure of the wreath shape. Keep going all the way around until it is a complete ring.
Finish the wreath with a wire loop to hang on the door. I like the simplicity of the wreath made just from the dried autumn leaves but you could also add things like dried apples or pine cones to give it some extra interest or add a ribbon in an autumn colour like a burnt orange. The wreath should last a good few weeks and certainly be fine until replaced by a Christmas one when we are out of this lockdown in December. In the meantime, it can be a reminder to hold onto the promise of a victory and an overcoming of each household in this coming month of lockdown.
Hope you enjoy making an autumn wreath and I’d love to see pictures of your front door!