Step One: Prepping your wreath base
"You can usually buy florist oasis wreath rings in packs of two, so it's perfect for something different to do with a friend," says Jo. "Start preparing your wreath base by soaking it for a minute under water. This is so that it will retain some moisture and keeps your greenery fresh and alive for longer."
Jo used a 12 inch foam wreath base for our bespoke design, but says you can use a larger one for the front door if you really want to make a statement. Also at this point, start thinking about your decorations and how you'd like to arrange them, laying them out on a table to give you an idea of colour combinations and composition.
Step Two: Adding a ribbon
Once you've soaked your wreath base, turn around and fix your ribbon to the back. "Do this first," Jo says, "as once you've decorated your wreath you won't want to turn it around and risk damaging your design." You can use 3 ribbons intertwined to complement all the shades in your colour scheme, or you can try adding some twine to suit a more rustic design.
"Cut the ribbon or ribbons to around 30cm, depending on how low you'd like it to hang," says Jo, "and create two knots on either end to create an anchor." Next, Jo threads a mossing pin through both of the knots at a diagonal to fix to the back. Use a few mossing pins to ensure it's secure enough to hold the weight of the water and all your decorations.
Step Three: Mocking up the shape and adding the base layer
"Now it's time to mock up a rough shape for your design," she says. "Look at your decorations and think about how you want them to work together." You'll have to create indents first so they all sit level.
With a small kitchen or craft knife, cut the outer and inner rim of the wreath base at a diagonal. "This will create a nice round effect so your finished designs won't look too bulky," she says. Then, in areas where you want to fix bigger items like roses or poppy seed heads, cut an indent for them to sit.
Once you're happy with your shape, cover the entirety of your design in moss using the mossing pegs. "This doesn't have to be too thick," says Jo, "just a light layer to add to the overall texture of the finished wreath." You can opt for traditional green moss, dyed moss in any colour you like or, as Jo has here, Icelandic reindeer moss, which will work well for a wintery white scheme.
Step Four: Decorating your wreath
Start by adding the bulkier bits first such as the poppy seed heads. "Lay everything either clockwise or anti-clockwise so there's a flow to your design," says Jo. Use a grouping method for a contemporary look, or for something more classic distribute evenly throughout your greenery.
For anything with a stem, no pin is needed, just cut on a slant and put into the foam. "Cutting on a slant maximises the area that absorbs water, so your design will last as long as it possibly can," she says.
Continuing in the same direction, now work with your smaller pieces. Pick some foliage from your garden, Senecio is great as its silver-dusted edges look great in winter. Place your flora in water for about 24 hours prior to using, which will give any greenery the chance to soak up the maximum amount of water possible.
Next, Jo fixed some pine cones to our design, using a piece of wire to create a pin. "Sap-covered pine cones will give a snowy look to your wreath, but if you can't find these, you can spray with some white paint.", she says.
Step Five: Tidy up your design
Once your happy with the placement of all your decorations, trim off the excess moss to tidy up your design. "Lastly, add in more greenery to any sparse areas," says Jo, "by pushing it in lightly with a knife so the entire wreath is covered." Then to finish, use your scissors to carefully trim any unwanted moss and it's ready to hang.
Book now to join Jo Woodward on one of Columbia Creativity'sChristmas wreath-making workshops throughout December.
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