Festive decorations are an amazing opportunity to make use of pre-loved materials in order to up-cycle them into something beautiful. Not only does recycling items help the planet, it’s also a chance for everyone in the family to get together and be creative. The eco-wreath ideas we’ve collected here at Saltrock are simple enough for children to make, with a little assistance, or can be turned into adult projects which yield spectacular results.
The wreath base
It is possible to make a perfectly respectable wreath base to decorate from a wire coat hanger and some strips of old rags: simply bend the coat hanger into an approximation of a circle, then wind the rags around tightly until a suitable thickness has been obtained. The rag strips can be fasted using a hot glue gun, or stitched if you prefer. Particularly if you pick festive colours, this can work really well. Another form of wreath base can be made by cutting out two circles of thick card to the desired dimensions, then cutting a smaller circle inside the first to create a wreath shape. Again, you may well need padding beneath to give the right effect.
There are also a wide variety of pre-formed wreaths which can be bought quite reasonably. These form an excellent base for your project. It also means you can select one made of the material most suitable for what you have in mind.
Wreath decoration options
There are numerous ways in which a wreath can be decorated. Here are a few that we are particularly fond of:
- Unwanted baubles can be glued onto a wreath using a hot glue gun. This results in a cheerful, brightly coloured wreath that’s always engaging
- Spray painting. Buy a twig or rattan wreath (or fashion one yourself from willow branches, discreetly secured with cable ties or string), then add cones, twigs, baubles, holly, leaves and similar – a hot glue gun is a fast, easy way of ensuring a secure fix, but clearly isn’t suitable for use by younger children. Use a gold, silver or bronze paint spray to complete cover the wreath. The effect is stunning!
- A rag wreath – cut strips of brightly coloured rag and fasten them around the wreath, using a simple tie knot. Cover the wreath completely to give an amazingly effective result that is incredibly easy to do.
- A green wreath. You will need moss, assorted evergreen leaves (holly, privet, yew, ivy, euonymus,or eucalyptus, for example), some thin wire and a base wreath. Begin by wrapping strips of moss around the wreath base, securing it in place with wire. Poke small bunches of leaves into the wreath, through the moss. Further ornamentation can be added with holly berries, cinnamon sticks, cones or ribbon bows if required.
- A fragrant wreath. This may be as simple as attaching cinnamon sticks or dried slices of citrus fruit (you can buy pre-dried citrus slices, or make your own by cleaning lemons, oranges or limes, cutting them into slices and baking slowly on a cooling rack over a baking tray at around 120 degrees (gas mark ½) for 3-4 hours, turning every half-an-hour or so) to any of the above wreath ideas. Alternatively, why not add a few drops of essential oil to your wreath? Pine, cinnamon, peppermint, frankincense, clove and sweet orange are all firm, festive favourites.
Once the festive period is over, the wreaths made from natural materials (so willow branches, cones, leaves and berries) can be composted or put in garden waste. Fabric wreaths can be recycled at a rag bank (make sure to separate the material from a synthetic base, if you have opted for one. Don’t forget that wreaths can also make beautiful all-year-round decorations: just vary the colour scheme, greenery and/or adornments as the seasons change.