If you are lucky enough (I understand that this is a big statement based on preference) to live near a wooded area with pine trees and wild grapevines then making a homemade wreath will come down to nothing but your time and the cost of a little wire and ribbon! We purchased 26 gauge green floral wire at Micheals craft store. This is used to help hold together the twigs, grapevine, pine and ribbon. We also went to Michaels for a good (and inexpensive) selection of 2.5″ wired ribbon.
In Search of the Great Grapevine
Once we collected all of our nonorganic material needed to construct the wreath, we ventured off to the woods in search of wild grapevine. Now, wild grapevine comes in all sizes and types of thickness. It starts as a root, lies low for about a foot or so and then begins its never-ending climb up to whatever it can grab onto. Our woodlands are filled with grapevine that have made their home wrapped around trees that are over 60′ tall. If anyone had recorded our first few attempts at gathering grapevine we would have definitely won top prize for Funniest Home Video. Seeing these large, gorgeous braided vines coiled around together and hanging long like a rope tied to the tippy tops of the trees brings out the “George of the Jungle” in any one.
This is where I insert WARNING: These vines are NOT guaranteed to be attached anything. In fact, most of these “swinging” vines loop from one tree to another, in a somewhat loose fashion. However, with that being said, most of the time they will braid themselves around a tree branch or another vine, therefore making it really difficult to separate it from its rooted friend. In all woodlands you’ll find your share of dead trees among the healthy and strong. A couple of big tugs at the vine and you are very likely to learn which of these rooted beasts is dead. What am I trying to tell you? Keep your head up and stay clear of all falling debris. This is not not a one-man (or woman) job. A passed out person in a wooded area sounds like the perfect start to a terrible ending.
Tug with caution! 😉
Once you have gathered up a decent supply of grapevine you can begin crafting. You might be wondering how much you’ll need for just one wreath. Well, this depends on the size of wreath your making, of course, but for an average size wreath you’ll probably only need about 3.5′ of cording. If you like to layer your cords as I have done in the example I am highlighting, then gather a couple of different thicknesses in grapevine, each of them only needing to be 3.5′ long. Then braid away! I basically start with the thickest cord and make a large loop by bringing each end together, overlapping the ends by about 8″. Secure each of the ends with your wire. Then take your next smaller cord and begin wrapping it around the thicker cord and secure with more wire. Take a look at the pictures below for examples:
For this wreath you can see how I chose to have a little extra branch shooting out from the side just for a splash of fun. You don’t have to do this. You can just braid and secure the extra shooting branches to the rest of the wreath for a cleaner look.
This next step is when it all comes alive! Gather your pine! Sorry to all of you botanist, I have zero idea what types of pine I gathered. I have been told that the pine pieces I collected are from a Douglas Fir, a Silver Fir (which I believe gets its name from its silver back side…adding an extra touch of color and interest), and a Northern White pine (which is what the kids and I referred to as the “pom-pom pine” because it looks like a little pom-pom. It doesn’t matter what type of pine you select, just shoot for a variety of color and texture. Start layering up your wreath with your heaviest (thickest) pieces of pine by tucking the end of your cut pine into the braided vine or the wire. Your ends should all point to the bottom of the wreath and it looks better when you hide the cut ends of the pine.
Layer Your Pine Pieces
First, layer the grapevine with the thicker pine pieces. Then, top the center of the thicker pieces with your lightest pine piece for a little depth and creative interest. This is where our “pom-pom” pieces came in handy!
Add your bow! I chose a 2.5″ wired ribbon, attached wire to the back of the bow and secured it to the wreath. I would really suggest that, whatever you choose, your ribbon be wired. This will allow you to tweak your bow to your liking. You can choose a simple bow like I have done, or you can tie up a really full bow. Either way, wired ribbon will help your bow stay upright and happy-looking!
Good luck at hunting and gathering! Your wreath is going to turn out amazing!!!