How to Make a Winter Wreath with Florist Kirsty Johnson
Hello, I’m Kirsty Johnson from The Wilde, based in the beautiful village of Crathorne, North Yorkshire.
I’ve been growing my own flowers and foliage for many years, and what started out as a hobby making arrangements for myself, family and friends, finally, a few years ago, became my daily work. And it’s a job I absolutely love. My flower arrangements are made to order for weddings, events or for anybody who likes to have gorgeous naturalistic flower arrangements at home.
Of course, this year has been rather difficult due to Covid, so I’ve adapted to online tutorials and home-making kits for people who would otherwise have attended one of my workshops….and there are still lovely small and intimate weddings that I’m lucky enough to supply with some beautiful floral romance.
My signature style is very loose and organic. I don’t go in for rigid formations or specific trends. I like to look around me from season to season and find the very best of what there is to work with. By ‘the very best’, I don’t mean expensive flowers flown from around the world. The very best can also be things you can find quite inexpensively at home in your garden or from the countryside or woodlands, as I’m keen on working sustainably.
This isn’t an invitation to go and chop things down in the countryside or woods, because that would go against sustainable practice, it’s simply thinking after there’s been an especially windy day, let’s go out and see what’s fallen. You can often find lovely small branches, pine cones and all kinds of other beautiful bits and pieces this way which cost nothing but can look stunning when placed into an interesting pot, vase or urn.
Autumn and winter months are a natural time of year to think of seasonal greens, warmth and good cheer. Winter door wreaths are a lovely way to mark the season, so I’m going to show you how to create one of these lovely arrangements. As I said earlier, my style is rather rustic and loose, but as you go along you can use your own judgement to incorporate some winter wreath ideas that make it a little more your style.
So how do you make a winter wreath? Read on to find out!
What materials do you need to make a wreath?
A wire wreath ring - For a large wreath use a 12 inch frame, for something neater/smaller use 10 inch. Available cheaply from garden centres, craft shops, local florists or online.
A reel of binding wire - Available cheaply from garden centres, craft shops, local florists or online.
A bag of moss - This equates to approx. a carrier bag full. Available from garden centres.
A large bundle of mixed evergreen foliage - Christmas tree outlets are a good place to try, ask for any spare offcuts. Otherwise explore your garden or ask neighbours/family nicely. Look for fallen branches on countryside walks – the day after a storm is foragers’ paradise!
Finishing touches - such as dried hydrangeas, berries and pinecones – although a simple foliage winter wreath does look beautiful. Available cheaply from garden centres, craft shops, local florists or online.
A ribbon – choose something that will work with the style of your winter wreath, and also think about the colour of your door. A beautiful wide velvet ribbon is a special option for many winter wreath ideas, but often a hand torn strip of material can look just right on a simple whimsical wreath. Local haberdasheries are great places to rummage for that perfect ribbon.
A long pin - to secure the ribbon.
Strong secateurs - or garden scissors.
An apron - to protect your clothes.
NOTE - If you don’t have time or the inclination to go out and get all the materials above, wreath kits are available online and from some local florists (like myself) where you will get everything you need to make a homemade wreath.
Instructions on how to make a wreath
Before you begin creating your winter door wreath, first cut down all of the branches into useable pieces (10 to 30cm in length, depending on your design) from large to small, getting rid of any bent or ugly branches and also any stems that are too thick. Now you're ready to start making your wreath.
Take one end of your reel of wire and secure onto the frame with a few twists.
Make large handfuls of moss (packed together like you are making a snowball) and place onto the frame where your wire is attached. Going over and under attach it to the frame. Pull nice and tight so the wire pulls the moss to the frame, wrap around the handful 2/3 times then move onto the next handful making sure you push it right up to the first ball. The aim is to make sure the moss is nice and firm - too loose and it will fall off the frame. Work your way around the frame adding more moss and binding as tightly as you can. Leave the wire attached to the frame.
Choose a selection of 4/5 stems of foliage. For winter wreaths with a wild and natural look, you'll want to select different combinations/lengths each time. For a neater finish, use the same combination/length each time. Arrange your stems into a nice fan shaped bundle, putting the longer stems to the back and the shorter to the front. At this stage, think about the desired size of your winter wreath. If you mirror the length of your first bundle onto the other side you can visualise the final size – think about the size of your door!
Lay the bundle at an angle across your mossed frame with the stems pushed right onto the inner rim of the wreath. Hold in position and use your binding wire to hold the stems onto the frame. Pull as tight as you can, going over and under 2/3 times. Give your winter wreath the shake test to make sure it is secure. Ensure that the next bundle is placed in the same direction, slightly overlapping the first bundle and secure with wire again. Continue in the same direction all the way around the wreath.
Once in a while hold your wreath up and check the shape.
If there are gaps you can simply snip the end of a nice stem to a point (removing any pine needles etc) and push into the moss where the gap is. Once you have filled the frame, snip the wire and poke the end safely into the moss.
We’re on to the final touches!
Place your winter door wreath into position. Take a step back and observe the shape. Now is the time to introduce that big dramatic branch! If you want to add colour with berries or flowers, simply snip the stems to a point and push into the moss frame. For your ribbon, choose either a bow or hanging tails, hold against the wreath and decide where looks best – push a long pin through the ribbon and use that to push into the moss to secure the ribbon.
You’ve just created a really beautiful winter wreath…enjoy!
NOTE - Every few days check your moss by touching the back of the frame, the wreath should feel quite heavy and damp to the touch. If it feels light or dry then either mist it well with a water spray or lift off the door and soak the back. If you ensure the moss is damp it will stay fresh well into January.
Now you know how to make a Christmas wreath from scratch, why not find out more about Kirsty’s work via her website www.thewildfloral.com or on her Instagram page @thewilde_