A couple of weeks ago we invited London florists Flor Unikon down to our Christmas Shopping Event at the Battersea store to show us how to make beautiful Scandinavian wreaths. Crafted using traditional straw bases and gorgeously aromatic Blue Pine, these stunning arrangements are no doubt the perfect festive addition to any home.
Curious to know how we can recreate Scandinavian wreaths at home, we caught up with Flor Unikon for a quick chat:
Q: The straw base that you use if quite unusual. Is it unique to Scandinavia?
Many other European countries such as Holland, Germany and Switzerland also use this base but it’s very characteristic of Scandinavian style. We commonly use a variety of outdoor materials that are readily available such as mixed greenery, berries, nuts, pine-cones etc…
Q: Can bases be made at home or are they best bought ready-made?
Our Straw bases are ready-made but you can make your own base at home but covering a ring of rolled newspaper in moss and securing it with wire. If you’re wanting a little more flexibility in terms of size, a strip of thick wire shaped into a ring will work perfectly and can be made as large or as small as you like.
Q: Where can someone buy the wire used to secure the wreath?
Basic craft wire from most art shops will do the job. The exact wire that we use is very specialist, but we can purchase it wholesale for our customers from one of the UK’s Dutch Suppliers, should they need it.
Q: Where should we buy all the decorative elements for the wreath (crab apples, pine cones etc)?
The great thing about decorating a wreath is that you can use whatever is available from around you. If you’re lucky enough to live near a forest or wood then materials that have fallen from trees such as pine cones, twigs and berries work perfectly.
Alternatively, head to your local flower market as they’ll sell dried fruits such as orange, lime and apple slices. These are ideal for adding a fruity perfume to your wreath. For a spicy aroma try cinnamon sticks which are available to buy from supermarkets.
Q: You tend to use Blue Pine. Can people also use more common types of pine found in gardens or woods?
We tend to use Blue Pine as it is non-drop. It is also much thicker and so is perfect for making a lush wreath. Cyprus and other varieties of Pine can also be used as well as moss, twigs and leaves.
If the wreath is to be used inside with Advent candles or hung on an internal front door we suggest the blue pine as it dries much more slowly.
Q: We love the idea of a traditional advent wreath. How would you go about adding in the candles?
The trick is to begin with the four candles. If you decorate it with other materials first it’s very easy to get carried away and not leave enough space to accommodate them.
The candles will need to be attached using wire that’s been inserted into their base. Start by cutting 10cm strips of medium thickness wire, allowing for roughly three pieces per candle.
The most effective way to insert the wire is hold the tip in the flame of a candle for a few seconds and whilst still warm, insert it into the candle base.
Finally, gently place the candles onto the base to avoid cracking the wax and secure with the wire.
Q: How long will the wreath usually last for?
Some of our customers have retained their wreaths for several years. The materials of course dry eventually but can be replaced for the new season.
Flor Unikon is a unique Scandinavian style flower shop in the design district of Clerkenwell. As well as catering for events, they also offer floristry courses and workshops throughout the year. Visit their website for more information.