My mother made one of these years ago and I have always loved it. I made my own after Christmas last year and documented the process for you.
18 in foam wreath form
about 10 feet of 4″ wide ribbon or strips of fabric
50 large ornaments
30 medium ornaments
50 small ornaments
15 “ornate” ornaments
Hot glue gun and hot glue
sheet of poster board
Set form on top of posterboard and mark approximately where you should cut it based on the size of your ornaments.
You want to be about a half inch outside the center-line if your ornament
Glue the wreath to the poster board and arrange your first row of balls.
I put the hanger sides of the ornaments facing in towards the form since I didn’t want them showing.
Once they are all glued down, you can adjust the cardboard. I don’t want to see any cardboard so I carefully flipped over the wreath and cut out the cardboard between the ornaments.
Then I repeated steps 4 and 5 on the inside of the wreath. I used smaller balls but use what you have.
Now that you have a nice secure base, it’s time to get glueing. I built up another row on the inside of the wreath and then started working my “ornate” ornaments into the top layers. There is no real direction here, just a few tips.
- Work all over the wreath at once instead of just concentrating on one spot. You will get a more even wreath shape that way.
- Cover up your glue mistakes with small ornaments
- Use the little ornaments to cover up as much of the wreath form as possible.
- Use little ornaments to prop up your “ornate” ornaments to make them pop a bit more.
- Don’t try to force the ornaments into nooks…it’s a good way to break the ornaments.
- If you do break an ornament, try to cover up the breakage rather than trying to remove and replace it.
- Don’t be afraid to use your best ornaments. This is a spectacular piece and your best ornaments deserve the most attention.
- Don’t be afraid to sneak plastic ornaments into the mix. I’ve got a few and you wouldn’t even know.
- Buy yourself a decent glue-gun for Christmas. This One is great.
There are a few more questions you should ask yourself before you start this project.
Where can I hang this baby?
I wouldn’t hang this on a door. Too much banging and bumping. It really shouldn’t be touched so over a mantle or somewhere over a piece of furniture is best. You can also line the back with felt or a bit of batting to help pad it if you have a lot of banging doors or if it vibrates when the laundry is going.
How do you store it?
Best question ever. The answer is – with difficulty. It needs to be covered. I use a dry cleaning bag which is nice and see through so I know what it is. It really needs to be stored hanging or you’re going to have to find some kind of box to keep it in. Good luck with that but if you do find the perfect box, please please please leave a link in comments! Keeping the wreath hanging in a closet is good. You could keep it with the “fancy” clothes like your wedding dress and Tux since you’re usually clean and careful when you get those out. Hanging in a safe place in the attic is great as well. I’ve got spare closets in the guest rooms that are going to be my super fragile wreath storage area for now and I’m hoping to eventually get Stefan to build me a dedicated Ball Wreath Cabinet in the basement.
Where do you get all those ornaments?
Well, mine are leftover from my wedding but that’s not the normal scenario. Thrift stores are good but in all honesty, you’re probably best off scouring after-Christmas sales at all the normal ornament places: Home Depot, Michaels, Target, etc. If you can do all the solid ornaments new then you can try to get some neat vintage ones for the “ornate” ones. Antique shops usually have them for a few dollars a piece before Christmas but they are getting harder and harder to find. You should also ask your parents/grandparents. They kind of went out of vogue for a while since they are so much more fragile than the new ones and there is no way to get the years and years of dust off them which brings me to my next question…
How do you clean it?
Don’t. The vintage ornaments can NOT get wet or they will lose their pigment. Hit it with a cool blow dryer to get rid of dust, a feather duster might work, but don’t use any cleaners or even hit it too hard with a swiffer. It’s going to be a little dusty. Call it Christmas Fairy Dust and get over it.
I can’t wait to see all your renditions. Please leave links in the comments! I think I’m going to make another this year with all plastic ornaments. Dollar Tree sells those tubes of them and I think I can make it happen.