Tutorial: Abundant Autumn Wreath


As we've been having an exceptionally cool August this year, my brain is already moving on to All Things Fall (as it's my favorite season, my thoughts are never too far from there anyway).

The Finley Wreath from Grandinroad.com
As I was trolling the inter-webs for some autumn inspiration, I came across the Finley Wreath from Grandinroad and immediately fell in love.  It's full and rich looking and definitely says "Autumn," but shies away from being overly, ya know, orange.  The idea of dropping $80 (+shipping) on it, however, did not, as they say, butter my crumpet (I'm sure someone somewhere says that. And if they don't, they should).

Instead, I set to work making my own wreath, with a significantly reduced price tag (I think in total, I spent MAYBE $8). 

I'm hoping this was more attractive at some point...
I used a grapevine wreath form that I already had on hand (but you can purchase them for a few dollars at any craft store), as well as pine cones and acorns from last fall and faux foliage left over from old projects.  In addition, I found a fairly pathetic wreath (calling it a wreath is generous) at a thrift store that, despite its state, had some nice quality fruit on it.  Using wire cutters, I detached and kept the fruit and discarded what remained (and, really, I think that was the merciful thing to do...).

Ultimately, I used between 30 and 40 components per quarter.  I know it sounds like a lot, but it was the only way to give it the full look that it needed. 

The Floral Components for a Fall Wreath
Working with a glue gun, I began inserting green leaves around the entire perimeter of the wreath, turning the form frequently.  If any of the leaf bunches didn't suit me, I simply snipped them apart with wire cutters and attached them individually.  The majority of the foliage was placed in the same direction (clockwise) but every so often I'd place pieces in the opposite direction to give it a more natural shape (ratio about 80/20). 

Once I had a good base of green, I began spacing some of the larger pieces of fruit, leaving a small space on the lower left hand side for a bow.  Some of the fruit already had picks, but for the ones that didn't, I stole and attached picks from other floral stems (you could also break off pieces of bamboo skewers and insert them into the base of the fruit).  In addition to a bit of hot glue, I wrapped florist wire around the picks (or between the berries) to secure to the wreath form. (Nobody likes a floppy hand fruit.)

You can see the progression of the Autumn wreath as it starts to look more and more complete. Don't worry: there will be a point at the beginning where you go "ummmm...my wreath looks like crap..." I promise it comes together!
After the fruit was placed, I started adding leaves, pine cones and berries to any open space on the wreath itself, making sure to also look at the very inside and very outside edges (you want to ensure that it looks good from all angles).  As I said, I love The Full Look, so my motto was "More = Better!"

Finally, when I was pleased with the result, I tied a big fat bow with wired ribbon and attached it to the lower left hand side. 

I'm so pleased with how it turned out!  I may make a garland or swag to match it, but I haven't decided yet.  I have so many Halloween projects in the works, that adding more to the ever-expanding list may not be the smartest move!
Quick Tips: 

- Use what you have before buying new.  Check for old arrangements that you're not quite in love with anymore and re-purpose their components.  Also, try checking thrift stores.  Many times you can find super inexpensive pieces that can be pulled apart for parts. 

- Best Work Surface? Foam Core Board!!  I have several pieces of foam core for projects.  It's thicker than paper so I don't have to worry about bleed through onto wood surfaces, and it makes cleaning up super quick. 

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