I know, Christmas is 2 days away. Kinda late to still be decorating. But, I’m sharing my experience with making one of those fabulous ornament wreaths because the time to buy your ornaments is coming soon – the after-Christmas sales!
This past February, I hit up Garden Ridge for some random shopping, and stumbled upon a 90% off Christmas sale…who still has Christmas stuff in February?!? Garden Ridge! So, I snagged several boxes of matte and shiny red ball ornaments in various sizes and spent a whopping $4 for 120 ornaments.
Then I waited until the week before Christmas (naturally) to finish up my holiday decorating. The mirror above my mantle was looking awfully bare… and then I remembered the ornament wreath I had yet to make. So, I got busy!
I probably read a dozen or so different tutorials on how to make one of these wreaths. For the fullness and size that I wanted to make, I decided that I wanted to use a wreath form vs. a wire hanger. This version seemed more solid to me, too, vs. a wire which would bend and flex.
(I always hate these disclaimers, but these photos are camera phone, lighting was poor, and I am not a photographer… so they’re about as good as they’re gonna get. Take my word for it, this wreath is stunning in person!)
I started with an 18” white styrofoam wreath form. My form was flat on both sides, which I felt might work better for hanging over my mirror. I was too impatient to spray paint it, plus it was a little crumbly, so I grabbed some red grosgrain ribbon and wrapped it up, securing the ribbon on one side with super-fancy scotch tape. (You’ll want to make sure your wreath form is the same color/color family as your ornaments because bits of it might still be seen when you’re all done.)
I removed all of the metal hangers from the ornaments. (Personal preference, I wanted this wreath to be red only.) Then I started with my largest ornament size, and the size I had the most of, and started hot gluing around the inside and outside perimeters, as uniformly as possible. This layer would form my total wreath base, and create the “platform” for the rest of the ornament balls to come. This is also the only “level” of uniform gluing that you’ll do… the rest of the ornament placement will be more random.
At this point I realized that I needed more balls of this size. (So the husband ran off to GR to get me a few more.) In all, I used 54 balls of this size to complete the wreath. (I used up more than I had expected just doing the inner and outer perimeters.) After gluing my base layer, you just kinda keep gluing randomly, saving your smallest ornament size for last (the little ones help fill in the gaps). I would suggest having lots of little ones, too… those you can keep adding and adding until you’ll feel it’s complete. I honestly didn’t feel confident that the wreath was going to turn out the way I had envisioned it until I was about 80% done. So, don’t fret as you’re making your own… it will come together in the end. This project looks a lot more difficult than it actually is!
I used about 30 mini-sticks of hot glue to fasten 120 ornaments to each other and the wreath form. But, I’m a hot glue novice and likely used too much. Just be sure you’re prepared in the glue stick department, because you’ll want glue on every contact point of those balls, if you want it to feel solid. Don’t look too closely, because it’s pretty much a hot mess of gobs of glue and string webs! Once it’s up (and if you hang it high like I did) the glue mess magically disappears.
I haven’t measured it, but it’s easily 24” in diameter, and probably 8-10” deep… it’s pretty hefty, yet probably only weighs about 3 pounds, and is as fragile as can be since all the ornaments are glass (I really hope it lasts more than one season!)
I had a nagging feeling before I even got started than I needed to have a solid plan for how I would even hang this thing when I was finished. Of course, I ignored it. Brian was not willing to put any more holes in the pristine wainscoting, and the mirror is not coming off the wall until we move… so we had to figure out a creative way to hang it. Since a nail and some looped ribbon were not an option, Plan B was fishing line. But, I really didn’t want the fishing line stretched around the ornament balls, because I was afraid they would pop off under pressure. With a whole lot of patience, we were able to “fish” the fishing line around the wreath form itself through some gaps between the balls. We strung the 10-lb. line 4 times around the form, effectively giving us 40-lb. of strength in our little hanging loop on the back.
So, learn from my 30-minute
headache hassle – plan for how you’re going to hang your wreath before you glue anything down, even fish your string/ribbon/fishing line around your wreath form before you get started. You’ll give yourself a great big hug later for being so smart.
Next, we needed a hook, and Brian was genius to use one of our extra stocking holders over the frame of the mirror. I think it blends very nicely, don’t you?
Finally, we stepped back and oohed and aahed over it for at least an hour. ;)
In all, I think I was able to make this wreath, all supplies included (wreath form, 120 ornaments, ribbon, fishing line, glue sticks) for under $14. From start-to-finish, the process of making it, including trying to hang it, took me 1.5-2 hours. Not too shabby at all, IMO, for something that makes such a big impact in our family room.