Wreath-making has a long history, with evidence woven through handed-down tales from ancient Greece, Persia and Rome. It is thought this craft began as a way to adorn the heads of royalty and to honor winning gladiators with a crown made of local foliage, such as olive leaf and herbs. Some believe the door wreath was invented after those who wanted to preserve or save their head crowns would hang them on a wall or door.
Later evidence shows door wreaths designed with the bounty of a harvest were kept up year-round to appease the gods in hopes of a better harvest the following year. The wreath, a circular, unending shape, symbolized everlasting devotion to the gods and was thought to bring good luck and mercy to any household that displayed one on its door. As Christianity took over pagan traditions, wreaths were used to mark various religious holidays.
Regardless of its history, putting time and creative energy into making your own harvest wreath for your front door can be a relaxing — and even introspective — activity.
- Clippers or gardening shears
- A flat paddle of wire
- Tacky glue
- A grapevine wreath (from a craft store)
- Dried elements (foraged or purchased)
Step 1: Gather materials
Take a walk and gather dried flowers, pods, berries, palms or other materials that seem wilt proof. You can also purchase some dried floral embellishments for things that can’t be found foraging.
Step 2: Begin With bundles
Make small but hefty bundles of your gathered materials in your hand (typically four to five stems) and hold them to the wreath form. Take your wire paddle and wind it around your bundle three times, pulling with medium strength around each time. Don’t pull too tight or you’ll break the stems or your wire. Do NOT cut your wire after this step.
Step 3: Keep bundling
Create another bundle with materials of your choice and hold it up to your wreath form approximately 3 inches below where the wire cinched your previous bundle. When held up to the wreath, your new bundle should cover the wire wrapping of the last bundle by a good bit. Wind the wire around this next bundle three times and set your wire paddle down remembering not to cut the wire. Having continuous wire throughout your wreath helps with the structural integrity of it.
Step 4: Be intentional
Repeat Step 3 for as many times as you wish. Some may decide to go all the way around or do a half-moon shape, leaving a portion of the grapevine wreath exposed. As you make your bundles and create your harvest wreath, think about your successes this year, the things you’ve overcome and your wishes for the future. Bind your hopes and intentions into each bundle.
Step 5: Ending the wreath
When you are ready to end your wreath, take your last bundle and orient it in the opposite direction so that the ends of your last bundles overlap. You will have a void to fill and can either stick or glue loose pieces or other dried elements to cover up where you ended.
Step 6: Hang and reflect
Hang with ribbon from your door. Everytime you look at your wreath, you can reflect on those successes and intentions built into every bundle.
Toni Reale is the owner of Roadside Blooms, a unique flower and plant shop in Park Circle in North Charleston. It specializes in weddings, events and everyday deliveries using nearly 100% American- and locally grown blooms. Online at roadsideblooms.com. 4610 Spruill Ave., Suite 102, North Charleston.