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    Deck The Halls | Winter 2006 Out Here Magazine

    Whether your wreath hangs on your door or that of a loved one, it adds a personal touch to Christmas.

    Create a Christmas grapevine wreath

     

    By Laurena Mayne Davis

    Photography by Dean Humphrey

     

    Grapevine wreaths are thrifty and versatile blank canvases for holiday gifts and seasonal home decorating.

     

    Starting at just a few dollars, and available in a range of sizes and shapes, grapevine wreaths can be tailored to any interest or décor.

     

    Know someone who loves a hobby? Start with a heart-shaped wreath available at most any crafts store. Attach a collection of lures for a fisherman, thimbles for a seamstress, or die-cast models for a tractor enthusiast.

     

    Grapevine wreaths are lovely in their natural brown, but never underestimate the transformative power of a $4 can of spray paint. Ribbon, figurines, and dried and silk flowers also punch up the color.

     

    For a pleasing arrangement, decide on a design focus and stick with it. Extravagantly adorned wreaths look nice, but so do spare ones. The key is maintaining a focus. These are some options:

     

    • One big item or ribbon that dominates the design.

    • Half of the wreath decorated, with the other half left natural.

    • Items evenly distributed around the wreath.

    Whether you're making a small hostess gift or a large wreath for your front door, the assembly instructions are largely the same.

    Step by Step

    For a fun and sentimental holiday wreath, start with a favorite Christmas carol.

    To make a Christmas carol wreath, select a carol and either print out the lyrics from a site online or reference sheet music. Picking up on key words, select ribbon and other items to match the carol.

    For instance, this Winter Wonderland wreath (a beautiful sight, we're happy tonight, walkin' in a winter wonderland) is designed to reflect two young lovers walking through the glistening countryside.

    Clear acrylic beads, sparkly ribbon, and a generous spray of glitter all build to the theme. Two white birds nestled in the bow are our winter lovebirds from the carol.

    Make your design extra special by handwriting the carol lyrics on ribbon and winding the ribbon around the wreath. Write lyrics with a leafing pen, fabric marker, or even a permanent marker.

     

    Supplies:

    • 24-inch grapevine wreath
    • 5 yards of light silver 11/2-inch wire-edged ribbon
    • 3 yards of silver 21/2-inch wire-edged ribbon
    • 5 yards of glittery-white 21/2-inch wire-edged ribbon
    • 6 sprays with large acrylic beads
    • 6 sprays with small acrylic beads
    • 2 6-inch white birds
    • Silver leafing pen
    • Lyrics to a Christmas carol
    • Glitter spray paint
    • Polyurethane spray paint or craft sealant)
    • Needle-nose pliers
    • Glue gun/glue sticks
    • Floral wire

    Directions:

    Start your bow by forming a fairly wide “figure-8” with the ribbon, leaving about a foot at the end.

    1. Decide which is the least-attractive section of the wreath and make it the bottom, which will be covered with a bow, anyway.

    2. Spray the wreath with polyurethane to protect it and add some shine. Always paint in a well-ventilated area. Painting on an upended, disposable cardboard box keeps your wreath free of dust from the ground or floor.

    3. Spray the wreath with the silver glitter. Spray the birds, too, applying a heavier coat on the wings and tails.

    4. To make a hanger, cut a section of floral wire about 8 inches long and double it over. With needle-nose pliers, twist a loop about an inch long. Spread apart the two wire ends and twist them around the vines on the back of the wreath.

    5. Lay out a sheet of cardboard. Unspool the end of the 1½-inch wire-edged ribbon and tack it to the cardboard. Shake the silver leafing pen, then remove the cap. On a scrap piece of paper, press the tip of the pen up and down until the silver flows to the tip. Practice writing on the paper, then write the lyrics on the ribbon, moving and reattaching the ribbon as you go.

    Wind ribbon around the wreath clockwise, tacking it down periodically with hot glue to keep it from slipping.

    • Leaving about a foot of ribbon dangling from the bottom of the wreath, start winding the ribbon around in a clockwise fashion, ending with about a foot dangling at the other end. Tack down the ribbon periodically with hot glue to keep the ribbon from slipping.

    Attach sprays of both large and small acrylic beads around the wreath, forming a shimmering foundation for bows.

    1. Take sprays with the small acrylic beads and wind them around the wreath also. Attach sprays of the small and large acrylic beads spreading out at the bottom of the wreath. These will form a shimmering foundation for the bows. Stems with wires can be twisted around the vines. Stems without wires can just be poked into openings between the vines.

    2. Make the larger bow with the 2½-inch silver ribbon. Cut an 8-inch length of wire. Leaving about a foot for the ribbon tail, start forming a fairly wide "figure-8" with the ribbon, leaving about a foot at the end. Twist close the center of the ribbon using the wire and needle-nose pliers. Wire bow at the top of the bottom of the wreath. Make the white bow in the same fashion, with smaller loops, and wire on top of the silver bow.

    Arrange and attach the white birds, beak to beak, at the center of the bows.

    1. Attach the white birds, beak to beak, at the center of the bows. Cut ribbon tails to pleasing lengths and secure the tails where you want them with hot glue. An easy way to hem a wire-edged ribbon tail is just to fold it under twice.

    2. Spray the wreath — birds, ribbon and all — with a light coat of polyurethane. Hang your wreath to enjoy or deliver with a caroling party to a lucky gift recipient.

    Laurena Mayne Davis enjoys making found-object crafts at her Western Colorado home.