Thursday, February 14, 2013

Christmas Ornament Wreaths: {re}visited

As promised in my first post about Christmas ornament wreaths, here is more information on how to make these festive decorations.

When I made my first wreath, I noticed a couple of things that posed a challenge. First, I added garland/extras to the wreath at the very end. This was a mistake, because by that time the wreath was very full. It wasn't easy to navigate tiny open spaces to hot glue these sprigs and glittery leaves!

Also, I learned that it might have been better to have more than two sizes or Christmas ornaments. As I filled in the wreath, I did have empty spaces where the ornaments I had just wouldn't fit. I used small and even mini ornaments to solve this problem.

Buying the Ornaments

Finally, I did research regarding the best places to get Christmas ornaments for an affordable price. I was lucky because I started this crafting venture in November, which was prime time for ornaments in local big box stores. However, I found that prices varied enough to warrant shopping around, and color choices were minimal at some places. I also found out that whenever possible, it's a good idea to buy a "shatterproof ornament set." This typically consists of 50 or 100 assorted ornaments in a large plastic cylinder. 

The best stores to buy assorted ornament sets are: KMart, Wal-Mart, Home Depot. Most of these sets include ornaments in 2 or 3 different colors, or 2 or 3 shades of the SAME color- and almost always include mostly round ornaments with occasional different shapes thrown in. There are typically assorted sizes  Because it was holiday time, these sets were in the $20 range.

If you are looking for ornaments in large numbers - 25-100 per pack - but you want a single color per pack, the best stores to find these are: Target and Big Lots.  These packages are usually more expensive - for example, a pack of 25 silver at Target was $15. I was lucky enough to find a 50 pack of blue ornaments at Big Lots for just $12, but that was AFTER Christmas. 

A really good website for buying color specific ornaments in all sizes, shapes and finishes is Christmas Central . I found hot pink ornaments there, which are VERY difficult to find in other stores.

Remember, when buying your ornaments:
  • They should be shatterproof
  • You should get 3-5 different sizes of ornaments
  • Don't forget to make sure you have one or two small/"mini" sizes to fill in empty spaces
  • For a 14 inch wreath that is very full, you will need a total of approximately 125 ornaments. Adjust this total for a smaller wreath or if you don't want to make it as full.
  • I always made sure that I had 50 ornaments that are "medium" sized, or approximately 2.5'' (60mm) around.
Making the Wreath: {Re}vised Version

After that first ornament wreath I made for my mother, I made three more: one for my best friend, one for my sister and one for our family. Once again, here are the supplies and instructions for making an ornament wreath. I did make some revisions from the instructions in my first post, to account for some of the new things I learned as I made more wreaths. 

  • A straw wreath (14 inches)
  • Shatterproof ornaments. Recommend approx. 125 ornaments, 50 which are "medium" sized, about 25 that are larger, and the rest will be small and mini for fill-ins.
  • Glue sticks 
  • Glue gun (I "borrowed" my mom's glue gun - my sister pretended she needed it and passed it on to me to use. :))
  • Ribbon (the wider the better!) It doesn't matter what kind of ribbon it is, but keep in mind that you use it for the wreath hanger, too, so you will want to color coordinate the ribbon. I can't remember how much of it I needed, I'm sorry! To be safe, you could get a 10 yd. spool and I'm fairly certain that will be long enough.
  • Some sort of garland/decoration (glitter spirals, glitter branches/leaves, bead garland)
Here is a very brief run-down of how I made the wreath, followed by progress pictures as I went along.
1. Take the plastic off of your straw wreath.
2. Hot glue the start of your ribbon to your wreath, then wrap the wreath (without cutting the ribbon until you're done!) - when done, cut the ribbon and hot glue the end of the ribbon down.

3. Take ribbon and make a "hanger" for the wreath. Hot glue the ribbon in place.

4. Take the little "metal tops" off of your ornaments. 

5. Make sure the holes at the top of the ornaments are facing down when you adhere them to the wreath (not visible). 

6. Hot glue your ornaments to the ribbon-wrapped wreath. Start by gluing your biggest ornaments around the outside of the entire wreath. You will want to glue them directly to the wreath and also put a dab of glue between two ornaments to hold them together.

7. Add garland/decorations as you go. Before you get too many ornaments on, you should glue these on. They can stick out from the sides and you glue the ornaments around them. It's much easier to add these as you go instead of waiting until the end.

8. You will do the outside ring of the wreath, then a layer on top of that...then you will do a third layer toward the inner circle and the inner circle itself. 

Here are photos of the three wreaths I made. If you have any questions about the process, please comment! Otherwise, go ahead and give it a try! I seriously had zero experience, art/crafting skills and just a brief online description of how to do this. You can do it, too! :)

Pink/Silver BFF Wreath:

Purples/Silver Sister Wreath:

Blues/Silver Family Wreath: 

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