Paper Holiday Wreath
I love decorating for holidays, but one thing we haven’t had in a while was a Christmas wreath. We used to buy fresh greenery to hang on our door, but I decided this year I’d try something more lasting by crafting my own. I love working with paper, and since our style of door is tricky to hang anything on, something delicate would work just inside our entryway. Feel free to play with colour and texture: a mix of red and cream poinsettias with green leaves would be lovely, and I used a paper with a slight texture on one side. An all white version like this could even stay up all year. Despite its availability and relatively low cost, paper can seem like an intimidating medium, but if you choose a sturdy heavier stock like I did, it’s pretty durable and easier to keep for future use.
To make a wreath like mine you will need:
- A print out of the cut_and_trace_template for all petals and leaves: you can print on a heavy stock for easy tracing or, if you prefer, print directly on your paper using this print_and_cut_template.
- a styrofoam wreath form. I used a 16″ round, but you can also use the kind that are flat on one side.
- roll of ribbon to cover the form. I used a wide wired style; the wire helps to shape it around the form. You may need more than one spool depending on your wreath and ribbon sizes.
- paper for your flowers. I used 10 sheets of a card stock (98 lbs paper), but I would recommend having at least 14 for a wreath this size, just in case (you may need more if you are printing out your supply of pieces).
- glue gun and sticks.
- scissors for cutting paper and ribbon.
- bone folder or other scoring tool. You could use a COMPLETELY dry ball point pen, if you have one lying around.
- pencil and eraser. I like to use a white vinyl style.
Optional: cutting mat, hole punch.
1. Begin by securing one end of your ribbon to the wreath with a small bit of hot glue. It’s best to apply the glue to the ribbon and then stick it to the form. Wrap your ribbon around the form, being sure to pull it tightly. Depending on how wide your ribbon is, you may need to overlap quite a bit like I did, but the wired edges were helpful for shaping it around the curves. When you’ve covered the entire form, cut the edge, fold under and glue in place. Set aside.
2. Print out the shapes for the leaves and cut out your templates. If your paper has a right and wrong side, trace the shapes onto the wrong side of the paper. For one poinsettia you will need 5 large petals and 4 small ones; I made 6 for my wreath, plus 6 laurel sprays, 8 holly leaves and 8 ivy leaves. You will need two solid sheets to make the 8 pine “sprigs” I made. Trace out as many as you need and then cut out with your paper scissors. You can use your eraser to carefully erase any lines you may have missed.
3. Using your bone folder or other scoring tool, carefully score all the details of the petals and leaves. To do this, lay a ruler down to guide and ‘draw’ a crease along the pieces. Don’t worry about getting them exactly as shown. When you have scored the lines, carefully fold along the lines. You aren’t making a hard crease, just giving some shape.
4. To make a poinsettia bloom, glue 5 large petals together at one end in a star-shape. The ends of the petals are not symmetrical, but don’t worry about using them all one way, or getting them perfect – it’s more natural to be a bit off-kilter. Layer 4 smaller petals on top with glue in the centre. If you have a hole punch, punch a pile of circles from your scraps to add in the centre; if you don’t, just cut some tiny scraps of paper. Place a drop of glue in the centre and sprinkle with your tiny “seeds.” Shake off the excess.
5. To make the pine “sprigs,” cut a sheet in 4, lengthwise. Fold a piece in 4 and cut along the creases, leaving about 1/4″ uncut. Then cut a narrow fringe as shown. Unfold and roll into a tube, gluing as you go. You don’t want to line up the uncut edge, but rather make the tube longer as you go, to create length in the sprig.
6. To apply your “foliage” to the wreath, layer the laurel sprays on first and glue along their stems in place. To make the wreath more natural, overlap the edges, and wrap slightly over the sides. Layer the poinsettia blooms on top, also placing some more to the inner or outer sides.
7. Fill in around the poinsettia with the holly leaves, then the ivy, and finally accent with the pine sprigs. If you need to add more, cut more ivy and holly to fill in. When everything is in place, you can take a pencil or pen and carefully roll the petals and leaves around it to create a curl in the paper.
To hang my wreath, I looped a piece of ribbon through and hung it on my mirror using a suction hook. Hanging a wreath on a mirror is a nice designer touch, and so pretty with the reflection to make it appear larger. The hook I used was rather hideous so I did my best to hide it with an extra loop and big bow. If you can drill into your wall, you can hang with a hook the more traditional way.
At the end of the season – should you choose to take it down – store the wreath in a box that allows it to not get crushed or damaged: you could glue a smaller box inside at the centre to fit the wreath around and keep it from shifting. Or, hang it somewhere it won’t get damaged, covering loosely with a large bag. I love my new wreath and how it brings a subtle bit of wintery style to my mirror!