Monday, December 14, 2015

How to Make a Wild Grapevine Wreath

I have always avoided trying to make wreaths as I figured I had to purchase a wire frame and then hot glue or wire decorations around the wreath. The whole process seemed too involved for me to be interested.

Poison Ivy
Virginia Creeper Vine
This year, I have been changing my mindset and trying to do more with what I have around instead of copying other’s designs. My yard has plenty of wild growth around its perimeter and so one day while Eric was fishing, I set about to clip vines and branches that I thought would look good on a wreath and collected them in a large trash bag. You would be surprised at how many plants are still really beautiful in the winter. Another surprise was how many wild grapevines are wound through the underbrush.
Honeysuckle Vine
Once I had enough collected, I sorted out the greens from the red berries and other wild collections. You might want to wear gloves while you do this as many of the clippings were thorny or prickly.  Also, make sure you are aware of the difference between poison ivy vines and other wild vines like honeysuckle, wild grape or Virginia creeper. Even though the vines are dormant, the irritating sap, urushiol, is still present.

Wrap vines in a circle

Grab one end of a section of wild grape vine and make a circle about the size of what you want for a wreath. Hold it in place and continue to wrap the rest of the vine around the circle, squeezing them together as you wind. Add new sections of vine if needed until you have at least six to eight wraps.

 Wire or tie the vines together in four places to keep the vines securely in place. If you are using freshly cut vines, they should bend easily in place. On the other hand, if your vines are stiff, try soaking them in a little warm water for a few minutes and they should soften up enough to bend.

Gather a few sections of evergreens with their stems together. Place them on the wreath and tie them to the vines with a section of crafting wire by wrapping it around a couple of times. Don’t cut the end of the wire, but continue wrapping new sections of greens every three to four inches, overlapping each other as you go. Pull the wire tight so that the greens don’t fall out when you hang up your wreath.
Add the decorative berries like winter holly, or wild rosehips or bittersweet.
Wild Rose Hips

I found some milkweed pods and dried pokeweed berries. If they have stems, you just poke them through the greens and between the tightly coiled grape vine base. Just be creative.

Milkweed Pod

Keep the direction of the wreath consistent so that you have an established top and bottom. When you are finished, wrap a few loops of wire at the top to hang from your front door or chimney or wherever. On my extra-large wreath, I also secured a wire across the middle of the wreath from top to bottom to keep the wreath from stretching into an oval while hanging.

That’s it. It takes about thirty minutes but I would not say anything about it was hard and the only thing I had to purchase was the craft wire, which I always have on hand anyhow. Give wreath-making a try with what’s growing in your yard.