Anna, one of our German colleagues said: “During the Advent Season we want the house to smell like Christmas – with cinnamon sticks and vanilla cookies, hot chocolate, traditional glühwein (mulled wine) and the wonderful seasonal aroma of Christmas trees.”
And is there anything more rewarding than a little festive DIY? She asked Stefan Schuster, designated flower tamer and Advent wreath specialist at Blumen Hoffmann-Schuster (in a small place called Besseringen, near to the German Lands’ End office in Mettlach), for help. He demonstrated a simple way to make this classic and stylish wreath.
HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS HANDY
Having the right tools is half the job. Other than fresh, soft fir, decorative ribbon, pine cones, a blank wreath and pillar candles you will also need a few other things. We recommend you visit either an art supplies shop or your favourite local DIY shop. For a start we chose a 40cm/16” straw wreath, but feel free to use any other size to suit your table.
YOU WILL NEED
- 1 straw wreath
- Approximately 4mts of green wrapping ribbon
- A handful of floristry clips
- 12 medium sized pine cones, either fresh from the woods or bought with a finish from your DIY store
- Large pillar candles, with or without a disc and metal prongs
- Green wrapping wire
- 1 mm copper wire
- A hot glue gun
- Christmas tree fir (for example: Noble Fir)
- Black annealed wire for the candles, in case you’re not using the discs
- A pair of wire cutters
MIND YOUR FINGERS
We love the ‘oh-so-practical’ hot glue gun, however, please take extra care – and especially if you have the smallest members of the family helping you. Keep little hands well away from the gun and the dripping glue, it’s really hot and can leave nasty burns!
AND NOW TO BUSINESS
First thing we need to do is to cover the entire straw wreath with green wrapping tape, as you don’t want any straw showing at the end. Clamp it to the wreath and then start covering the entire wreath (image 1). When finished, pin the tape end to the wreath (image 2).
AND NOW FOR THE FIR
Place one fir sprig after another (image 3), overlapping onto the wreath and fix with green wrapping wire (image 4). For stability, leave the base of the wreath bare (image 5). We strongly recommend you use Christmas tree fir for best results – not only are these softer and better looking, they will also last longer and not lose needles as fast as the cheaper ones. And don’t skimp! Your wreath will look all the better for being dense and rich.
TIME TO DECORATE!
So, now that the basic framework has been done, it’s time to get to the fun part. We opted for a simple classic look but you can be as creative as you like. First, the pillar candles need to get firmly attached to the wreath. If you’ve chosen candles with discs, they will have metal spikes at the base which you can push into the wreath. You can also do it without the discs by inserting two lengths of the thick, black annealed wire into each candle, leaving plenty sticking out at the base (image 6). Again, push the candles into the wreath (image 7). As for the pinecones, we used a hot glue gun to stick them onto the wreath (image 8). They look particularly good when clustered together in small groups.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Four beautifully tied bows complete our Advent wreath. Tying the perfect bow looks so much easier than it actually is – so we suggest you practice on a very long piece of ribbon, before (generously) cutting the ribbon to the required length. And this is how it’s done: make three bows (each just a little smaller than the previous one) and place on top of each other, holding them with your thumb. Then use a small piece of copper wire to tie the bows together (image 10). Cover the wire with a nice knot and stick the bows onto the wreath with the help of some extra wire (image 11).
And there you go – your unique, home made Advent wreath. If you’re into other colour themes, or decorations like flowers, baubles, cinnamon sticks, a silver or gold spray finish – do indulge yourself. There’s no limit when it comes to your personal style and preferences. This is your very own little piece of Christmas art.