Handmade Wreaths Make Great Personalized Gifts

Homemade Fabric Wreaths Make Great Christmas GiftsCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/56185425@N00/5015495891/

Christmas wreaths make nice holiday decorations for your living room or front door, but if you use Christmas materials, the wreath’s usefulness only lasts for the holiday season. Once the holidays are over, a wreath is tucked away in a box or other safe container and forgotten about. So several years ago, when I was first learning how to make a fabric wreath, I decided to use the basic directions, but create something different.

Homemade Gifts Make Christmas Presents Special

Receiving a homemade gift at Christmas always makes you feel special. Someone thought enough of you to take the time to pick out something you would particularly enjoy, and then made it for you. Unlike mass produced store-bought Christmas presents or artifical wreaths, a homemade fabric wreath is an original. No two wreaths are ever exactly the same. Thoughtful, as well as considerate, a fabric wreath says the giver cares, because the time they spent making it is part of the gift.

With wreaths beginning to grow in popularity, not just during the holidays but throughout the entire year, they make an excellent choice for giving. However, rather than using Christmas fabric, tree ornaments, and holiday décor to spice it up a notch, I used the favorite colors and interests of the person I was giving the gift to as inspiration.

Since these wreaths are made of non-holiday fabric, they can go on a wall in the living room, bedroom, den, or family room for the entire year. They can even be made to fit a kitchen or bathroom since humidity won’t hurt them. If you’re looking for a fantastic Christmas gift that people will be talking about for years to come, you won’t find a better gift then a homemade fabric wreath.

Begin With a Straw Wreath Form

Wrapping a Christmas Wreath With Ribbon is SimpleCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/3074601877/

This homemade gift begins with a straw wreath form. Straw forms offer an easy base to work with. They are sturdy enough to hold the weight of the fabric and decorations, yet light enough to hang on the wall with simply a nail. Just make sure to space the decorations somewhat evenly around the wreath. If a straw wreath ends up heavier on one side than the other, it won’t hang straight.

While styrofoam rings are also sturdy and light enough to hang easily, they will require more time and effort. To use a Styrofoam wreath, you'll need to punch holes into the form with a crochet hook or knitting needle before inserting the fabric square. You could also hot-glue each fabric square into place rather than try to insert it. Alternatively, the squares could also be secured with a heavy-duty straight pin, as the following video shows.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath Out of Lace

Craft stores sell both straw and styrofoam wreath rings, but if they aren’t available locally, they can also be purchased online from websites such as Create For Less, Save On Crafts, or Amazon.

For the Best Holiday Gifts Focus on Fabric Colors

Coordinate Fabric Colors for Your GiftCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/imcountingufoz/4401130106/

The pattern of each piece of fabric doesn’t matter because when the squares are scrunched together, the overall effect of the colors is what’s important as the following video shows.

Variety of Custom-Made Wreaths for Gifts

Look at the Effect the Colors Have

The quality of the material doesn’t matter either. You won’t be washing the wreath, so focus on how well the colors you pick coordinate with each other. You want colors that match well. A green and white print with solid colored squares of green or white for contrast would look nice. You could also use a vibrant red print for the entire wreath, or make something with a high degree of contrast, such as red and white.

The most important aspect is to give some serious thought to the person receiving the wreath:

  1. What is their favorite color?
  2. What color scheme dominates their home?
  3. What are their hobbies and interests?

Pre-thought will help produce a non-traditional, yet personalized wreath – one they can showcase and cherish in their home throughout the year.

How to Make a Fabric Wreath

A 3-inch vinyl quilt-cutting square is best for marking the fabric before cutting, but any stiff material like cardboard also works. The amount of material needed hinges on the size of the straw wreath form. The larger the form, the more material it will take. Actual fabric amount also depends on how closely you bunch the squares together, but an average wreath will take about three yards of fabric.

The back of the wreath won’t show since you’ll place it against the wall when hung. However, the first row of fabric squares should completely cover the inner straw form that might show once you hang the wreath. If the first square placement is misjudged, just put the next one below the first. Don’t take the misplaced square out. Placement isn’t that critical. A zigzagged, jumbled look is preferred.

Wreath Supplies:

  • 10” to 12” straw wreath form
  • about 3 yards of material, cut into 3” squares
  • short Phillips screwdriver
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • assorted decorations, as desired
  • spray glitter or material sealer (optional)

Fabric Wreath Instructions:

  1. Stick the tip of the screwdriver into the center of a fabric square, with the right side of the material facing up.
  2. Bunch the material around the screwdriver, and get a good grip on it.
  3. Begin at the inner circle about two-thirds of the way down, and poke the tip of the screwdriver into the straw wreath form, driving the material into the wreath. 
  4. Pull the screwdriver back out, making sure that the material square stays firmly in place. 
  5. Continue poking the material squares into the form, placing each square about 1/4" to 1/2" apart, but not in strict rows. You want them close enough that the straw form doesn’t show through, but staggered.
  6. When finished, the fabric wreath is ready to decorate. Place desired decorations onto the wreath to check out the look, then rearrange until satisfied.
  7. Carefully hot glue all decorations into place.
  8. Spray with glitter or a material sealer, if desired.

Visual Directions for Making a Fabric Wreath for Gifts

How to Make the Fabric Wreath Personal

My daughter-in-law’s favorite color is black, so I started designing a black wreath for her with a yard of solid black material I already had on hand. To that material, I added a bit of white remnant and bought enough black-and-white print on clearance to finish the project. In addition, I picked up a small bouquet of black roses at the dollar store and some artificial green silk leaves.

Personalize Your Christmas PresentCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ringo_ichigo/1209504792/

I also added a couple of leftover ladybugs from a previous craft project and a cute designer bee with eyes that wiggled. A large black-and-white bow at the top of the wreath was its finishing touch.

Clipping the roses off so that only 1/2-inch of the stem remained, I arranged the leaves in a circular pattern on both sides of the wreath and hot-glued them down. I didn’t place them directly across from each other, but arranged them on more of a diagonal. After placing several of the black roses on top of the leaves, the ladybugs and bee were scattered to fill out the wreath. I then set the bow in place, and gave the whole thing a light spray of glitter to make it shine.

My daughter-in-law was so excited with the wreath that she went out and bought a pair of expensive, clear glass living-room lamps. That enabled her to place black silk flowers inside the lamp base. She then hung the decorative wreath on the living room wall in between the two lamps.

Additional Wreath Decorating Ideas

The holiday season offers lots of decorating ideas in addition to the artificial flowers, leaves, and craft insects I used. Walk down any Christmas holiday aisle and you’ll find plenty of Christmas wreath, tree, and centerpiece decorations to choose from. What you're looking for is decorations that doesn’t carry a holiday theme.

  • individually wrapped candy
  • assorted velvet bows
  • assorted ribbons
  • pinecones, traditional brown or painted and glittered
  • crocheted Christmas ornaments
  • colored cookie cutters
  • light Christmas ornaments: butterflies, bells, sports uniforms and players, bucket of beer, glittered fairies, snowflakes, angels, hearts, or stars

The choice of decorations for the wreath is as important as the fabric, so make sure to handpick the wreath decorations as carefully as you picked the material for the wreath itself. For example, a gardener would enjoy a wreath made in a dark forest green with tiny gardening tools scattered around the wreath. Someone who sews would enjoy decorations that included spools of thread, a small package of needles, button, curling ribbon, and other sewing supplies.

In addition to their interests, think about how their home is decorated. Is the overall style country, modern, gothic, or something more casual? Does everything match excactly? Or are pieces chosen individually for their interest and value? You can also zero in on the room in the house where you'd like the wreath to go. A bathroom wreath might have travel-sized toothpaste tubes and tiny bottles of mouthwash, along with a toothbrush and a bar of soap. A kitchen wreath could have measuring spoons, small kitchen gadgets, plastic apples, or even toy utensils you'd use with an easy-bake oven.

While large craft stores contain endless gift ideas, department and discount stores – especially during the holiday season – also offer lots of ideas:

  • small birds, butterflies, and other animals and insects
  • crocheted or felt flowers and leaves
  • fancy or unique buttons
  • fabric appliqués
  • small pieces of artificial fruit
  • foam stickers: flowers, stars, zoo animals, music notes, fish
  • craft studio kits: contain bows, rickrack, beads, ribbon flowers
  • colored shoelaces 
  • pompons
  • letters to spell out their name
  • miniature refrigerator magnets
  • Gel Clings or layered accents: assorted flowers, animals, insects, sports, ballet dancers

Don't forget to focus on the receiver's personality as well. A patriot wreath would be created out of red, white, and blue material. It might have tiny American flags, and red, white, and blue ribbons. Maybe add a few stars for extra fun. A Valentine's wreath would be made from red and white material, and then decorated with assorted hearts, ribbons, and chocolate kisses. You could also strategically fill in the center with a large cupid. 

Keep Your Holiday Gifts Unique

Holiday fabric wreaths have been popular for years, but many use plain and simple patterns. In fact, most of the holiday wreaths I've seen, let the contrast of the colored fabric carry the design. While colors can be stunning, as the above video shows, if you’re looking for a more unique handmade gift, you'll want to take advantage of the season's excellent ideas for making fabric wreaths more decorative and individual.

Think about the receiver’s favorite colors, home décor, hobbies and interests. Then take advantage of the holiday's offerings by making the time to investigate the trinkets available in your local area.