Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Beachy Wreath for the Powder Room & Tutorial

So, yesterday I gave you a little hint that there would be more to come for the powder room...Here is what I worked on today- a wreath...and it's beachy for my mermaid.

I've been thinking a lot about the construction of a wreath, and how to simplify the instructions for a tutorial...So, I'm going to explain here how to DIY in simple, easy steps.  It is SO easy, you will never pay for a decorated one again!

Step 1

You will need a blank wreath.  I once  pulled wild grapevines out of our trees in the woods in Bay Minette. They grow WAY up high and eventually will kill a tree, so when we pulled them down to help the trees, I "recycled" them and made wreaths.  Those are long gone, so I bought this one at Hobby Lobby. 

Step 2

Thinking about your decor, or the season, or whatever subject matter you want to represent, gather together the elements needed, as outlined below:  

  • You will need something to wrap around the wreath.  It can be ribbon, burlap strips, or anything to soften the look, but it needs to be long enough to go all the way around it.  I am using vintage handmade lace.  I am not damaging the lace because I want it to remain useful for other things, so I just loosely wrapped it around, and tucked under the ends.  If you want a bow or long streaming pieces of ribbon on your wreath, you will make it with the same material.  Mine does not have a bow or streamers.
Grapevine Wreath and Ribbon

Vintage Lace
  • You will need a focal point.  This is the one larger piece that will command the attention.  In this case, it's the large starfish.  
Large Starfish
  • You will need moss, to soften and make it look rich and full.
Two Different Kinds of Moss

  • Also, you will need something to draw the eye outwards from the focal piece, generally in the two opposite directions, either left and right, or up and down. You would generally use long stemmed flowers or greenery.  I am using blue paper flower stems that I got at Hobby Lobby.

Paper Flowers on Long Stems
  • Then, you will need smaller theme related filler items.  I am using small seashells.

Filler Shells
  • And, finally, you need your related embellishments.  I am using mother of pearl buttons, pearls that I already had on hand, and blue rhinestones on wires that I got in the wedding department at Hobby Lobby.


Shells and Another Button

  • Floral wire, hot glue, and wire cutters
Floral Wire

Step 3- Construction

How will the wreath be oriented when hanging, or where is the top?  Identify that now, then beginning at the top, wrap your ribbon or lace around until the ends meet.  In this case, I am not using glue, because I don't want to damage the fragile vintage lace, but if I had used new ribbon, I would have put a dot of hot glue on the wreath (back side) to hold the ends of the ribbon.  

Now, if you are going to use a bow, figure out where it will be, and go ahead and make a bow, and place it.  Otherwise, go on to the focal piece.  Determine where it will be and place it there temporarily. You can glue everything on later when you are pleased with the arrangement. 

Then, cutting stems as needed, place the stems around the focal piece, going out in both directions.  Just stick them in temporarily for now to get placement right.  When you are happy with the overall shape of the decorations, go ahead and use the hot glue or wire to put the pieces in place.  I used wire for the starfish, and glue (just a tiny bit does it) for the stems.

When I wired the starfish, I used the same wire and added an embellishment.  I made the piece by stacking a shell with a hole in it on top of the pretty blue button, then threading the wired rhinestone through the hole.

Now, place the moss at the base of the flowers, around the focal piece, and use floral wire or glue to attach. I like to use wire because it doesn't tear the moss apart and you can take it off and recycle it when you are tired of this look.  I just cut small lengths about six inches and bend them into a "u" shape, then stick through and twist in the back.  Each piece of moss will require several wires.

This is what it looks like now, before filler material is added.  You can see it starting to come together, but it just still needs more to fill it out....

...So, next you will add the filler materials.  In this case, it's smaller shells. Place these items until you are happy with the overall look, making sure they are oriented toward the right direction to keep the design flowing, then wire or glue them into place.  I used hot glue for the shells.

Add more embellishments...I added buttons, pearls and sparkles...

If you have empty spots, just fill them in.  It's all about layering and building.  You will be able to see when it looks finished, and when it is, that's it!  You've created your very own wreath and you're ready to show it off!

To see more examples of wreaths constructed using the same design concept outlined here, follow this link to my Pinterest board, grapevine wreath samples.  When viewing them all together, it's easy to see the similarities.

Mine is ready to hang.  I'll take pics and share them tomorrow. 

It's so much fun and easy to make your own wreath!  If you make one using this tutorial, please take pics and let me hear from you.  I would love to see what you've created!

Until next time, take care.

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