Creating Simple Balsam Wreaths

During the winter holidays, many people enjoy the look of simple balsam wreaths hanging on their front doors and gates. Christmas wreaths such as balsam wreaths or boxwood wreaths are easy to make. Both are able to sustain the holiday season and will look as fresh at the end of the holiday as they did the day you made them. Following a few easy directions on how to make evergreen wreaths and other types of holiday wreaths will have you creating your own festive decorations in no time.

Balsam Wreath Tips and Techniques
Pine wreaths can be made in the same manner as balsam wreaths or any other evergreen wreath. The key is to start with fresh materials. Do not cut the evergreen boughs until you are ready to use them. If you find you cannot use them as quickly as you had originally thought, place the cut ends in a bucket of water until you are ready.

The perfect size for a door wreath or Christmas wreath is approximately 24 to 26 inches. That means the ring should be approximately ten inches in diameter and the balsam tips should be about ten inches as well. Wire coat hangers that are formed into a circle are a good size and even have a handy hook (Bend the hook so that it forms an enclosed loop).

While all evergreens work well for making wreaths, pine boughs are less rigid than balsam boughs and don't hold their shape as well. When making pine wreaths, use a larger ring with the same size evergreen tips. You can alleviate this issue by simply making smaller pine wreaths.

Making Evergreen Wreaths

Materials You Will Need:

  • Boughs (12 to 18 inches)
  • Rings (10 to 12 inches)
  • Wire (continuous roll)
  • Plant snips
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Decorations

Typically, wreath-makers use only the tips of the boughs to make a beautiful door wreath with little or no imperfections. Some wreath-makers like to use as much of the bough as possible to prevent waste. Using the entire bough will give you a much heavier wreath that is often wild and shaggy.

Constructing Your Wreath
Attach a continuous strand of florist's wire by wrapping it around the ring several times. Set the ring and wire aside and begin snipping the tips from each bough. You will have approximately three tips with an 18-inch bough, each about ten inches in length. The idea is to wrap the wire around the ring to secure it, and then to continue wrapping the bundles of balsam to the ring with the wire, while continuing to move around the ring.

For a thicker wreath, each bundle should have about six healthy pieces of evergreen or tips. For a thinner wreath, use only three or four pieces in each bundle. To give the wreath more fluff, snip the top piece in each bundle so that it's slightly shorter than the rest. To make a shaggy wreath, use as much of the boughs as possible, hiding the woody pieces at the bottom of each bundle.

Secure a fistful of balsam to the ring by wrapping the wire around the bundle several times with the wire. Overlap each new bundle as you work your way around the ring, making sure each consecutive bundle hides the wire of the last bundle. Wrap each bundle three times. Each consecutive wrap of wire will help secure the balsam bundles as you make your way around the ring. When you get to your last bundle, tuck the cut ends underneath the first bundle to the outside of the ring. Flip the ring and wrap the wire securely several times before making a hanging loop and cutting the wire.

When you finish the wreath, tie a bow on it. Using a hot glue gun, add decorations. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot glue or hot glue gun-both will be extremely hot.

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