How to make a Christmas garland or wreath

Mantelpiece looking bare? Show off your decorating skills with a DIY Christmas garland or wreath.


Hands making a DIY Christmas garland

Key steps

If you want to know how to make a Christmas garland or wreath:

  1. If your main interest is decoration, you can buy pre-made bases.
  2. For a Christmas garland base, use florist’s wire to bind branches together along the length of a rope.
  3. For a Christmas wreath base, wind vines into a circle and let them dry.
  4. Secure decorations with string, wire or ribbon.

A wreath on the door is a lovely way to remind yourself of the season when you come home, and you can use garlands to make sure you don’t lose the sense of Christmas once you’ve gone through the door. If you want to know how to make a Christmas wreath from scratch or how to make your own garland, here’s a guide to help you out.

To keep your greenery-based DIY Christmas garland or wreath looking fresh for longer, spray it with a little water every couple of days. Don’t do this if you’ve incorporated lights, though.

How to make a Christmas garland for fireplace or staircase decoration

A garland usually takes the form of a string of decorated evergreen branches. You could think of it as a more elaborate and natural alternative to tinsel.

You can buy a plain pine garland and skip straight to decorating if you like. Wind a couple together if you can’t find one that’s bushy enough. Here’s how to make a Christmas garland from scratch if you’re feeling ambitious, though.

  1. First of all, get plenty of evergreen branches to use. If you don’t already have enough to hand, you could go to a place that sells Christmas trees and ask if they have any loose branches to spare.
  2. Take a length of sturdy wire or rope. This is going to be the central rope — your frame for the garland — so it should be the length you want the garland to be. If it’s green, it’ll blend better with the branches.
  3. Tie the end of the central rope around one of the branches.
  4. Take a roll of green florist’s wire and wrap it tightly around the branch and the central rope, in order to secure it. Don’t cut it off.
  5. Put the next branch slightly further along the central rope, overlapping the first branch.
  6. Wind the florist’s wire up from where you left off and use it to secure the new branch at the overlap point. Don’t overdo it; you want the branches to stay in place, but you don’t want to wind them so thoroughly that none of the twigs are poking out.
  7. Keep going, adding and securing new branches, until you’ve covered the entire central rope. Tie the other end of the rope to the last branch.

For decoration advice, skip down to the section on how to decorate your DIY Christmas garland or wreath.

How to make a Christmas wreath from scratch: making the base

Not every wreath will need a base. If you want to know how to make a bauble wreath, for example, it can be as simple as threading baubles of varying sizes onto a sturdy piece of wire that can be shaped into a circle. For a more traditional wreath, though, a base is going to be essential.

  1. Choose vines that are still fresh enough to be flexible. If your vines are too brittle to bend, soak them in water for an hour to make them more malleable.
  2. Bundle the vines together and shape them into a loop of the size you need. If they’re struggling to keep their shape, you can add a coathanger wire or two amongst the vines. 
  3. Weave the vines together where they meet, as well as you can manage, and wrap some of the vines around the entire wreath to hold it together.
  4. For added structural integrity, add the vines one by one, winding each around the ones that came before.
  5. Give your grapevine wreath a day or two to dry and you have a base for decoration.

If you want to jump straight to the decoration, you can buy a pre-made wreath base, often called a grapevine wreath. This is a simple loop of dried vines that you can attach decoration to.

How to decorate your DIY Christmas garland or wreath

Decorating your Christmas wreath or garland is very much up to you! You can secure decorations with string, wire, or ribbon. If you’re decorating a grapevine wreath base, you can tuck decorations between the vines.

Evergreen twigs or branches, pinecones, ribbons, and berries are probably the most traditional wreath or garland decorations. There’s no reason you can’t branch out, though. Use tinsel or ornaments you’ve left off the tree, if you’d like. For a snow effect, give your wreath or garland a light spray of white paint here and there. You could hide chocolate coins in there for the kids, but don’t paint those!

If knowing how to make your own Christmas garlands hasn’t made your home quite Christmassy enough, you might want to look into other decorations in the spirit of the season. Find out how to look after a poinsettia.

Originally published