I love the smell of fresh greenery in the house, especially around the holidays. Every year, I purchase a fresh wreath and swag to decorate with each holiday season, like the gorgeous examples below. This year, however, I decided to get a little more creative (and thrifty) and make fresh holiday decorations using greenery from our yard. I made a rosemary swag (which I hinted about last Friday) and a magnolia wreath, and they were both so easy and fun to make!
Rosemary Swag Holiday Decoration
During the Christmas season when I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I love to hang a fresh swag holiday decoration on the window above my kitchen sink. I normally order a balsam or juniper swag, but this year I decided to use fresh rosemary from our garden instead. It only took about 10 minutes to cut the rosemary and assemble the swag, and it makes my kitchen smell soooo good.
- floral wire
- fishing line
- ribbon – I like to use the type with wire on the edges, but any kind is fine.
- greenery – I used rosemary because that is what I had in the garden, but you could also use fir, spruce, pine, holly, or any other nice looking greenery that has a nice drape to it.
Step 2: Wrap Greenery with Floral Wire
Bunch your greenery together wherever it looks most pleasing – I bunched mine about 1/4 of the total length down from the clipped end. I also staggered the ends a little so that it looked more natural. Wherever you choose, wrap securely with floral wire. You can shape the ends to your liking at this point.
Step 3: Tie Fishing Line and Ribbon
Measure the area where you want to hang your swag. For me, this was from the hook above the window above my sink. Double this measurement and add a few inches. Cut this length in fishing line. Loop the fishing line through the floral wire bunch and knot the two ends of the fishing line securely, making a big fishing line loop. Next, tie your ribbon into a pretty bow around the floral wire bunch and through the fishing line loop. I like to leave the ribbon ends loose. Your swag holiday decoration is ready to hang!
Magnolia Wreath Holiday Decoration
Rather than spending $50+ on a fresh magnolia leaf wreath this year, I spent an hour of my time and only $11 on supplies that I can use year after year. Not only did I save money by making my own special holiday decoration, I get so much joy from seeing something beautiful I created hanging on my front door!
Step 1: Gather Materials
- grapevine wreath – I got a 14″ wreath from Hobby Lobby (only $3.99), but you can use whatever size looks best where you want to hang it. Remember, it will look about 4 inches larger across once you have the leaves on.
- 80-120 magnolia leaves, depending on the size of your wreath and your preference on fullness – I have two magnolias in my front yard, so I cut the ends off a few low-hanging branches. If you don’t have a magnolia tree, look for trees around your neighborhood. One of my neighbors recently trimmed her tree and had branches and branches of leaves by the road waiting for trash pickup.
- floral wire
- hot glue
Step 2: Cut Magnolia Leaves
Cut each leaf off of the branch, leaving the leaf stems long. While you cut, be thinking about what sizes you have and which leaves look nice together. Toss any curled or diseased leaves or any leaves with bugs on them (I had a few with spiderwebs!). Your hands will smell amazing when you finish this step!
Step 3: Group Leaves with Floral Wire
Gather magnolia leaves into groups of 4-5 leaves with larger leaves in the back and smaller leaves in the front. Fan them out a bit so that the leaves aren’t totally overlapping each other. Tie the stems tightly with floral wire, leaving several inches of floral wire loose on either side of the group. Leave 10-15 leaves loose to use later.
Step 4: Wrap Leaf Groups Around Wreath
Wrap the floral wire from your magnolia leaf groups around the grapevine wreath. To attach the groups securely, weave the floral wire through the grapevine and tie the floral wire together tightly on the back of the wreath. Continue securing the leaf groups around the wreath such that each new group hides the wire of the previous group.
When possible, I tucked the leaf stems underneath the grapevine loops to give it a more natural look.
Take a look at your wreath and notice any bald-looking areas and any areas where floral wire is visible, especially around the interior of the wreath. Using hot glue, adhere your loose leaves in an overlapping pattern consistent with the rest of your wreath.
For me, the most effective way to glue the leaves in a way that looked natural was by putting hot glue on the stem of each leaf and then fanning out as pictured below. This pattern secured the leaf to the wreath but left the major portion of the leaf to overlap naturally with the other leaves.
Look at your wreath from several different angles and decide which way you’d like to hang it. One side of my wreath was naturally fuller than the other, so I decided this would be the bottom. You may decide to fill out some more areas of the wreath at this point.
Step 7: Add a Bow and Hang your Wreath!
Other Natural Holiday Decoration Ideas
Depending on what kind of plants you have in your yard, the possibilities for homemade holiday decorations are endless. Here are some other ideas:
I don’t have any coniferous pine trees in my yard, but if I did I would put heaps of pine cones in textured bowls all over the house, like the beautiful shot below from Tracy’s Trinket’s and Treasures.
If I had any crochet skills, I would love to put together a gorgeous crochet berry garland like Freya Dowson‘s beautiful holiday decoration pictured below.
If I had mistletoe in my yard, I would put together a mistletoe kissing ball like Martha Stewart‘s, pictured below.
Have you ever used greenery from your yard to make holiday decorations? Did you try one of the projects from this post?
Let me know how it turned out in the comments!