How to make a Christmas wreath

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18 December 2023

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Deck your halls and doors with a handmade sustainable wreath.

Making a wreath every December has become a favourite Christmas tradition of mine. This wreath uses native greenery (apart from a willow and jasmine base and some sneaky Aussie eucalyptus) from my garden and foraged from friends’. It smells divine, like the bush on a summer’s day – like a Kiwi Christmas.

This wreath loves the bush too, and all of nature, because it’s completely biodegradable; instead of using a wire frame or florist wire, I’ve created a frame out of twisted willow and have used string to tie it all together.

After Christmas, I’ll either chuck the whole thing in the compost – string and all – or I’ll snip the greenery off and save my willow frame for next year.

You will need:

A wreath frame (buy one or make your own)


Sphagnum moss (I buy mine at the garden centre)

Greenery – I used tōtara, rimu, kawakawa, muehlenbeckia, kahikatea, yellow harakeke flowers, pink mānuka and pūriri flowers, and – for a bit of healthy competition from over the ditch – some eucalyptus. Keep in mind that softer greenery will wilt more quickly than prickly plants like conifers, which will dry better.

To make your wreath

1. Make your base. I twisted the willow strands together into a rough circle, bound it together with some long pieces of jasmine, then tied the loose end with string. You could use any bendy vine, but just keep in mind that it needs to be strong enough to hold the weight of your greenery. If you can’t find any suitable plant material and don’t have a wreath frame, you could unravel a wire coat hanger and bend that into shape.

2. Soak the sphagnum moss in water so it absorbs moisture that will help your wreath stay fresh for longer. Roughly place a layer of this on top of your wreath frame, then fasten it to the frame by wrapping it with string until it’s secured all the way around.

3. Trim your greenery into pieces about one and a half times the size of your hand. Strip any leaves from the bottom of the stems. Now make lovely little mixed bunches. I like to use two or three plants per bunch and combine contrasting leaf forms or colours. Tie each bunch together with string. Once you have lots of little bunches, begin tying them to your frame, moving in one direction around the frame, and slightly overlapping the stems of each bunch as you go so that the sphagnum moss and frame underneath are hidden. If you run out of bunches, make some more.

4. Once your wreath is covered, hold it up in front of you so you can see what it looks like when vertical. If there are any gaps, it’s easy to slide in some more foliage. Once you’re happy that it all looks balanced and there aren’t any holes, tie a ribbon around it and hang it up. You can keep it fresh for longer by spritzing it or taking it down and soaking it in water for while. If any of your foliage wilts, you can freshen up your wreath by popping in new bunches.

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