DIY Wreath Ideas
Who needs greens when you have fruit? James T. Farmer's pomegranate wreath says "happy holidays" in an inventive way. Photographs by James T. Farmer III, Maggie Yelton and Laurey W. Glenn from Wreaths for All Seasons by James T. Farmer III, reprint permission by Gibbs Smith Publisher.
At 6 years old, lifestyle expert James Farmer watched a grapevine wreath being made and decided he could make one too. So he made one and another and eventually he made so many he wrote a beautiful book about them called Wreaths for All Seasons.
If you look at a wreath and think, Hmm, I’d like to make one but it’d never turn out looking right, Farmer says it's about the message, not the method. “In his homilies during weddings, my granddaddy, who's a Baptist minister, talks about how the ring is an outward and visible sign of the love within,” Farmer says. “The wreath does the same thing. It says: I am a symbol of the holiday spirit within.”
Farmer's Wreath Rules
- Location, location, location. Will your wreath go over your mantel? On the door? On a table with a hurricane glass in the middle? Once you figure out the space, the size and shape will fall into place.
- Don’t make this more difficult than it has to be. “I always say, give me some moss and a hot glue gun and I’m set,” he says.
- See rule number 2. “Go on and cheat and buy some sort of wreath base or form,” Farmer says. “You’re not going to make a perfect circle and you’re just going to frustrate yourself.” While you’re at it, buy some greenery from a craft store or a local market. Farmer suggests grapevines, magnolia leaves or pine in different shades and textures. “Sometimes I’ll throw in some eucalyptus or fir to give it a blue tint within all the green,” he says.
With those wreath rules in mind, build up from the base with fruit, pinecones, berries or whatever other embellishments suit your taste. Farmer prefers natural and preserved elements, but this is your chance to express the true nature of the spirit you’re sharing. So if you want to cover your wreath with plastic light-up Santa elves, go for it. Here are a few of Farmer’s favorite themes for inspiration:
Fruit Forward – Pomegranates are gorgeous in any form: whole, halved or dried and arranged on a holiday wreath. And don't be afraid to use all of one thing as decoration either. "A white or red carnation isn't lowly or pitiful," Farmer says. "You put a bunch of those on a wreath and it's amazing."
Glitter Bug – Never underestimate the power of a can of gold or silver spray paint, especially around the holidays. "My great grandmother spray-painted everything; she survived the Depression and always found ways to be resourceful," Farmer says. "If you start with a pretty green wreath and by New Year's it's not so green, spray it with silver or gold and glam it up."
Citrus and Cones – Spice up your wreath with dried orange slices and assorted pinecones. "We think red and green during the holidays, but orange and brown is stunning throughout the season," Farmer says.
Williamsburg in the Round – Capture that classic Colonial look with wrapped bunches of cinnamon sticks, dried orange slices and pomegranates for extra texture and style.
On the Hunt – Make a strong statement with a wreath adorned with artichokes and pheasant feathers. "Feathers give it a touch of whimsy, but it's also very handsome," Farmer says. He comes from a family of hunters who keep him supplied, but pheasant feathers are available at craft stores as well.
Still not sure you can pull it off? Farmer has plenty of wreaths to pick from on his website, from boxwood and burlap to a sunburst style rimmed with pinecones and gold lotus pods. "I even wire wreaths to the front of my truck," Farmer says. "My family always says, 'If it sits still, James will put a wreath on it.'"