Crafting a Winter Wreath | Sustainable Decor
Nothing quite matches the anticipation and nostalgia of decorating for the festive season. Whether viewed through the eyes of beloved little ones or your own inner child, Christmas décor has a unique ability to take us all back in time. However, the joy and collective memories are juxtaposed with consumption and excess, and we are always looking for ways to incorporate sustainability without sacrificing tradition. Enter Sif Agustsdottir, a familiar face from the soulful Winter Forest shoot, as well as interior designer and longtime Sahara Muse. She has shared her passion for and expertise in wreath-making with us. Perhaps her Icelandic roots enhance her creativity with natural materials, but her step-by-step wreath-making guide and helpful tips make it possible for anyone. Her craft not only weaves together nature's bounty but also echoes a commitment to mitigating the environmental impact of the festive season. Join us in bringing the spirit of the wintry outdoors into your home, crafting a Christmas wreath that reflects the true values and beauty of the season.
How did you start with wreath making?
Because I live right by the forest (Epping Forest), I started taking home branches and things that I found or cut to put in vases at home, and it kind of developed into trying to make wreaths. After making a few, I just loved it. They looked so beautiful even from fully foraged materials. Very cost-effective and beautiful. I often pick wildflowers and dry them in the summer and autumn to add to the wreaths later in the year. I even sometimes make summer wreaths with bright cut flowers from the forest and garden.
What do you enjoy about the process?
It’s a nice easy walk and I can take my daughter with me to the forest and look for critters, frogs or animals at the same time as picking some foliage. It’s just a really relaxing thing to do, and the actual making of the wreath is really satisfying.
Are you celebrating Christmas this year, and if so, what are you looking forward to?
I just love living through my five-year-old and seeing the excitement with everything Christmas-related. It’s just so innocent and magical. I also try to tie some Icelandic traditions into the mix, so my daughter can learn a bit about her heritage.
What you'll need to get started:
Foraged Supplies: Gather evergreen branches, pinecones, and berries from a green space or forest.
Found Treasures: Explore your surroundings for dried flowers, twigs, and seed pods, adding a touch of rustic charm.
Reusable Base: Opt for a metal hoop or a sustainable wreath base.
Quality Floristry Wire: Ensure durability by using good quality wire for a secure wreath structure.
Secateurs or Small Clippers: An essential tool for trimming and collecting foliage.
Bleaching Agent (Optional): To achieve the rustic pale look, consider using a bleaching agent for ferns.
Additional Decorations (Optional):
Use your creativity; these can be anything that appeals to your eye.
Gypsophila (fresh or dried)
Straw flowers (red, rust, or white)
Bleached flowers, ferns, Marcela, Ruscus Aculeatus
Sif's Method: How to craft your Christmas wreath
1. Prepare the Base:
Start with a metal hoop, tightly securing the wire around one of the joins. This will be the foundation of your wreath.
2. Layer with Foliage:
For live foliage wreaths, add a layer of moss to the base for moisture. Secure larger branches, pine, and fern, ensuring a firm wrap as the foliage dries and shrinks over time.
3. Build a Foliage Bouquet:
Create a small bouquet with varied foliage, focusing on different colours and shapes. Keeping the taller fronds or flowers at the back is recommended so everything can be seen in the final wreath. Layer this on top of the first set of foliage, working clockwise to cover the entire hoop.
4. Personalize with Decorations:
Integrate dried flowers and other found objects to add colour and interest. Keep it natural for the most sustainable approach, embracing locally sourced materials.
5. Secure and Hang:
Wrap the wire around and create a loop at the back for hanging. Adjust and add any extras where needed for a balanced look.
6. Display and Enjoy:
Traditionally, wreaths are for the front door, but there are many other places in the home to decorate, and wreaths are as beautiful indoors. Some of Sif's favourite spots include a front gate, a shed door, or indoor walls. Simply swap out a picture in a central space in your home and replace it with a wreath temporarily.
7. How long will it last?
Thoroughly dried wreaths can last up to a year or two. Fresh wreaths, with proper preparation, can last up to a month or longer, as the leaves may dry, but it will still look beautiful.
In the spirit of creating enduring memories, Sif's approach to Christmas embodies the essence of simplicity and sustainability. As you embark on your own festive preparations and perhaps crafting your own Christmas wreath, remember that each sustainable choice honours the spirit of the season. By weaving together nature's treasures and cherished traditions, you, too, can create magical memories for your loved ones.