One of my favourite things about Christmas is making a wonderful homemade wreath for the front door. It’s a fun and rewarding activity for adults and children alike! Here are my tips and a step by step guide on how to make your own with festive holly and other materials.

Holly is ideal for creating a long-lived wreath. The leaves are robust and waxy which makes them quite resistant to drying out, so they will last a long time. They are tough and not easily damaged when handling. The main challenge is making sure that they don’t damage you with their spines! Do wear a really thick pair of protective gloves to prevent scratches.  

And of course, holly is the just the start – you can include so many other natural materials.

Top tip

If you are making a wreath with younger family members then some less prickly options may be better.

Holly wreath ideas

You can make your wreath in all sorts of different sizes and styles. Try experimenting with different colours and materials. Keep it simple and natural, or decorate it to be bright and showy. Any extras could be hung elsewhere around the house or gifted to loved ones.

Make your wreath environmentally friendly by:

  • using 100% natural materials so you can put it on your compost heap when the festive season is over
  • making sure any non-recyclable items can be saved to use again year after year.

Equipment for making a wreath

Various options are available for the base of your wreath:

  • flexible stems of shrubs like willow, woven together and tied with wire to make a ring
  • a wire ring base available in florists or online, which can be padded out with moss. Secure the moss in place by wrapping around it with raffia string or wire
  • buy pre-made dried moss wreaths from craft shops
  • use a water-holding floral oasis ring. Oasis was traditionally made of plastic, but plastic-free, biodegradable versions are now available. Follow the instructions for soaking the ring for several hours before use. Ideally cut your holly and other vegetation the night before and leave the cut ends in a bucket of water too.

Other equipment you will need:

  • secateurs or strong scissors to cut the branches
  • florist wire or garden wire to tie the foliage in place
  • ribbon and other decorative objects if desired (environmentally-friendly if possible).

What greenery to collect for your wreath

You can use lots of types of plant for your wreath. Look in your garden, local market or florist. If you are foraging in the countryside, make sure you have the landowner’s permission and please follow our responsible foraging guidelines. Try to gather reasonably long lengths that can be cut to size later.

  • Holly: leaves and berries
  • Ivy: either the long trailing shoots or stems with flowers or berries
  • Mistletoe: handle very carefully as the berries burst easily
  • Pine cones: tie a loop of wire around the base of the cone and leave a trailing piece so you can attach them to the wreath
  • Conifer sprigs: a quick and easy way is to take some trimmings from the base of your Christmas tree
  • Evergreen garden shrubs, with or without berries.

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How to make a holly wreath

Step 1

After preparing your chosen base, use thick string, ribbon or wire to add a strong hanging loop to your wreath.

Step 2

Measure the thickness of your wreath base.

Step 3

Cut off a small sprig of holly branch that is about twice the length of the measurement you made in step 2.

Step 4

If you are using floral oasis

Push the first holly twig into the oasis at about a 45 degree angle to the wreath. Work your way around and then go back to fill in any gaps so no oasis is visible. The oasis wreath base is quite thick so you will probably have room for several rows of greenery. Now you can skip straight to step 10.

If you are using a twig, moss or wire ring base

Use florist wire to attach the first piece at about a 45 degree angle to the wreath. The cut end of the twig should be towards the inside of the wreath. You may need to remove some lower leaves on your twig.

Step 5

Take a look at the first piece and imagine the finished wreath. Will it be the size you want? Adjust the twig length accordingly. It’s worth now cutting all your remaining twigs to the same size to keep consistency around the wreath.

Step 6

Add the second piece next to the first, also at 45 degrees. Try to hide the cut stem underneath the first piece.

Step 7

Continue in the same way around the wreath.

Step 8

Go back and look for gaps or areas where you can see stems poking out. Add in more sprigs of greenery to cover them. This is a good way of using up smaller scraps.

Step 9

Give your wreath a tidy up by trimming off any leaves or twigs that are oversized or pointing the wrong way.

Step 10

Add any ribbons and decorations, hang and enjoy.

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