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This Holiday season my decor inspiration was rooted in handcrafted holiday elements mixed with vintage treasures. I went to Salvation Army two weeks before Thanksgiving and fell for stacks of pink, silver and gold ornaments that were all on discount. I even found a few boxes of Shiny Brights! I bought up the whole lot (everything I could find) and friend suggested I use them to create a vintage ornament wreath. Multiple trips to The Salvation Army, Past Perfect, Shabata Floral yielded just enough ornaments to tackle such a large project. I wanted big impact, so I ended up with a 26″ Styrofoam wreath starter which produced a 30″ wreath!

Once I had finished the wreath, I was lucky enough to find a small snow village from the 1950’s crafted in Japan. It fit perfectly with my vintage ornaments and bottle brush trees. Next year I am going to die my bottle brush trees fun colors, but this year I just ran out of time for that extra step. I love the look of felted ball garland so I decided to top off the mantel with a hand felted snowball garland piece. I found out quickly that felting takes longer than it looks. I am going to keep working on this garland piece and hopefully it will double in size next year. Bellow is a quick guide to creating an ornament wreath and now it is time to sit back, sip on some cider and enjoy the Holiday decorations.

final_1DIY: Ornament Wreath

Materials needed: Styrofoam Wreath started // tinsel // various size ornaments // hot glue gun

Part I: The Hunt

As I mentioned above, I collected all of the ornaments at various Salvation Army locations, Antique markets, Flea markets and resources at the San Francisco Flower Mart. I have already started a collection for next year. It will take double the amount of ornaments you think you will need and you have to have all different sizes.

The bigger the wreath the smaller size ornaments you need because the small ornaments sizes act at the binding that keeps it all together. Even with second hand ornaments, the wreath does get pricy so you are better looking for ornaments in the off season or buying the lot right after Christmas when everything is on sale. I wanted to use mostly vintage ornaments because I love the way the glass ages, but you can really use anything and make these gorgeous wreaths.

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Part II: Assembly

1. Wrap your Styrofoam wreath started with tinsel (this will help hold the first layer of ornaments)

2. remove all the tops of the ornaments and discard

3. Heat the glue gun and apply hot glue to the edge of the ornament

4. Start with the outside circle and then the inside circle as you build you may have to go back and add glue to the sides of the ornaments to get everything to stick together. Don’t worry if it is not sticking perfect at this time the next layer will just reinforce the base.

5. Keep adding ornaments (larger first) around the outside gluing both the base and the sides as you build the wreath.

6. Fill in gaps with smaller ornaments. These will act as the binding that hold the whole wreath together. Don’t be afraid to use more glue when you get the final small pieces. You need the wreath to feel secure before you hang it. Once you go to hang it you may notice that it feels loose in areas. You can go ahead and re-apply glue to any areas that may need to be reinforced.

– The final layer of ornaments you can see the best so it is fun to put the special ones on this layer (for example my vintage pine cones that I added at the top of the wreath). This project can get frustrating and it will not feel finished until the end, but it is so much fun to put together and admire once it is up. I can’t wait to work on my next one. I already have a collection for next year!

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And if you need help – there is always Mr. and Mrs. Clause cheering you on!

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