Introduction: Great-smelling, Great-looking Traditional Christmas Wreath Out of Essentially Nothing

This wreath is made from last year's Christmas tree and some string. That's all. Best of all, it smells wonderful all year long.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials for this project are stupid-simple...

  • evergreen boughs
  • string

Tools are simple as well...

  • clippers (you could use anything that cuts though)

I used last year's Christmas tree, but I realize you may wish to have a wreath before Christmas. If you live in an area where evergreen trees grow and you can obtain them, go with that! Otherwise, the local Christmas tree retailer often has excess branches that they might just give you. For this project, a good armful of branches is needed.

Step 2: Get Branches, Make a Circle

Start with the big picture...the goal here is to form the frame, the circle.

Pro-tip! Do you know the difference between a spruce and a fir? A spruce has round needles with pointy tips. A fir has flat needles with blunt tips. Still not sure, feel it. A spruce is spikey to touch, often very spikey! A fir feels, furry, and soft. I'd definitely go with a fir on this (cedar can be a bit spiny, pine would be fine but may give you a handful of tar).

Clip branches off like is shown in the first picture. You want branches that are somewhat sturdy, but not too rigid that they can't easily be bent. A good rule-of-thumb is to clip the branches at about where they have the same diameter as a pencil. That should bend easily, yet still be firm.

Bundle the branches into a clump as shown in pic 3. Just grab them in a bunch, no need to be too pretty here.

Tie them up with a string. Simple tie them off, then twirl the string around and tie it again. Don't tie things too tightly. I've made the mistake of thinking tighter is better. Not so. Wrapping the string too tightly only makes it more difficult when you insert the boughs to make it pretty. You want it firm, but not tightly bound.

Make a circle by working around and around. Just keep inserting branches, tying string, wrapping, and continuing on until you get the size you want. Again, don't worry how it looks. This is just the frame and won't be seen anyway.

Step 3: Add Boughs and Make It Pretty

To make the wreath, and to make it pretty, you'll need lots of boughs.

Start clipping. I got a bucket and clipped a bunch to get going. Ideally, you want something like what I'm holding in the second pic. Just a small bough, but with a bit of a stem on the bottom. Preferably, the stem has needles on it, like in the pic. This will help it hold in place.

Start jabbing the boughs into the circle frame, see pic 3. Just stick the boughs in, there's not too much to it. It's really surprising how well they hold in place. The needles, due to their shape and angle, go in easily but hold on. I suppose it's kind of a Velcro effect.

Work around the circle frame. Just keep going and going. It'll look a bit off at first, like it has a huge lump on its side like the 4th pic, but that's okay. Just keep working the process!

Trim it up. The 5th picture shows the wreath when done inserting boughs. Then I simply trimmed off some of the wild boughs to clean it up.

The best thing about this wreath is the smell. Every clip you make is one more bit of smell. I use Fraser Fir and I've had these up all year...and they smell great all year which always amazes me.

Step 4: Burn Last Year's Wreath

The other great thing about a wreath is burning the old one! This video is sped up 4X, but it's still amazing how fast they burn.

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