Introduction: Traditional Advent Wreath
My attitude towards Christmas changed in time. I used to love this magical season when I was a child, later my excitement shifted rather towards the New Year Eve’s celebrations. And now, when I’m older and have kids, I’m excited about Christmas again, probably since summer. At our home, the season starts just before advent – with the first advent wreath which is a wreath with four candles and you're supposed to light one on each Sunday before Christmas Day, starting four Sundays before. When I was a child my mom used to take me to the advent workshops where we created the wreaths in a really nice pre-Christmas ambient. Now I create that ambient at home and make the wreath in peace when the kids aren’t home. Making the advent wreath is actually very easy so here’s one fast tutorial for you.
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Step 1: Material and Tools
- wreath base
- conifer twigs
- wire in the color of your twigs
- wire pliers
- 4 candles
- 4 candle spikes
- glue gun
Wreath base can be natural made of straw or a polystyrene one. Both are easy to work with although I prefer the straw base because I like to decorate my wreaths rather with natural decorations and the straw just goes better with it.
The twigs can come from any conifer tree. I use preferably thuya because it doesn’t hurt my fingers but if you want a wreath that smells really great, use the spruce, although in this case use a pair of gloves.
Decorations depend completely on your taste, just get them accordingly to the colors and style of your wreath. As I said, I prefer the natural looking ones, therefore, I decorate them with cones, nuts, dried orange slices, cinnamon, star anise and bows in the color of the candles.
Before you start let’s create the ambient. Prepare everything on your working table, play a nice movie (I go for Love Actually) and prepare a beverage that reminds you of Christmas (I have here some Masala Chai tea).
Step 2: Covering the Base
Let’s begin. Cut the twigs small enough for you to be comfortable to work with them. You will be covering the base with layers of twigs. You place one layer on the base, wrap the wire around, place another layer and continue in the same manner. You won’t be covering the bottom side of the base and it’s important that you place the whole layer at the same time. As you can see, I hold the layer so that it covers the top, inner and outer side. (photo 1)
Then wrap the wire twice around the twigs just a few centimeter from the ends of the twigs. The end of the wire should reach the bottom side of the base. Leave it loose at first but once you have the twigs wrapped, wrap also the end of the wire under and over the two wraps a few times and then stick the end of the wire in the bottom of the base. (photo 2)
After you wrap the first layer, don’t cut the wire. Continue wrapping around the next layers. (photo 3)
Place another layer of twigs and again, wrap the wire around it twice. Continue with more layers until the whole base is covered. Don’t cut the wire yet. (photos 4 and 5)
Now wrap the wire around the whole wreath again and this time try to get any twigs under the wire that stick out too much. You can also cut some of them. I like it when the wreaths are a little bit messy, therefore, I don’t try to correct every little twig. (photo 6)
Step 3: Candles
Now we start with the candles. Stick the shorter part of the spike in the bottom center of a candle. The longer and sharper end will go in the thread.
The traditional way is to place the candles in a cross but it’s quite modern now to place them next to each other.
Step 4: Decorations
And now comes the most fun part – the decorating. The easiest way to attach the decorations is with a glue gun. From now on the thing is completely up to you. I started with a bow under every candle.
Then I decorated the wreath with some cones, nuts, slices of dried orange and some spices.
I'm including photos of two of my wreaths for inspiration.
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