I made this christmas wreath from just a few meters of maple veneer edging. Its quite simple but very effective. If you have any leftover edging in your workshop this is a perfect project in which to use it up and make a gift for somebody or decoration for your own house. If you do have to go out and buy the wood veneer edging it won't break the bank.
You could also make this wreath in a green paper or thin cardstock.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Wood veneer edging 22mm (7/8 inch)
3mm (1/8 inch) plywood (the cheap stuff)
Decorative elements: ribbons, beads, fairy lights, pine cones...
I also used feather board while calculating the sizes but if you follow this design the calculations are already done.
Craft knive, cutting mat, steel ruler, tape measue, paint brushes, masking tape
Step 2: Mock-up to Calculate Measurements
I'm sure you're familiar with wicker wreaths, well that's the effect I was hoping to achieve with this design albeit, a cleaner more graphic interpretation of those spiralling forms.
I cut rings from feather board, trying to calculate the diameters neccessary for this wreath and also the length of veneer. It turned out to be more difficult than I had expected. The veneer wraps around the ring, twisting as it passes through the inside of the ring. So the diameter of the ring, the internal diameter of the ring, the width of the veneer strip and the amount of turns the veneer does are all factors that are interconnected. You change one of these measurementas and it has a knock on effect. I tried to get the exact dimensions but each mock-up I did seemed to confuse me more. I could have stayed on this part of the project to find the perfect measurements but then this would have to be an Easter wreath!!!
Step 3: Measurements
Below are the dimensions of the pieces I used.
13 Pieces of 22mm Veneer Edging: 22mm x 240mm
3mm Plywood Ring: 205mm exterior diameter, 155mm interior diameter.
I cut these out with my OLFA craft knife. The 3mm plywood is very soft.
Step 4: Stain the Strips and Structure
This was a bit messy! My green wood stain was more like a turquosie blue so I experimented by adding a food coloring that was a bit like a grass green. The combination of the two greens seemed to give me an evergreen which was kind of the color I wanted, being Christmas and all. The food coloring warped the veneer strips a lot so I clamped them into a curve that would favour the wreath later on in the assembly.
Step 5: Assemble the Strips
I'm really sorry I dont have any photos of this part of the process. By the time I realized this I already had the pieces of veneer glued together around the ring.
The process was:
Glue all the strips together as one big strip (leaving the two extremes without glue).
Wrap the strip around the ring.
Finally, glue the very beginning to the vey end.
I marked the spaces for gluing: 12mm on each side. I masked off this line with painters tape (masking tape). I applied the glue, removed the masking tape and lined up all the pieces. IMPORTANT: the glueing of the strips, back into one big long strip, is done with every second strip reversed. So when you look at it from the front you always see the front side of the veneer strip as it goes twisting around the plywood ring. My veneer had a paper backing which of course I didn't want to be seen.If I didn't alternate the faces of the strips when gluing them all togetherthe strips would be back-to-front after every other turn/twist on the ring.
Once the glue was tacky to the touch I could go ahead and glue the veneer strips all back together. Then I went about wrapping the big long strip around the ring. I got it wrong the first time and I feared my calculations might have been off. But I realised what had happened was that when I came around to what should have been the "12th" turn I accidentally went in front of my starting strip into the position of the "1st" turn. I carried on threading and twisting the veneer strip only to realise my mistake when I got to the end because the end of the strip was not where the beginning was!!!
Soooo, I had to go back. I unwound all the veneer strip and this time I made sure the turns were numbered with bits of masking tape and I took extra care to follow my schematic drawing. Yes! this time I was in the right place ;)
I glued the two ends together et Voila!
Step 6: Veneer Bow
To make the bow I boiled the veneer strips so that they would not break when I bent them. I fixed them in their positions with mini clamps (clothes pegs would do the job too) and left them to dry. The next day I came back and glued them up with contact glue.
Step 7: Wire Hook
I bent the small loop to catch under the plywood ring and the larger loop is to swing down around the veneer and back up to a small eyelet to hang on a nail or whatever. Wire is the best material ever! You bend it. It gives you what you want. End of story.
Step 8: Attatch Decorations and Its Done!
I passed a small malleable wire through the back of the bow and found the best way to pass it through the strips and twist it at the back. I came to the conclusion that my veneer bow was just one option I could take as it fits in nicely with the wreath, being made of wood veneer. But you could decorate this wreath any way you like.