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The Lazy Lady’s Guide to DIY: Going Green for the Holidays

While the holiday season is a time for fun, family, and friends, it’s also a time for spending stupid amounts of money. Costs for gifts, entertaining, traveling, and decorating can get overwhelming. Luckily, necessity being totally broke is the mother of invention, so being strapped for cash around the holidays can inspire some fun DIY decorating. After I was taunted by a Martha Stewart wreath at Home Depot (nothing made of pine cones should ever cost $40), I vowed to make my own, much cheaper version.

What You’ll Need:

  • A wire clothes hanger
  • Newspaper
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun (A low-heat glue gun for paper works best for this project, both for preserving the leaves and your fingers)
  • Various branches, leaves, and berries from your neighborhood

How to Do It:

First, take your clothes hanger. Pull the top and bottom center in opposite directions until it’s in a diamond shape, then round each side.

Next, twist the newspaper around the wire, securing it with a loop of tape every few inches. This will give the leafy bits something to stick to.

Wire frame
Wrapped and ready!

Now for the leaves. I cut twigs from two different evergreen bushes in my yard, one with flat, broad leaves and one with smaller leaves bunched close together. The darker and waxier the leaf, the longer your wreath will last. Although any dark-leafed and twiggy plant will do, be careful about what you’re handling. Azaleas and oleander are common poisonous evergreens, and ivy and holly are both skin irritants. When in doubt, use gloves and wash your hands after handling the plants. After you bring your leaves inside, make sure to give them a quick rinse in the sink to dislodge any insects that may have hitched a ride. I forgot to do this, and a bright green spider has now taken up residence in my fruit bowl.

Leaf
Probably not poisonous. I think.

Cut the twigs in about four inch long segments with several leaves attached. Attach the twigs with the hot glue gun to the wreath frame, overlapping the bottom of the first twig with the top of the next. Make sure the leaves are all pointing in the same direction. Use the largest leaves first to create a base, then fill in any bare spots with the smaller leaves. Continue layering and tucking in the smaller leaves until the entire front of the wreath is covered. This is where the low heat glue gun comes in handy, because burning yourself is pretty much inevitable.

In Progress

Now for the fun part: Attach holly berries, ribbon, glitter, tinsel, or whatever else you want to add some color to your wreath. I decided to stick with the “things I found in my yard” theme and added some bright red berries.

Wreath Close Up Side
Finished!

Depending on what sort of leaves you use and how exposed it is, your wreath will last 2-4 weeks. Mist it with a spray bottle occasionally to help keep it fresh. After you’re done with it, simply strip the leaves off and save the frame for next time!

Wreath Full Door

By Bobella

I'm a twenty-something freelance writer and designer who lives in Memphis, TN with my husband, cat, and chinchilla. I require coffee and the internet to live.

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