Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Christmas Wreath Adventure

Well, I finally finished the wreath project I showed you last week. I really do love to craft, and need to make more time for it. This time of year gives me an extra push to get creative, and sometimes I get in a little over my head. This isn't entirely one of those times, but I did find this project a lot more involved than I expected.

I blame Pinterest. And those time lapse DIY videos. Perhaps I should have done a little more research and preparation before I dove in, but that's just not the way I roll. "Looks pretty straightforward. I have a glue gun. Let's do this thing!"

First off, here is the finished project:

I do love the final effect, and it looks great from a distance, or in pictures. But when you get up close you see this:

Lots of gaps where the foam wreath form shows through. At least it's green and kinda blends in. But this illustrates the base frustration with this project. Everything is round. And round things don't fit together nicely; there will always be a gap.


Of course, this is common sense, and I should havve realised I needed to do a more careful plan, but, again, that's not me. I needed a ton more balls than I thought I would, and definitely needed a variety of sizes to get the gaps covered up. If I do one again (and I've had a couple of requests), I'll be better prepared, which is really why I'm telling you all about it today - so you can be too!

I'm not going to give you a step-by-step project guide here, mostly because I was just winging it. Also because folks far more talented than I have already covered this well. You'll find a ton of how-tos on Pinterest. The basic idea is get a wreath form, hot glue gun balls around the inside, then the outside, then layer up with balls of varying sizes to fill all the holes. You can wrap a ribbon around the wreath to hang, weave it in under the balls when you're done, or affix the ribbon first before you start gluing. Depends on who you ask.

Tips from me:

When you start out, lay out the balls around the inner circle BEFORE you start gluing. I just happily glued away until the end, where I ended up with an awkward gap not big enough for another ball. Do the same for the outside. Just space a tiny bit between the balls all around to make it even. (My eldest, studying construction management, suggested I should do actual measurements. Yeah, right.)

Use a low heat on your glue gun to avoid melting the foam form or cracking the plastic balls.

Use plastic balls.

Once the inner and outer circles are done, I found it best to build up a small area first, then move to the next. But do what works for you.

You will need way more balls than you think you will. Depending on the size of your wreath, probably 100.

You will need lots of smaller balls to fill in the gaps. Maybe try for three different sizes.

You will use tons of glue sticks. Have a good stock on hand.

Be prepared to spend the next week cleaning up glitter off your floor and clothes. Glue gun webs as well. I found my wreath was covered with fine strands of glue that I had to clean off before I could be happy with it. I was pretty covered as well.

Overall, this is a super easy project. Slap on some glue, stick on a ball. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. It does take a long time, you do need to put in more initial thought than I did, and it is easy to get carried away. Be careful as you are filling gaps and building up that you don't create a big bulge on one side, or you'll perhaps end up back at the craft store looking for more balls so you can build up the other side.

Another tip - the supplies can get really expensive. I estimate (because I made more than one trip to the store) that this wreath was about $40, plus my time. And I purchased the balls at Michael's on a good sale, with an extra coupon. So, if you are thinking about doing one of these, I suggest costing it out and comparing to the cost of buying one ready made. Don't forget to consider your time commitment, on the negative side, as well as the feeling of pride and accomplishment in having created something so beautiful, on the positive.

Will I do one again? I said no, but I think I could change my mind. I'll keep my eyes open for great deals on the balls after Christmas, and maybe check thrift stores as well. A homemade wreath would make a nice gift next year, don't you think?

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