How to make a Christmas Wreath from scratch

Natural wreath step by step guide with pictures

How to make a real Christmas wreath from scratch from things that you have in your garden. What could be more traditional and beautiful than a natural, real wreath on your door at Christmas? Using fresh garden greenery, it is very simple to do. At first it takes a little bit of time and some patience. But once you have learnt how to do the basics, you can experiment using different types of foliage and even use flowers.

There are a couple of bits and pieces that you will need to make a natural Christmas wreath.


wreath making equipment
  • A pair of secateurs
  • A pair of scissors
  • Some wire cutters
  • Some wire. I use a plastic-coated wire, because that’s what I have to hand, but you can use just an ordinary wire. I have used a fine florist wire in the past, however I find that very fiddly. Certainly you could use a fine florist wire if you already have some.
  • Elastic bands or rubber bands – small bands if possible, the ones are used for hair braiding would be ideal.


soft willow to make wreath base

Willow or Soft Hazel – 4 to 6 lengths about 150cm (5ft) long, depending on the size of your wreath. I find it easier to use slightly thinner branches because the thicker ones are really hard to flex.

Evergreen plants for wreath making

Evergreen materials for decorate the real wreath base.

I wanted to make this Christmas wreath entirely from things in the garden, so I’ve taken my secateurs outside and cut some suitable material. Use whichever green materials you have available. Evergreen materials are the best ones to use as they less likely to wilt quickly.

To make a real Christmas wreath from scratch

To make the Christmas wreath base I use willow. You can choose to leave any remaining leave on or it’s very simple to pull the leaves off if you prefer. You can use willow or you can use soft hazel – whichever you can get hold of and at this time of year. I’m sure people be very willing to donate a little bit to you if you just ask. Please don’t help yourself from other people’s gardens, it’s not neighbourly and would be considered theft.

Make the wreath base

make a circle of willow

Start by taking a length of willow, curling it around on itself and at this stage it will be a wonky shape, don’t worry about that. Make the circle about the size that you would like the wreath to be and then twist the remaining length of willow to make a complete circle. Cut yourself a small length of wire about 18 cms (5 ins) long.

Make the circle about the size that you would like the wreath to be and then twist the remaining length of willow to make a complete circle. Cut a small length of wire about 18 cms (5 ins) long.

Circle of willow to use as a wreath base.
Strengthening the wreath base.

Start with the next length of willow with the thicker end next to the previous length’s thicker end.

Twist the wire around where the two ends meet, it’s just to hold those in place. Twist the new length of willow in and out and weave it around the existing circle it’s fiddly but it will go. This will reinforce the first circle you have already made. Fix with a twist of the wire as required, tucking the ends of the wire into the willow shape.

Securing the wreath base with a twist of wire.
Adding more willow to the wreath base.

Start the next two lengths of willow on the opposite side of the circle which will help to even out the thickness of the Christmas wreath base. If you end up with the joins nowhere near the original ones, use another piece of wire to secure the ends if necessary. You should feel the base starting to become more sturdy.

It doesn’t matter if it’s not an exact circle as you’re covering it. Continue adding lengths of willow until you are happy that the wreath base is strong and robust. I think it takes a minimum of four or five lengths of willow to make a good circular base for your real Christmas wreath.

A completed base for a Christmas wreath.

If you have access to willow with the leaves intact you can get a really pretty effect.

Decorate the Christmas wreath

To cover the wreath base you need to make several bunches of foliage. We’ve used a combination of evergreens and some dried flowers.

Making small bundles of foliage

Secure each small bunch together with an elastic band – these wreaths took between 12 and 15 bunches each.

Cut a length of wire as long as your arm and thread it through the base and twist it to secure it. This will help you wire each of the bunches onto your wreath base.

Place the Christmas wreath base on a flat surface. Place one bunch of foliage onto the base, hold it in place and pass the wire around and over it (a couple of times if required), pulling the wire tight to secure it to the base.

Securing bundles of foliage to a wreath base.
Covering the stems of foliage with the next bundle of leaves.

Take the next small bunch of foliage and use the leaves to cover up the elastic band or rubber band that you used in the previous bunch, wire in and then again pass the wire all around the base securing it tightly. You can then push the wire through the twisted willow or hazel just to give it an extra lock down.

Continue with the bunches that you have made around your wreath, cutting new pieces of wire as needed and secure them through the base.

2 ways to finish a natural Christmas wreath

  1. You can either attach foliage bunches all the way round. In which case tuck the stems of the last bunch underneath the first bunch to cover up the rubber bands.
  2. Or you can secure half the bunches going in clockwise and half anticlockwise, which gives the appearance of very definite top and bottom and two halves to your wreath. If you choose this design, make one further bunch and to sit at the bottom to cover the bottom or use a ribbon.
Securing bundles of foliage to a wreath base in two directions.
Filling gaps in the foliage on a Christmas wreath.

Once you’ve covered the wreath base, check for any gaps. To add colour, you can wire in some berries or some other foliage.

Then have a look on the inside of the wreath to see if there are any gaps. You should not be able to can see the wreath base on the inside. If so, thread through either some foliage or some flowers into those gaps. You may be able to just push small pieces of foliage straight into the wreath base. They should stay in place quite securely, but if not tuck them under the wire that you’ve wrapped around your base.

Finally add a loop of wire or a ribbon to hang your natural Christmas wreath made from scratch.

Learn more with Liz Zorab

We regularly offer courses at Byther Farm, for instance, how to make a Christmas wreath from scratch, living willow structures and gardening know-how, or you can find more hints, tips and garden related projects on the YouTube channel.

featured on Kidrated

Our Christmas wreath making video is recommended on in a pre-Christmas newsletter 2020 called Dreaming of a White Christmas.

Liz Zorab


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