Natural Christmas wreaths using willow – part 3-making

December 8, 2010

in Making natural Christmas wreaths, Nature, health and well being

The start of the christmas wreath – a willow withy

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Thank you” George Pilkington

George Pilkington of Nurturing Nature made all of the willow wreaths. If you would like something similar for your school, community group, etc., contact me,   01925 452819/mob 0787 – 358 6685


 Natural Christmas wreaths need a base structure to dress and then decorate. This is the basic base, a willow withy. To keep them flexible, its a good idea to keep them in a bucket of water, (making sure it does n’t freeze or you can’t get the withies out!) or they can dry out and tend to snap if too dry. I usually use lengths of about 1 metre or so, snipping off the thicker end that is excess to requirements, so the withy tapers down from about 6-8mm (1/4 inch) to the growing tip. Occasionally you will see that the withy  has a natural tendency to curve in the same direction. If that is the case, that natural curve  I use, holding the withy in both hands and flexing it along its whole length, every few cms or so.If the withy does nt have this natural bend, it is very easy to bend and form the loop.

Form a loop using the natural flexibility of the withy to bend

Holding the thickest end of the withy in my left hand, I bend it to form a loop. Depending on how thick the withy is, (right of above photo) this can either be cut off or bent to wrap around itself to complete the loop. It may also add a little strength to the loop.

Continue to weave the withy in and out of the middle wrapping it around the first withy loop

Holding the wreath first layer in one hand, hold the next withy in the same hand (top right of photo) put your hand into the middle of the wreath and pull the second withy through the middle weaving it in and out around the wreath, exactly the same as the first withy.

Put your hand through the wreath and pull the 2nd withy through, continue this until the withy is completely wrapped around the first withy

Find a gap between between the withies and push the growing tip end of the withy through the gap. It is at this stage that you can add a little colour to the wreath by weaving in some red dogwood withies, (as shown in part 2) which themselves can be nearly as flexible as willow,.

Push the tip through a gap, pull tight and weave the excess as before around the wreath in the same direction as the weave

Continue to weave the withy end around the other withies

if necessary tie withies using garden string

I usually only use two or three withies to make a wreath. I have found that more than this, just tend to make the wreath a little heavy and in my experience, are not really necessary. You can of course, ‘cheat’ a little if you are a newcomer to making willow withy wreaths. The wreath may be loose with a few large gaps or the withies keep on opening up or coming loose. When the withies just wont behave, tie them up with gardeners string.

You have the bones, hopefully you have already collected your clothes to dress the wreath (part 2) and have found some christmassy decorations. Conifer cones look nice as a finishing touch and can quite easily be tied to the wreath. How to dress the wreath and a few quick examples of finished wreaths, see part 4….coming soon! And no plastic! Fantastic!

If you would like something similar for your school, community group, etc,contact me 01925 452819/mob 0787 – 358 6685



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