Making Balsam Fir Wreaths
Originally developed by Mark Cercone, special project assistant, and William D. Lilley, forestry specialist. Reviewed and with new information by David Fuller, agriculture/nontimber forest products professional.
Balsam fir wreaths consist of tips, a metal ring and wire. A wreath is assembled by attaching bunches of tips to a ring. These bunches are held to the ring with the wire. The following instructions are for making double-faced wreaths (wreaths with tip bunches attached to both sides). Single-faced wreaths are made the same way as double-faced wreaths, except tip bunches are attached only on one side. Wreath making methods may vary slightly, depending on the wreath producer. Make sure you use fresh tips.
Wreath making material can be purchased from florists, garden centers and some wreath producers. To make wreaths, you will need:
Rings—Common wreath rings have 8, 10, 12, 14 or 16-inch diameters. The ring’s size determines the size of the wreath’s diameter.
Outer Diameter (inches)
Wire—Wire should be 22 to 24 gauge. Green wire is more easily hidden by the wreath.
Clippers—Clippers are needed to cut the wire. They also may be used to cut the tips.
Gloves—Gloves may be worn to protect the hands.
Balsam Fir Tips—A tip is the part of a fir branch that is used in wreaths. The amount of tips required for a wreath depends on the size of the wreath. The approximate amount of tips required for each wreath is given below.
|Average Amount of Tips
Needed (in pounds)
For more information on tips and tip gathering, refer to Bulletin #7011, Balsam Fir Tip Gathering.
Making a Tip Bunch
The wreath maker begins assembling a wreath by making a tip bunch. The tip bunch is then wired onto the ring.
A wreath maker usually receives a fir branch that’s 12 to 20 inches long. This branch may be broken into two to three places, if required. These tips are placed together to form a tip bunch. A tip’s average length depends on the size of the wreath to be made. The length also varies with the particular wreath maker. It’s important for the tips to be the same length for each wreath. This will improve the wreath’s appearance since the tip bunches will flow evenly around the wreath. (Figures 1, 2 and 3.)
|Wreath Ring Size
Attaching Tip Bunches to the Ring
Wire is used to secure a tip bunch to the ring. The wire is tightly wound two or three times around the bunch and the ring (beginning about 1/3 to 1/2 the distance from stem end).
Steps for Making a Wreath
The wreath is now finished. (Figure 11.) If it is a good quality wreath, it will
|Figure 1: The original branch is 12 to 20 inches long.||Figure 2: The branch is broken into two to three pieces (depending on the size and shape of the branch).|
Figure 3: The top piece is placed over the bottom piece. Another tip may be added to complete the bunch, if needed.
Wreaths should be stored under the following conditions:
Wreaths may be stacked together on pallets, which keep them off the ground and provide better ventilation. Storing them in a building will protect them from bad weather; however, doors and windows should be left open for ventilation. Large quantities of wreaths have been ruined when left in a closed building. Wreaths, like all organic matter, can decompose when left damp in a poorly ventilated area.
Technical assistance provided by Walter Thompson and Dugald Kell.
Illustrations by Mark A. McCollough.
Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.
© 1991, 2008
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Image Description: Figure 1: The original branch is 12 to 20 inches long.
Image Description: Figure 2: The branch is broken into two to three pieces (depending on the size and shape of the branch).
Image Description: Figure 3: The top piece is placed over the bottom piece. Another tip may be added to complete the bunch, if needed.
Image Description: Figure 4
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Image Description: Figure 11