Are you and your customers ready for remarkable holiday wreaths? Laura Dowling, former chief floral designer at the White House, author and TED speaker, explains how in eight steps.
Laura is the author of Floral Diplomacy at the White House and A White House Christmas. Her third book, Wreaths, an exciting take on re-inventing the classic wreath with 78 inspiring designs, goes on sale later this month.
From that book, Laura shares with us 10 seasonal favorites including two how-to tutorials. And she offers her eight steps for making your own inspiring wreath designs.
“I think it’s time to reinvent the wreath as a decorative and symbolic element,” says Laura. “Make it striking again and elevate it from blasé to having je ne sais quoi and chic cachet.”
In Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, where Laura now lives, creative natural fruit and flower wreaths are a favorite long-time tradition during the holidays and throughout the year.
Whether creating customized fresh wreath designs for parties and special events or replicating the look with longer-lasting faux materials for the season, she offers here her trend-setting approach to re-creating wreaths in the historic Williamsburg style.
Fruitcake & Cranberry Lace Wreath
This winter fruit and berry wreath is a celebration of a classic holiday treat, the fruitcake. It features pomegranates, tangerines, dates and cranberries positioned atop a ribbon-covered base and encircled with a cranberry lattice border.
1 18-inch grapevine wreath
1 roll of 1 1⁄2-inch red ribbon
3 bags of clementines (approximately 30)
3 packages of fresh dates
4 bags of fresh cranberries
1 package of red pipe cleaners
Green trailing ivy
- Wrap the bark wire around the wreath to create a loop for hanging.
- Create a ribbon base layer using the ruched ribbon technique.
- Pierce the pomegranates with the straight wire, stringing two together.
- Lay the pomegranates across the wreath, wrap the wire ends to the back, twisting tightly to secure. Clip the excess wire.
- Working in rows, continue adding pomegranates in rows of two.
- Create garlands of clementines by stringing three together on a straight wire.
- Wrap the wire ends of this garland around the wreath and secure in back.
- Continue adding the clementine garlands until the entire wreath is covered.
- Using the straight wire, string four to five dates together to create a garland.
- Wrap the date garlands around the wreath, spacing them evenly among the clementines and pomegranates.
- Working on the outside edge of the wreath, criss-cross the pipe cleaners to create an overlapping pattern forming a trellis effect.
- Continue adding pipe cleaners, connecting the edges to create one border.
- With the bullion wire, string the cranberries together, creating a garland a few inches in length.
- Working in sections, wrap the cranberry garland around the pipe cleaner border, covering the entire surface.
“The secret of wreath-making is to create the design in levels and layers to achieve an intricate, polished and professional look.”