Around this time last year I was in the full swing of the season. My house was decorated and I was baking up cookies like a machine. But as the holidays loomed ever closer, I was seeing more and more posts around the blogosphere with holiday decorating ideas that I couldn't help but fall in love with. And so, shortly after December 25th, I took it upon myself to get a head start on Christmas 2011. There were too many beautiful craft projects I wanted to get to before Christmas rolled around this year.
The one I had most been hoping to get to was a wreath of Christmas ornaments. I guess it ultimately worked out for the best - since I started this project post-Christmas I was able to use ornaments right off the tree and replace them with more homemade ornaments come this holiday season. I found a simple tutorial on Eddie Ross's site that actually required little more than a wire hanger, Christmas ornaments, and hot glue. I couldn't believe how simple this project was - and it makes a huge holiday impact!
Though I don't have step by step photos to guide you through the process, I'll give you a brief rundown of the method I used, and you can always reference Eddie's post for more detailed instructions.
First of all, I needed to get my hand on a pliable wire hanger. The first one I tried was nearly impossible to reshape, but I got lucky with the next one I used. Simply unwind the top of the hanger where the two ends meet and reshape the metal into a large circular shape.
Then get your ornaments ready to string onto the wire. (Eddie suggests gluing the top of the ornaments in place at this stage in the game to ensure that none of them fall off, but I didn't have any troubles with this, so I saved all my hot glue sticks up for the final placement.) I suggest playing around with them a bit before applying glue anywhere on the wreath. Get a feel for how the different sizes and colors will look together, and how they'll fit next to one another. I used a variety of sizes and textures but kept all my ornaments in the red and gold color families. I had to reorder my ornaments a few times in my search for the best order for maximal color and texture variety.
The most difficult part of this process is seeing how everything will ultimately fit together. Unless your ornaments are all uniform in size, it will be hard to imagine exactly how they will group together until you've applied the glue. But while you're trying to arrange the ornaments and apply hot glue, the other ornaments on the wreath are likely to slide and clank around. Don't be worried - I promise that it gets easier as more ornaments are glued into place. Just be mindful that it may be a bit frustrating to get the ornaments looking exactly how you want. I suggest doing a bit of hot glue to get everything in order, then going back for touch-ups once everything is fairly well-positioned. I also kept a few small ornaments handy to glue into any holes that popped up. This was more the result of luck than good planning, but I suggest you do the same as your liable to get a few sparse spots next to some that look pretty abundant.
To tie up your loose ends, I suggest twisting the wire back together and either using the hook for hanging or folding it into itself. I also think ribbon is crucial for hiding twisted wire - plus it makes for easier hanging. All in all, not a difficult project and fairly self-explanatory. There's plenty of room for creativity with this one, from the colors and textures of your ornaments to the sizes and shapes. Though I imagine classic round balls are the easiest to arrange, you can find such a wide array of ornament shapes nowadays that I encourage you to try something new with a not-so-traditional ornament.
Good luck and happy decorating!