How to make a large, lighted outdoor wreath

How to make a large lighted outdoor wreath -- A Pinch of Joy

How to make a large lighted outdoor wreath -- A Pinch of Joy

Christmas time in a new house totally different from the last abode. How to decorate for Christmas? We were spoiled with our 10 minute exterior decorating. Ease of installation in potentially frigid air was at the top of our list. Weather is a huge factor and everything has to be able to withstand wind and snow. Our something new needed to be simple enough that it could be done in an afternoon without breaking the budget. Yet large enough that it would make an impact on its own. That large triangle at the front of the house – yes, the one over the garage door – was calling out for something. That space needed: A wreath, of course.

The previous owners, who built the house, planned ahead with outlets under the eaves. The wreath could be lighted very easily. There was even a hook at just the right height for a decoration of some kind.  Most of the Christmas things we own, including material for such projects, are in storage two hours away.   So off to the local craft store, which happens to be a very large Hobby Lobby.   I am a practitioner of the “buy things AFTER the season is over for the best price” lifestyle, and this was a reminder why.  But it is our first Christmas here – worth it, right?

Here’s the tutorial showing how I made a 48” lighted wreath. If you’d like to see the condensed version, scroll on down to find the video instructions.

 Fluff the wreath

  1. Fluff the wreath. It is flattened for shipping and needs the branches lifted, separated and arranged to bring it into three dimensions!
  2. 2Roughly plan placement of ornaments and ribbon
    1. Do a rough lay out of the decorations. We chose a contemporary theme with two main colors, bright red and lime green, lots of glitter, and ornaments of varying size and texture. I decided to keep to a tight structure, with the 4 inch wide mesh ribbon down the middle of the wreath and lights on the side and center. The ornaments would be randomly placed to balance one another, providing visual interest and movement.

    Evenly distribute lights and fasten securely to wreath

    1. Plan the lighting layout. Decide where the bottom of the wreath will be so the strands of light can begin and end at the proper points. Distribute the lights evenly around the wreath, with some tucked inside the wreath. We used two strands of bright white – one for the middle and one for the center opening. One end was left free to plug into the extension cord so that it was hidden beneath the bow. The two strands plugged into each other, also under the bow. Fasten the lights securely to the wreath frame using small plastic zip ties. (Don’t use wire to fasten electrical lights.)

    4Securely Fasten Bow -- A Pinch of Joy

    1. Securely fasten the bow to the wreath frame. Begin by firmly twisting the wire at the bottom of the premade bow around the metal wreath frame, then reinforce that with zip ties or wire.   I also fastened the ribbon with wire on the underside of the bow to the frame in several places.

    5 Tie knot in end of mesh ribbon

    1. Tie a knot in the end of the mesh so it will not fray. Tuck it under the bow and fasten securely with zip tire or wire. You will repeat this step at the other end of the ribbon.

    Make loops every 4-6 inches

    1. Make loops (or little poufs of ribbon) every four to six inches. You can vary the amount of   ribbon used in each pouf, with more ribbon creating a looser pouf. I kept mine fairly tight so the wind couldn’t catch them easily.

    7To make loops

    1. To make pouf, simply pinch the ribbon tightly between thumb and fingers,then fasten them securely to the wreath frame with zip ties (what I used) or wire. The wire frame of the wreath is made with concentric circles. I varied the circle to which I fastened the ribbon creating some visual movement.

    Lay out all ornaments

    1. Lay out all ornaments, rearranging as necessary to create a visually balanced whole.

    9Securely fasten all ornaments

    1. Securely fasten all ornaments using zip ties or wire. When all ornaments are in place, use a low temperature glue gun to firmly secure all ornaments in place. Even the low temperature can cause some ornaments to melt a bit, so proceed with caution, keeping the glue application at the fastening point so it can be easily hidden.

    Finished Wreath -- A Pinch of Joy

    1. Stand back and admire! This size wreath, and making sure everything was as windproof as possible, took around four hours of work time. I had planned and unplanned disruptions so actually had it spread out, first on the kitchen counter and then the dining table for most of one day.

    Lighted Wreath

    1. Night view.

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How to make a simple mesh garland

How to Make a Simple Mesh Garland -- A Pinch of Joy

1How to Make a Simple Mesh Garland

Our front porch decor needed something new for winter.  In fact, it could even use a little bling for Christmas, I thought. We love traditional on the inside, but the outside can be fun and daring.   The mesh wreath I made for Halloween was so quick and easy I decided to try my hand at a simple mesh garland for the front door.   I looked through the possibilities at the hobby store.  The lime green and red kept calling my name.  Hmmmm — gray house with white trim in a neighborhood of  lawns and conventional houses.  Definitely daring.   But —  it’s only up for a month — and in the basket it went! (And wait until you see the door swag I made to go with it!)   Below is a quick step by step of how I made a simple mesh garland.  Scroll down for the video version. Or click here if you want to go directly to the video as it is more detailed and may answer any questions you might have as you make your own. 

2 Supplies

Supplies needed: 
1 work garland (9.5 feet long),  1 roll of 21 inch wide mesh, 2 or more rolls of ribbon in complimentary colors, at least 10 feet of each color. A pair of scissors are necessary and a ruler is handy to have within reach. 

3 Pleat

Measure two feet from end of roll of mesh.  This will make the finished end of the garland.  Begin pleating the mesh at the two foot mark, forming pleats about an inch wide.   Pleats will give the finished garland a more uniform look and you will be better able to control the pouf and fullness of each garland segment. 

4 Cross and Twist

When you have pleated all the way across the width of the mesh, place the edge of the pleat in the center of the first twist tie / chenille stem on the work garland.   Cross the tie and twist securely. 

5 completed
Measure about fourteen inches down the mesh and pleat as before.  If you want a full, lush garland, fasten the pleats in each of the twist ties.  I needed a slimmer version for the space I had, so I only fastened the pleats in every other chenille stem on the work garland.  Whichever you do, keep the length of mesh at about 14 inches. Measure (I usually eyeball it, after I measure a couple of times), pleat and fasten.   Repeat for the length of the garland.  Flatten the secured tie to hold it in place and prepare it for another layer.  Leave a two foot tail on the end of the completed garland.  To finish the garland and keep the mesh from raveling, gather the very end of the mesh and tie a knot as close to the end as you can.  Pull it tight and roll the knot up and into the newly formed pouf.  Repeat on the end where you began the garland. 

6 Add Ribbon
Take a look at the garland when completed and adjust any noticeable differences until the poufs are uniform and pleasing.  You may have to lay it on the floor to do this — especially if you are like me and your workspace is the not very long kitchen counter.  To add ribbon, place the two (or more) ribbons side by side and pleat just like you did for the mesh, using small pleats.  Again this gives you more control of the ribbon, than just wadding it together.  To fasten, lay the pleated ribbon on top of the twisted chenille stem and repeat the cross and twist motion to secure the ribbon to the garland.  

7 Add embellishment

Add embellishments at the ties.  I needed something that would stand up to being handled for hanging, rolled for storage and would not blow apart in the wind.  Plus it need to fit in the space available.  I opted for  glittery dollar store snowflakes wired securely to the garland.  

8 All done

Finished garland waiting for embellishment and your creativity!  This skinny garland will fit in narrow spaces.  If you have more room and opt for the full lush look created by fastening at every twist tie, the ornamentation is limited only by your imagination.  Use these garlands for door swags, to decorate stair cases, to create a backdrop on a buffet table, or a dozen other places.  A mesh garland is very versatile! 

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How to Make a Halloween Wreath

Halloween Wreath from A Pinch of Joy

Halloween Wreath from A Pinch of Joy

I love wreaths of all kinds.  No idea why!  I just like the looks of a lush full circle hanging on a door, a window, a mirror.  It just sings!  I first saw  mesh wreaths on Kristen’s Creations and fell in love with the fullness and possibilities!  It helps that her site is full of gorgeousness and rich colors and tons of creativity and inspiration. 

Halloween seemed the perfect time to try my hand at making a mesh wreath.  I knew I wanted to use a feather boa — just for fun.    I hesitated because I didn’t want to use greenery for Halloween and the black wreaths I found weren’t . . . ummm . . . fun.  And fastening the mesh to the not round grapevine wreaths I found seemed rather daunting.  And then. . . . I found the solution at HobLob.  A sixteen inch work wreath — two levels of round wreathery with twisty stems placed every few inches to hold the mesh and embellishments in place.  The bronzy ribbon for the bow was at the end of the same aisle.  Sold! 

First a series of photos to take you step by step in How to Make a Halloween Wreath.  It wasn’t enough that this was my first  Mesh Wreath.  You’ll also find my first ever video tutorial at the bottom of the post.  It was a spur of the moment decision with no rehearsal (or script!) and done in one take.  Be kind 🙂  I hope it will be helpful and answer any questions.  In the meantime, here’s a quick pictorial. . . .


Here’s the work wreath.  Mine was 16 inches in diameter.


Materials needed: 1) Base– 1 roll  21 inch wide Deco Mesh (or other brand).  I used a sheer fabric with spider web glitter that was with the mesh display and was 21 inches wide.  2) Secondary color –1 roll 5 inch wide mesh  3) Optional: filler material as the 6′ long feather boa 4) Ribbon for bow or readymade bow 5) embellishments such as a fall pick and a package of the lime green tube ribbon I used.  

24aTwist tie

Gather and pleat one end of the mesh and fasten it to the work wreath  using the pre-attached twisty stems.   Move down the mesh about one foot and repeat.  Since the twisty stems are about four inches apart your mesh will loop or puff and provide the fullness for the wreath.


When you complete  bottom layer, move up and repeat the process on the top layer. Do NOT cut the mesh, just move  up

25leave a tail

When I completed the top layer, I cut the mesh leaving a 20 inch tail  to hang behind the long ribbon tails I planned to use.

26add secondary color

Add secondary color to top row only.  Use the same gather and pleat method and fasten into the twisty ties exactly as you did the base layers.  The only difference:  use 8 inches of mesh between each fastener instead of the 12 inch loops used for the wider layer.

Add feather boa

Add boa or other optional filler.  Fasten to top layer, gently laying the boa between the base layers.  Leave some looseness in the boa, without letting it loop or pull tight. 

28 ready for embellishment

The boa will begin and end on either side of the 10 inch loop bow. 

29 add lime and bow

Add bow and embellishments.  I made the bronze bow ahead of time and then looped the lime green tube ribbon behind it for a pop of color.  Insert a fall pick, nestled under the bow and up the side.  Add groups of three lime ribbons cut in random length to each twisty stem around the wreath for movement and fun.

D O N E !

Need more Halloween ideas?  Check these links:  Preschool Party Snacks and Games      How to Make Pom Pom Spider     Fun Foods for Kids Halloween Party    Grasshopper Guts     Smashed Frogs    Zombie Brains 

I’m so glad you stopped by today!   Be sure to follow A Pinch of Joy so you don’t miss a thing! 

Subscribe by email  on the sidebar  or follow on Facebook, RSS feed, bloglovin’  twitter  and check out my  pinterest boards.   If you found this helpful or inspiring please share below!  Your support of A Pinch of Joy is  appreciated!

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