Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I Made Wednesday {Nature-Inspired JOY Wreath}

Nature is so inspiring and so giving. Outside the school, along side the carpool line sits a lofty beast of a tree - a Sweet Gum. As it sits there, unassuming, eavesdropping on everyone's conversations and having the best view of school grounds, this particular Sweet Gum tree was doing something very unnoticeable, it was shedding its "spikies". Now, I'm not an arborist, horticulturalist, or anything ending in "-ist" of any kind (wait, does former rocket scientist count?) so the term "spikey" is non-techie vocabulary I'll take as my own (my apologies to those in the know).

The "spikies" are a nuisance. It makes a mess, just the same as a Magnolia tree at the end of its bloom, but what's left behind from a Sweet Gum tree is sheer inspiration, not browned, withered petals. My son (reluctantly) and I did a little cleaning up of the Sweet Gum's mess. My son picked up each "spikey" hoping no one from the school would happen to drive by on this day off, and I, in contrast, delicately cradled each one-of-a-kind "spikey" wondering how anyone could pass each day and not have the same idea in creating these holiday wreaths (really?). I warned you in a post last week that I had a plan for those picked "spikies". I really enjoyed making them and wanted to show you how easy it was to get such a great result. Enjoy!

What You'll Need
3 - 8 inch straw wreaths
Glue gun
Glue sticks (I used about 7 long ones, hi-temp)
Glitter scrapbook paper out of cardstock
Spray can of sealant (not pictured)
Ribbon of varying size, coordinating in color (not pictured)
Collected "spikies", of course

What You'll Do
This is the fun part, and most relaxing! Start gluing your "spikies" all around. If you press down on a "spikey" too hard, it will bite back. Be careful the sharp points don't break skin.
Cover the area atop the wreath and around the sides leaving the inner wreath and backside exposed (no "spikies"). Treat it like a puzzle, choosing large or small "spikies" depending on the space that needs to be filled. Just make sure to cover the straw facing front and side.
Go outside and spray your wreaths with a clear sealant. I used a high gloss and it made the wreaths a deeper color and shinier.
Using your computer, print out the word "JOY". I used the American Typewriter font in a 360 point-size.
Turn over your cardstock and your print out. Take your pencil and trace the outline of your backwards words on to the back side of the cardstock. When you lift the printout, you should see an indentation of the letters in the cardstock. Cut out your letters.
Position your letters and glue them down IF you want. I did not. I positioned my letters when the wreaths were hung and the stems of the "spikies" are just holding them in place naturally.
Give your wreath a trim by only cutting away the "spikies"' stems where the ribbon will be so it sits flatter against the wreath.
Determine the length of your larger ribbon and cut to size. Position the ribbon where the one side is slightly longer than the other so you can glue down the longer side atop the short side. Apply glue to the shorter side.
Fold the longer side over the shorter side and press into glue.
Hang your wreaths. I hung mine on a crossbar in the foyer that holds a tapestry the rest of the year.
Like I said, you don't have to glue down your letters. I just used the stems to hold back the letters and tucked them into the wreath. They haven't fallen out, yet!
What You'll Need to Know to Finish
For an added touch, I took a smaller, coordinating ribbon and tied a double knot above each wreath.

Thanks for stopping by! Have you ever used nature's gifts in a craft project?


Betty Sneeringer said...

Very nice. I have always loved those sweet gum thingies. I have a tree but it has not dropped many yet.

I am LOVD said...

Just did some additional research and found out the "spikies" are seed balls and Sweet Gum trees begin to produce an abundance of them when they are at least 20 years old!

Gardeners suggest placing the seed balls in your garden to keep pets out of flower bed, along with snails and slugs. Cool!

Suzan Wood-Young said...


Unknown said...

what a fantastic project!

Craftberry Bush said...

Very creative, love finding inspiration from nature! My son would have reacted the same way...:) xo

The Cheese Thief said...

I love this. It looks great and so well made. You should totally submit this to craftgawker!

Jaime Lyn said...

Just absolutely wonderful my friend! I LOVE these so so so much! I LOVE the spikes!!!! And I seem to be a bit obsessed with JOY this season----soooo it is just perfect!

Unknown said...

What a gorgeous idea and what a great tutorial.

Thank-you so much for adding to our Pin'Inspiration Party this week.

Happy follower and would love if you stopped by and grabbed a button.

KimMalk said...

What a wonderful project with those seed balls. I always love your WIMW.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I would love to do this on our front porch. You don't mind coming over for some coffee and cookies and assisting me, right?

xoxo michele

Unknown said...

Ooooh! So fun and festive and 'natural' looking! Love! Thanks for sharing at Shine On Fridays!

Johnnie said...

That's great! I will have to make a wreath out of my leftover spikeys. Thanks for sharing your link with me. Blessings...

Printable Decor
Saved By Love Creations

Unknown said...

Love the wreaths! Saw your link on SPARK Link party. I am one of the co-host. :)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous wreaths! I'd love for you to share this at my link party Submarine Sunday. It's open until Friday @ 11:59pm. I hope you'll stop by!



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