amy merrick, wreath how-to

Amy Merrick shows how to make a Christmas wreath with evergreens, pine cones, and other woodland finds

My inspiration for this wreath was a wintry walk in the woods. Only in winter do the small details in the forest take center stage—a lost turkey feather, some beautiful lichen, or an abandoned bird’s nest—not to mention a host of unusual pinecones, vines, and evergreens. I always keep a pair of clippers in my pocket when out walking and usually come home with my arms full of treats from what would otherwise seem like a gray winter day.

The shape of the wreath is inspired from a Greek laurel wreath, but with a tangle of grapevines to form the base, the overall effect is more wildly natural than classically composed.

Step-by-Step Instructions

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  • foraged fir
  • blue spruce
  • weeping blue spruce bird’s nest
  • turkey feathers
  • dried spirea branches dried lichen grapevine
  • clippers
  • a roll of Oasis bind wire
  • double-faced satin ribbon
  • a few wooden barbecue skewers

Weave the grapevine into a circle about 12 inches wide.


When the wreath form is about 1 1⁄2 inches in bulk, tie it off with some bind wire to secure it, leaving the roll of bind wire attached.


Take a few larger pieces of evergreen and cut them down into manageable sizes then add the evergreen to the design. Wrap a piece of bind wire around the evergreen, pulling tightly to secure it to the wreath form.


Working your way down the wreath, continue to add and wrap pieces of evergreen with wire down a third of the circle. Add the various materials evenly—one piece of spruce, one piece of fir, one piece of spirea, etc. so that they are spread throughout.


When you have covered a third of the circle, flip it upside down to tie off your wire in a knot.


Repeat steps 4-7 on the opposite side of the wreath, mirroring the direction. When it’s complete, tie off the wire in the bottom center of the wreath.


To fill any holes in the design or adjust the shape to your liking, tuck small pieces into the back of the wreath in the web created by the wire.


Next, cut down the lichen into individual pieces, and pierce the thickest part of each piece with the sharp end of a skewer. Then trim each skewer’s length to 3 or 4 inches.


Weave the lichen skewers into the front of the wreath to securely attach the lichen in place.


Tuck a few turkey feathers into the back of the wreath; the tops should peek out with the evergreen.


Snip your bird’s nest branch free of any excess branches so the focus is on the nest. Then tuck it securely into the wreath, centering the nest as a focal point.


Cut a length of ribbon and a small piece of bind wire. Attach the middle of the ribbon to the bottom of wreath with the bind wire, twisting the wire in the back like a twist tie.


Once the ribbon is attached to the wreath, tie it into a simple bow to finish the design

“The wreath should look like the woods in miniature. Imagine a small evergreen tree with a few grapevines intertwined; a small bird has made a nest in the branches, and a flock of wild turkeys have come through and left some feathers. If you distill the woods into a single display, this wreath would be it.”


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