Friday, October 7, 2016

Gather Ye Rosebuds Halloween Wreath

In May of this year my husband and I bought our first house.  For the last several months we've been getting settled in, decorating our new space bit by bit.  We've mostly worked on the interior, since summer in the South is too brutal to take on outdoor projects.  Now with the weather finally cooling down, I've been able to enjoy regular morning walks around the neighborhood with the puppy.  On our walks I've loved seeing people out in their yards, decorating for fall.  There are pumpkins and mums on every front porch, and one house covered in caution tape and spiderwebbing.  All of it has made me want to decorate our house too.  So where to start?  How about at the front door, with a creepy Halloween wreath to welcome visitors into our home?

I looked around at some of the wreaths for sale in the regular craft and home decor stores, but they were all either incredibly expensive or very poor quality.  So I decided to make one myself, to keep the cost down by the quality high.  This is the result!  I'm calling it my Gather Ye Rosebuds Wreath, and it makes me very happy hanging on my front door.  Best of all, it only cost $16.50 to put together!  Want to make one yourself?  Well then let me show you how...

You'll need:
18" burlap wrapped straw wreath base, like this one at Joann's (which I bought with a 50% off coupon)
3-4 packages of 'creepy cloth' from Dollar Tree
4 stems of black roses from Dollar Tree
2-3 stems of purple roses from Dollar Tree
Small skull from Dollar Tree
Hot glue gun
Glue sticks
Black marker
1 yard black satin ribbon (optional)
Indoor/Outdoor Command Hook (optional)

Use your marker to draw lines dividing your wreath base into quarters.  This will help you keep track of how much creepy cloth you are using to wrap around the base.  Next, open your packages of creepy cloth, and completely unfold them.  Mine were 30"x72", which sounds like a lot of cloth until you remember just how thin it is.  Gather the cloth roughly at an angle near one end.  By holding it at an angle, you will taper out one piece, while you overlay the next piece, allowing you to get good coverage, without lumps where one piece ends and the next begins.  Use a line of hot glue to attach the cloth along the back of the wreath.  Now wrap the cloth, stopping to adjust so that you don't have bare patches peeking through.  As you come to the end of the first piece, add a line of glue, and simply start wrapping the next piece over the end of the last one.

I bought 4 piece of creepy cloth, but only ended up using 3 to cover my wreath.  (I guess that 4th one will decorate my mantle!)  Don't worry if there are some ragged bits or stray strings here and there.  It just adds to the death shroud texture that we're aiming for.  Now it's time to start laying in the roses.  Remove the roses, leaves and any other bits from the flower stems.  (Mine came with a glitter covered spider or bat on each bunch.)  You'll want to remove the plastic pieces from the leaves, but not from the roses, or those will fall apart.  Decide where you would like your skull to be.  I wanted mine centered at the bottom of the wreath, with roses running up along the sides.  Give yourself a mark for the placement of the skull, but don't attach it yet.  Instead glue a black rose on each side of where the skull will be, crowding them in closer than you think you'll want them.  Add two more black roses beneath those so that the center feels full.  Now go ahead and glue in your skull, taking care to nestle it between the flowers, so it seems to be emerging from beneath them.

Now that you have your skull in place, it's time to lay in some leaves.  Use more hot glue to lay some of them flat, hanging just off the edge in either direction, partway up each side of the wreath.  This will help fill in any gaps between the roses with additional texture.  Now let's add in a purple rose on each side, between the black roses already there.  Continue layering in more roses in black with the occasional purple one thrown in to break up the color.

My roses also came with little feathery bits of plastic on the ends of the stems.  Cut these apart, and add a blob of glue to the ends, tucking them between the flowers and leaves, and place them around the wreath.  I added mine feathering off the top edges of the roses on the sides, behind where I wanted my skull, and along the bottom edge of the wreath.  Now take a look at your skull.  Mine had some paint on it, darkening the eye sockets but it wasn't very dark.  Use your magic marker to add some definition between the teeth, and along any cracks in the skull.

That's it!  You now have a chic new Halloween wreath.  Very Martha Stewart.  If Martha decided to move to a Mockingbird Lane.   I had planned to hang mine from a metal over-the-door wreath hanger, but couldn't find it in the holiday decorations.  Since none of the stores in town seemed to have them yet either, I grabbed an outdoor Command Hook from Big Lot's, and hung the wreath from a loop of black satin ribbon.

Now I clearly need something more fun and festive for the welcome mat.  Wonder what I can come up with for that...

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