A Beautiful ánd Easy DIY Cork Wreath for Christmas/Yuletide
Long before the wreath became part of our Christmas decor, it was a symbol of eternity, wholeness, power, victory, honour and joy in several ancient cultures, i.a. those of Mesopotamia, Persia, the Etruscans, Greece and Rome. The tradition of using evergreen wreaths as winter decoration, on the other hand, is supposed to be much more recent:
The custom of bringing evergreens home during the winter began in the 16th century among northern and eastern Europeans — with Germans commonly credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition. During this period, pruning the tree was a part of the preparation process. “Limbs were often cut off in an attempt to make the tree more uniform in shape or to fit into a room,” Collins writes in his book. Instead of throwing the pieces of greenery away, the Europeans wove the excess into wreaths.https://time.com/5482144/christmas-wreath-origins/
In our house we’ve given up the traditional Christmas tree, and instead decorate our indoor-hibernating lemon tree or larger chilli plants. (True story.) Therefore we don’t have excess pine or spruce to use in wreaths. But we do always have a plethora of wine corks. So this year, inspired by Evelyn’s blog post over at MyTurnforUs, I decided to craft a winter wreath out of our precious wine-tasting memories.
First of all, this is super easy. Trust me. I’m not an arty-crafty person by any stretch of the imagination, so if I can do this, truly anyone can.
All you need is:
- a wreath
I got these 35 cm diameter straw ones, but you can buy them in wicker, foam and plenty of other materials. I prefer straw because it’s natural, and colour-wise it matches the corks, so any gaps will be less noticeable.
You can find these in gardening centres, local crafts or hobby stores, and even in some flower shops. Or make one yourself, if you feel so inclined.
- a glue gun
I bought myself a basic glue gun online, based on its largely positive reviews. It cost just under €20 and it’s working fine.
- decorative trinkets
These are optional; you can just make a wreath with corks and be done with it. I tend to hang on to ribbons, bows and all kinds of knick knacks from gift wrappings (a family habit that’s hard to shake). Thinking they’ll come in handy one day. For once, that’s actually proven true. 😉
- plastic covers / cardboard / newspaper to protect your work surface
Glue guns tend to leak a bit, so do cover your work surface. I recommend using several layers, because hot glue drops can melt through plastic.
And last but not least… wine corks! I used about a hundred for this 35 cm wreath. Some wreaths put several layers of corks on top of one another. I did just 1 layer, but of course there’s always a bit of overlap.
I sorted the corks in advance, more or less by length. I kept aside the best-looking ones (and the ones that give me the warmest fuzzy feelings), so I could give these a prominent place on the wreath.
From then onwards it continues to be super easy. Like making a puzzle of which the pieces fit just about anywhere. You decide where you want a specific cork to go, and which side should face up. Then add a bit of glue to the back, put firmly in place, wait a few seconds until it holds, and on to the next.
I prefer this rustic, organic look, where you stagger the corks quasi randomly. But you can make wreaths in whichever style you prefer: neat, straightforward circles; an outward spiral; or wreaths where the wine corks stand upright, sticking out like a hedgehog’s quills. For more ideas and examples, check out my Pinterest board ‘Cork crafts’.
Be careful not to leave too many large gaps, or the wreath will look scrawny. Smaller gaps can easily be filled or hidden with bows, ribbons, small pine cones, tufts of greenery, decorative berries, etc.
Don’t forget to check your wreath from all angles, inside and out, to see if it’s well covered. And finish by adding any additional details you have in mind. I used sparkly red berry decorations for this one, mainly because I had them lying around. I highly recommend positioning them on the wreath before gluing any in place, so you can switch them around until you’re perfectly happy with how it looks.
And here is the final result, brightening up our front door:
You can find more inspiration for wreaths or other cork crafts on Pinterest.
And – I know you’ve been wondering ‘can this also be done with champagne corks?’
Yes it can! Here’s one I made the next day. (It’s a little bit addictive – I hope it’s not the glue!)