Four steps to the perfect wreath

Get the how-to from a California designer who loves to work with fresh, foraged materials

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 Step 1

  • Wreath step 1

Step 3

  • Wreath step 3

Step 2

  • Wreath step 2


"I especially like simple, monochromatic wreaths made entirely from one material and accented with a satin ribbon for hanging," she says. Fragrant bay leaves and sculptural oak branches are among her favorite indigenous materials. The effect is fresh and welcoming ― seasonal decor that showcases the bounty of the landscape.

Step 1: Gather the greenery

Choose long-lasting materials that grow in your area ― cedar or Douglas fir in the Northwest, spruce in the mountains, or pine in the Southwest, for example.

Feller's favorites, in order of preference: eucalyptus (it stays fresh-looking the longest), oak (for its branches), bay, and magnolia.

For subtle accents, she uses berries, seedpods, and herbs. "Rosemary grows almost wild in our area," she says.

Step 2: Bundle the foliage

Cut greenery snippets about 6 inches long, then gather them into 10 to 12 small but full bunches.

Wrap the stem ends of each bundle tightly with 24- or 26-gauge paddle wire, available at craft stores.

Step 3: Attach bundle to ring

Feller prefers 10-inch wreath frames, called clamp rings ($2.99; or 831/768-8428); they're strong and have 10 evenly spaced clamps to hold bundles of greens in place.

Secure one bunch at a time, closing the clamp over stem ends with your hands or a pair of pliers.

Step 4: Work around the ring

Continue attaching greenery, one bunch at a time, to the ring, moving in one direction around the circle.

Each bundle should slightly overlap the previous one.

Attach ribbon or raffia for hanging the wreath.

Resources: Mercedes Feller's wreaths (from $49 for 15-in. circle) are available at Tiller Digs, Corte Madera, CA (415/927-1266; no mail order), and Organic Bouquet


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