I tackled this project last year on a whim and it was a lot of fun – of course, with my spontaneity & excitement, I didn’t plan ahead for it, OOPS! It was December 8th – EIGHT days before our family was arriving home for the holidays!! I was making these for the 4 windows by my desk and breakfast booth, next to our dining room. So I ran downstairs and grabbed what I had – some floral wire and some green twine covered wire and that was all I really needed to get started!
Then I pulled on my boots and ran outside to start cutting off pieces from all of my boxwoods and away I went with my plan! I’m an on the fly kind of person when it comes to crafts, often times just seeing what I come up with by myself and not paying much attention to directions. ha!
If you make your own boxwood wreaths from fresh cuttings, and want to preserve them PROPERLY, lol, get started in October if your goal is to have them ready for Christmas decor. Or start in late spring, when everything is nice & greened up again, and make them for year round home decor. Boxwood wreaths are gorgeous for all seasons – but I especially love them for Christmas, spring & summer.
One by one I shaped the wire into little circles that were just the right size for my windows, and secured the ends with floral wire.
Next I started attaching the cuttings to my little wire wreaths, using floral wire to secure them.
I started wrapping the wire around and around, weaving them in out of where the leaves were, making sure to not wrap the wire over any of the leaves. And then when I had the wire about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up the cutting, I added another cutting and starting wrapping the wire around both of them, and continued all the way around. You can add more cuttings more often if you like, for a more full look.
And finally, the finished product!
(sorry for the bad photo editing, I took this photo last year as I made these, and this is the only photo I have with them all hanging up in the windows, but I don’t want other people’s names and info from Facebook showing in my blog)
If you want them to keep their beautiful green color and last for many years to come, you’ll need to preserve your boxwood cuttings first. To preserve them you need to soak the cuttings in a solution of glycerin, green dye, and citric acid. All of these items can be ordered online or found in a local hobby or fabric store, and sometimes even big box stores. You’ll also need a large glass vase, jar or bowl to put the solution in, and then place the ends of your cuttings into it for about 3 weeks.
Directions for preserving boxwood cuttings: Snip the boxwood branches off your bushes in 4-8 inch sections, crush the snipped ends with something like a hammer or the end of a butter knife, or whatever you have handy. Mix 1 cup of glycerin, 2 tablespoons of green Rit dye, 1 tablespoon of citric acid, and 1 and a 1/2 cups of hot water in a large glass container or pitcher (not white or anything porous) using gloves and an old spoon for mixing. Pour the solution into whatever containers you’re going to leave your cuttings in for 3 weeks. Yes, you read that right! You need a full 3 weeks for this process. Snip the ends of the cuttings 1 more time and then put them in your containers so that the ends are completely covered in the solution, and set them somewhere safe, out of the reach of children and pets.
Unless you’re a fly by the seat of your pants rebel like me, then you can jump right into making your decor piece without preserving them first.
Until you realize they’ll be tossed in the garbage at the end of the season. Because they’ll be brown and crunchy. And making a mess in the house. And your frugal, penny pinching inner voice starts badgering you to do SOMETHING to try and save them!!!
So yeah, I attempted, and I think somewhat succeeded, in saving my wreaths from the trash – by immediately trying to preserve them after putting them together last year. I just knew I would want them to last for a long time, so I had to try. I ended up making a large batch of a modified version of this preservation solution in an old plastic storage bin, and submerged all 4 wreaths into it and let it sit for a week. Remember that EIGHT days before my house was full of family? That’s all the time I had! Once I took them out of the solution I hung them to dry in my utility room since they were completely submerged & wet. Then I sprayed them with a clear gloss floral preservation spray. They didn’t turn out too bad, and they’ve been up in my windows all season again this year. These windows get full sun for most of the day, so that’s pretty good. That said, I’m tempted to spruce them up a bit more with a gloss green spray paint after they come down in early January, because their green color isn’t the best. (at some point I read something about using green spray paint on browning greenery for a photo shoot, on a blog somewhere out in blogland, from another blogger who made a similar mistake – but I have no idea who or where or what I got that from!!)
Bottom line, take this as a lesson learned by me, do it the right way and you’ll thank yourself later! 😉
Here is a photo from this year (2017):