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Making a Christmas Wreath out of paper doileys!

I like to hang a wreath on the front door at Christmas time! I usually "redecorate" the same wreath base over and over each year depending on my Christmas colours... actually depending on my mood and inclination - actually, really, depending on how much time I have!

I had seen in a library book somewhere, sometime (when it wasn't anywhere near Christmas) a wreath made of paper doilies and had photocopied it thinking I was super organised for Christmas. Of course when I got out my instructions last week, I discovered that I had very neatly copied the picture but only half the instructions!

Not being in possession of a photographic memory (unless I am having a fight with my husband) I had a quick look around the internet and then decided it really wasn't that hard to do without them!

All you need is one of those wire wreath bases (I got mine from Spotlight for about $7), a set of battery powered lights with batteries included ($3 from Big W plus batteries), about 40-50 doilies ($2 a packet from a $2 shop) and a stapler.

Here's what I did...

First wire up the wreath base with the set of lights so that the lights are spaced evenly around the circle and are all facing the front. Don't worry too much about the battery case, we will attach that later. Put the batteries in and test the string before you start. It would be awful to go to all the trouble of making this to discover the string was broken at the end...

Then shape your doilies into quarters so that they make a "flower shape" with a point at the bottom and then thread the point into the outer rings of the wreath and fold it over. I sticky taped the first few but it didn't hold and so I had to wrangle to stapler into the wreath to staple them in place. Keep going around the outside until you have gone all the way around.

The lights need to stay on the top all the time so that when the wreath is complete they are still on the top! I also discovered that if you fold the doilies "unevenly" that is so you have three or four layers of visible lacy bits it looks much better than if you fold it precisely into quarters. I was looking for a more rustic loose look than a evenly spaced factory feel.

Once you have a row around the outside, place another row on the inside, still keeping the lights on top. It pays to know how many lights are on that string so you don't lose any and have to pull half of the wreath apart to get at it later.

I was using different sized and coloured doilies as I seemed to have a lot of them (hence when I saw it, I thought it was a great way to justify my paper doily collection!) So I put the 4 larger ones at the top, bottom and sides and filled in the gaps with the medium ones. My smaller ones were white and so I decided to just use them in the middle and make a contrasting middle layer around the white lights.

Because I find the "rustic handmade look" attractive (and its construction so much more forgiving) I tend to milk it for all its worth. So I don't put any thing on in a uniform manner. I tend to put things on unevenly both around the edges and from the centre. I think it adds to the charm of the handmade product!

Sorry, this photo wont flip for some technical reason... So now I have a wreath with an outside and an inside ring of doilies. This is the time to fill any gaps or even up anything you aren't happy with. Also a good time to count the lights and make sure they are all facing up. Now is also a good time to add any extra staples as once you start on the centre row, its really, really hard to go back and fix anything. The doilies will feel floppy and will move around a lot but once its on the wall they don't move. I have had vague thoughts about how hard this is going to be to store for next year but I chased them out of my head with a tipple and a few Christmas carols!

Next I added the smallest doily's to the center of the wreath over the top of each light bulb. I popped a very small hole in the centre-ish of each doily and then eased it over the bulb. It wont stay there as the doily is under pressure from all the other doilies but we will fix them next.

This is another good time to add or remove any doilies to get the look that you want. I thought my doilies were all white until I put them together. It might pay to put all your sizes together before you start and check so you can make a pattern and decide before you start.

I had to turn on the lights to check the effect! As soon as I started moving it I realised how delicate and floppy this creation is. I figure its going to hand on a wall and probably not have to survive a hurricane so I went with it.

It was obvious to me that the little doily's weren't going to stay on the lights and a quick consultation with the husband and I had all the bits I needed to cut up the box the lights came in to put around the lights as a holder. Because these are LED lights, they are ok with paper. Don't use old fashioned Christmas lights that have any heat in them, they might set your wreath on fire!

I cut squares out of the plastic box that the lights came in and then ended up cutting them into rough circles. Then if you make a small X in the centre with a craft knife you can ease them gently over the light and they hold themselves on. You can barely see them on the finished wreath.


Once I had all the lights fitted with their plastic collars, I wedged the battery box into a loop of the wire and chose that as the bottom. The weight of two AAA batteries is negligible but as I discovered its much easier to turn it on and off if the battery switch is where you can reach it!

I decided that this wreath was a bit too delicate for the front door in the end and put it against a big mirror we have in the hallway as you walk in the front door. This had the effect of doubling the effect of the ruffles and making it look even fuller and more luscious than I had imagined!

The stained glass doves were a wedding present and have always been there as with the heart. They fitted nicely into the overall effect and so I left them there. I have just put a loop of ribbon onto the top of the wrath and hung it from the nail that the doves hang from. I turn the lights on in the evening and try to remember to turn them off when I go to bed - or work in the morning.

Its really pretty at night and I really love this wreath despite the fact that it will probably disintegrate in storage over the next year. I think it was well worth the effort and time it took to make.

Once you have the idea in your head, there are lots of variations to be made. You could colour the doily's or buy coloured ones. You could spray glitter on it, use coloured lights or try adding lacy cupcake holders. You could use crêpe paper or source some other types of doily's not stocked at my local $2 shop.

Have you made one of these? Pop a link to it or one that you have seen and love in the comments section - I'd love to see it! K x

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 Much greener to make your own than to buy (but then all the parts were made in China and were shipped here - I just assembled them. Hmmm... maybe not as green as I originally thought...)
 Frugal-ness: 3/5 All up it would have cost under $20 to make if I had to buy all the bits. It would have cost $40 to $50 if I had bought it at the shops already made if I could find one! 
Time cost: About an hour - and most of that was working it out without the instructions!
Skill level: Stapling and patience (No problems with the stapling. I had a bit of trouble with the patience :))
Fun-ness: It was so much fun to see the family's faces as they arrived home and saw this lighting up the hallway. And even more fun to answer the question, "Where did you get that?" with "I made it!".


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