Our tutorial and 30+ tips to make your own vintage Christmas ornament wreath


How to make vintage ornament wreath

I have been ornie hoarding for a few years… and we have Georgia Peachez’ DIY instructions… so I invited my friend Danielle (above) to my house so we could conquer wreath-making together. It was super fun! Our wreaths turned out gorgeous! I am now obsessed with these wreaths! Read on for our 30+ tips to make an ornament wreath of your very own.

Don’t want to use your precious vintage ornaments?

 ornament-wreathschristmas ornament wreathhow-to-make-vintage-ornament-wreath

How to make a vintage Christmas ornament wreath:

    1. Step One — Gather Supplies
    2. vintage christmas ornamentsYou need vintage ornaments and lots of them. My wreath included 75 ornaments. Danielle used 95 ornaments. I used fewer because the ornaments in my chosen colorways were larger, based on the supply I had available. Danielle used more, because a lot of the ornaments in pinks were smaller.
    3. You need vintage ornaments in a variety of sizes. You need big ones for the exterior ring. You need medium-sized for the center wing. You need all sizes for the top layers, although I did not feel that large ones worked so well on the top layer, as they tended to overwhelm. And also really key: Tiny ones to fill in little open spaces and add whimsy-doodle to the front of wreath.
    4. Different shapes are good, too — bells, lanterns, teardrops, the kind with concave thingies in them… different shapes, sizes, textures all add dimension and visual interest.
    5. You need vintage Christmas weebits — I had one knee-hugger elf, but beyond that, I was way short of little somethings to add.
    6. We used 14″ foam wreath forms. I found the best selection at Michael’s. My JoAnn’s did not have the 14″, only 12″ and that looked too small. Michael’s also had a 16″, but golly we were worried about running out of ornaments as it was. JoAnn’s seemed a little cheaper, by $1 per wreath or so, but again,  it did not have as many sizes.
    7. The only place I could find the silver garland I wanted was Wal-Mart. It was 97 cents for 15′. The garland I wanted was not “supersized” (argh!), but rather the modest size that I remember as a child. We used about 20′ of garland per 14″ wreath — so buy extra. Note, eyeballing Georgia Peachez’ wreaths, I think she uses the supersized kind — so that’s okay too.
    8. BUT big tip on garland size: Georgia Peachez says I should not have used the dinky thin old school garland!!! See her comments below. The chunkier garland that she recommends seems to sell for about $3.50 a 15′ strand. To use next year, I am going to buy a bunch at big discount after the holidays.
    9. Supplies and product to hang the wreath. We used picture-frame looped eye rings — two per wreath, with a piece of picture wire hung between them. You will need a wire-cutter to trim the picture wire. BUT, note that Georgia Peachez uses a different method — see her tips below.
my new glue gun

I’m a big gun now: Just bought this bigger glue gun, which has very good reviews on Amazon. Georgia Peachez will approve.

  1. High-heat hot glue gun and glue sticks. I used a standard high heat mini glue gun that I purchased at a local craft store, and it seems to have worked well. But now that I have the bug bite bad, I have purchased this Surebonder HE-750 Professional High Temp 2 Heater Glue Gun (affiliate link), which seems to have received a lot of good reviews including for its high heat (BE CAREFUL!). This came in the mail over the weekend — and it looks really substantial. I have planned an activity to make more wreaths with friends who are visiting for Thanksgiving — that’s why I ordered more glue guns. I will report back on how the Surebonder works then.
  2. Scissors to trim your garland and the strings from Christmas weebits.
  3. Cocktails. I had a screwdriver. Danielle, Jack Daniels. But don’t overdue it. You will be wielding a high temp hot glue gun — and you will want to keep your wits about you to ensure an artistic arrangement of your precious vintage ornaments.
  4. Snacks and music. Time to pull out the Christmas CDs. Be sure to include the Chipmunks — my personal #1.
  5. A nice big place to work — we used my dining room table, and a place to stage all your ornaments — an adjacent table or buffet or the link — nearby.
  6. DISCLAIMER: This is the first time we made these. Georgia Peachez’ instructions said high temp hot glue guns, and that’s what we used. We also double-dabbed for added security. But, we used thin garland, oops. Will our ornaments stay attached? We sure hope so!

The basic steps — illustrated — to make a vintage Shiny Brite ornament wreath:

shiny brite ornaments

Gather yee your ornies — all shapes, sizes, styles, colors. In this photo, I show you the SEVEN sizes of Shiny Brites that I have identified. I am finding the largest size hard to find for sale online…

vintage christmas ornaments

I staged the ornaments on the built-in bar next to my dining room table. Before we started, we each decided the ornament color combinations we would focus on. Because we had “only” 260 ornaments to work with, we needed to be sure that we would have enough to complete our designs. We divvied up these ornaments and put them right down on the dining room table with us, so that we could each see what we were working with as we went.

garland on wreath forms

First, though, gather your wreath forms, your garland, your glue gun and scissors. See my tips above on choosing garland — use the thicker, chunkier kind, Georgia Peachez advised me.

wrap wreath forms

Next, start wrapping the wreaths with tinsel. Wind the tinsel around the form… add dabs of glue as you go. I only put the glue on one side of the wreath form. It held really well. I don’t think you don’t need to go overboard with the glue.

add hooks

Once you have the forms wrapped in garland, it’s time to “choose” the back side and add your hanging apparatus. We used eye hooks that screwed in — two of them — then added picture wire. One thing we learned with this method: Make the hole for the eye hook, then, before you put the eye hook in, dollop the hot glue but good down in the hole. Screw in eye-hook thingie. Add more glue. You do not want your wreath to fall! Let glue dry completely then turn wreath back to front side for next step. TIP: NEXT TIME I MAKE A WREATH I WILL INSTALL THE HANGING APPARATUS BEFORE I WRAP THE FOAM CORE IN TINSEL. I think that THIS WILL MAKE IT EASIER TO SEE WHAT I AM DOING — AND GIVE ME MORE CONTROL OVER ‘ENSURING’ THE HANGING APPARATUS IS SECURE. Also note: Georgia Peachez uses a different hanging method, described in her tips, below.

creating vintage ornament wreathNow, start selecting the ornaments that you will use to ‘anchor’ the outside and inside rings of your wreath. (Although Georgia Peachez does not use an inside ring, see her tips below.) We used the largest ornaments on the outside. Medium-sized on the inside. To the degree you can keep the sizes uniform, it will be easier to keep the wreath a perfect circle. This is not essential, but I think it’s preferable — as I am so visually attuned to symmetry or the lack thereof. In our case, we did NOT have enough large to make the wreaths perfect circles on the outside ring. I played with the design to get a sort of pattern going (two larges/one not; repeat) and that worked. Another BIG TIP: Be very sensitive to the four ‘corners’ of your wreath and how it will look when hung. That is: What is sitting at 12 o’clock? At 6 o’clock? You might even want to mark 12 o’clock somehow, so that you don’t lose sight of how your emerging design ‘sits’.
make a vintage ornament wreath

Start gluing. In general, we used two dabs of hot glue on each ornament: #1 to secure it to the wreath substrate. #2 to secure it to the ornament adjacent — this seemed to add extra stability. Fortunately: The glue gun glue is darn forgiving: If a bit spider-webs, it pulls off the ornaments easily.

how to make a vintage ornament wreathI did the outside ring first. See how I had to alternate XL with L ornaments because I didn’t have enough XLs? Of course, I also tried to artistically arrange the colors. 
shiny-brite-wreath-500x333
Next comes the really fun part: Build up your wreath using the pretties, the weebits and then finish with the tiny balls. Sorry that I don’t have more photos of this process. I think I was so immersed in making the wreaths by this point. 
shiny brite ornamentsTip: Use “plain” vintage ornaments on the perimeter rings. Save your real stunners for the top. If something has words, for example, figure out how to use it to best effect in your design.
vintage-ornament-wreath-pink

Mix your sizes, shapes, colors, design, weebits and before you know it, you will be the proud creator of a STUNNING vintage ornament wreath! 

ornie-wreath

 #1 key: Have lots of ornaments and weebits to work with.

gold-wreath

2014: I (Pam) made this gold-green-touch of silver wreath, which is among my favorites. Thanks to my friend Pat Henry of Fashion Doll Quarterly for the photo.

More tips to making ornament wreaths:

Danielle suggested:

  • I thought the building of little groupings and then filling in between them worked well for me.
  • Taking a break and stepping away would be good advice (wish I had done it more often–seeing those two little blue guys in the picture is bothering me–they stand out too much I think). And you can tell them I broke a couple but glued them back so they were hidden! :)
  • Oh, and the bit about seriously gluing the wire on the back, maybe even before the tinsel.

From me:

  • Super key is having a wide selection of ornaments and little trinkets to work with.
  • If you are hunting vintage Christmas ornaments on ebay or etsy, here are the brands I was able to identify: Shiny Brite, Coby, Bradford, Paragon, Commodore. Of course, also use search words Vintage and Old. These things are expensive online — and it takes many ornaments to do a wreath! I can most definitely understand why buying a complete wreath from masters like Georgia Peachez now cost $250.
  • Think carefully about your color selection. An easy rule, if you are nervous about this step: Use two closely-related col0rs (blue & green, pink & hot pink were our choices, based on our ornament supply) and then mix them with silver and gold. Warning: Every time you add one more color, you may be reducing the visual drama of the wreath (and vice versa). I have seen examples of wreaths that use “all colors” or “more color” and they can be gorgeous, too. I’m just saying that, in general, if you are nervous, editing your palette is a more assured way of getting great results.
  • Identify your “big winner” ornaments for the front of the wreath — make sure you give them the most prominent position — build the other elements around them. Clear case in point: Knee-hugger elf should be a star of your wreath!
  • Tilt or angle your knee-hugger elf or other trinkets. The arrangement of the ornaments is not linear.
  • If you have three of something special, put them together. Notice: My three bells and Danielle’s three hot-pink teardrop thingies. Massing of smaller elements like this — in particular in threes — works very effectively.
  • Don’t worry about having the metal parts of the ornaments showing on the front of the wreath. Sometimes I’d have them hidden or tucked under, sometimes I would have them show. I like the patina of the old metal…
  • Don’t worry about having the tinsel underneath show. You don’t want large gaps, though — play with your ornament configurations before committing, and be sure to have a big stash of the tiny orbs before you get going!
  • Invite a friend — double the fun!

Tips from Suzy of Georgia Peachez herself!

So then, I asked the Queen — Suzy of Georgia Peachez — to read this entire tutorial, and if she had time, to provide any pearls. And oh so generously, she did! Here is what she wrote:

Oh my, that was quite an undertaking, writing that tutorial. Bravo, well done, and the wreaths too. OK, so here are my “pearls” of wisdom, all from hard earned experience (and sometimes pain induced too). No particular order here:

  • I do a very simple wire hook on my wreaths. I cut floral wire about 14″ long, bend in half to make a loop, put behind wreath, bring legs around and thru to front and over again to the back, wrap each around loop. Done. This is after tinsel wrapping. Virtually disappears when hung on wall because you are so stunned by the magnificence of the wreath :->
  • Big Lots is another good source for tinsel.
  • I always use thick, shaggy tinsel. Ornies grip it better. Thin, pitiful tinsel is a bad move.
  • I see you have used one of those weenie little glue guns. You can get a decent full size gun for high temp gluing at Joann’s for $20, less the coupon they constantly have, so it is very reasonable at $10-12. No one should ever use those wussy guns for anything. Man up and get a full size gun. I use a commercial grade gun and glue for obvious reasons.
  • High temp glue is absolutely CRITICAL.
  • I don’t put ornies around the middle of the ring. Doesn’t work for me, makes it harder to design on top. Many times what I’m placing on top needs to hang a bit into that center space. I don’t recommend it.
  • Yes, sometimes ornies pop off. The glue just pulls the paint right off of certain ornies. Just reglue it. No biggie. I have wreaths in my collection from years ago and they are just fine. I store them in the attic too.
  • Don’t recommend displaying wreaths outside or even on a porch. I think the cold would shrink the glue too much and then you might get more pop offs. I don’t do it, so I don’t speak from experience here.
  • I make mostly multi color wreaths, but composition is everything. The colors must balance, everything must balance. Lop-sided wreaths make my OCD tendencies flare up real bad. Your instructions on that were spot on.
  • Advise readers: Don’t glue vintage ornaments to an evergreen wreath form. DON’T DO IT. They do not hold up over time.
  • I’ve worked hard to build my brand and wreath business. I work like a dog making as many wreaths as I can because the demand is overwhelming. A very good dilemma to have! The demand is so great that I purchase vintage ornies in bulk and often pay a premium. I will pay up to $4 each for exceptional ones and each wreath has 80-100 ornaments. Elves have gotten crazy expensive too. I use every size from 1/4″ and up to fill in all the gaps. Wreath forms are expensive! I buy in bulk, but they still aren’t cheap.

Look forward to the post on Monday.

xo, suzy

Kate made a video!

Want to preserve your vintage ornaments?

  • For the outside and inside rings (if you do an inside rings), only use plain ornaments. These plain shinys tend to be much more widely available — including from the 1980s from stores like Bradlees and W.T. Grant. I was not a stickler for “Shiny Brites” per se. I was happy to find and use any vintage ornaments from any maker. Key to me was that they were old — and that they had patina. I am soooo into patina.
  • That said, if you are not an absolutely stickler for vintage, you can further extend your use of vintage ornaments by using new ornaments for the outside and/or inside rings. Save your decorative vintage ornaments for the highly-visible top part of the wreath.
  • This week I also plan on testing some techniques to faux-age inexpensive, brand new-ornaments to use on the outer rings.  Stay tuned.

Buy a wreath from the Queen o’ Wreath Making, Georgia Peachez:

We hear from readers, who made wreaths using our tips:

shiny bright ornament wreathchristmas ornament wreath

Reader Erin (above) wrote:

We did it! Our wreaths turned out great. We are so pleased with the results, and we could not have completed this without your detailed directions. I can’t thank you enough for the blog post preview.

I’ve attached pictures of me (Erin), my sister (Andrea), and her weebit (Lenny)…and of course, our wreaths.
We had such a fun day working on this project together.

Thank you for doing what you do!

You’re welcome, Erin! And weebit Lenny: Cute overload! xoxo

ornament-wreaths

Above: Another ornament wreath that Pam made a few weeks later.

Upload photos of the wreaths you make:

Upload photos of your ornament wreaths — (but NOT other decorations, please) – belowTips:

  • (1) Uploader DOES work but message you get on screen *may be* funky and confusing. Upload ONCE and trust the image it there — I just need to “set new photos free” from my control panel and will be checking throughout the weekend to do so.
  • (2) Terms of Use apply.

Add description right here

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

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Comments

      • June Cahill says

        Late in replying…sorry…was out yesterday! Pam – it looks FABULOUS! What a wonderful job – and the other gal with the little one – just GREAT!

  1. Diane from PA says

    After having made one of these last year I wanted to know how everyone is storing these away for the following year without doing a lot of damage.

    • susan says

      Diane,
      They sell tupperware type wreath holders at Home depot for around $10. Look for the kind where the top snaps on so no bugs can get in.

  2. Leann says

    You guys did great!!!! Beautiful!!! I do have one question… Made one for my Mom but now wondering the best way to ship it. The ornaments are so fragile. Not sure how to pack it so they’ll survive USPS or UPS or FE. Hehehe

    • susan says

      Leann,
      I would put it in a large garbage bag, and then put that bag in a large box filled with packing peanuts. The garbage bag will prevent the peanuts from getting in between the ornaments.

  3. says

    What a great tutorial with all the pictures!! I have wanted to make one of these wreaths but was just not confident enough to do it, until now.
    I am going to go through my stash of vintage ornaments today!!
    I am really interested in hearing how your experiment in aging newer ornaments turns out as I have a very limited supply of vintage and I know both my daughters are going to want one of these!!
    Thank you so much

  4. Diane in CO says

    I’ve collected vintage ornaments for about 10 years — but to use on my “1950’s Christmas tree” – our secondary tree. SO, I have to say it pains me to see some of these stellar vintage ornies glued to a wreath!!

    HOWEVER, I’m not letting that stop me from attempting one of these awesome wreaths; Pam and Danielle, your creations are simply gorgeous. I began hitting some thrift stores last year to stockpile vintage ornaments. Hard to find them! Of course, I culled the really nice few for my permanent collection and saved the lesser type for a wreath.

    How much can you get away with using some that are scratched and worn a bit? I was thinking for the inner layers, saving a few good ones for the top.

    How about the vintage ones that are PLASTIC (still shiny) – can those be used?

    The tiny ones are hard to find now – does it detract to use new ornaments mixed in? (of course not those with gold hangers!)

    Thank you for this incredible tutorial and thanks to Suzy too!!

    • pam kueber says

      I LOVE scratches and ruboffs — to me, the patina not only adds, it is preferable!

      Yes, I used vintage Bradford — the shiny plastic kind. I LOVE them.

      I think that if you need to use new, you gotta do what you gotta do. As I mentioned in the tutorial, I am going to test some aging methods. I may run out and get new ornies today to try this. I keep thinking I have sated my obsession — but I have not!

  5. Jay says

    They look great! Thanks for all the technical insight. Answered all my questions. I always wondered about the ornament’s metal caps and loops – hiding them because it’s not always possible. I will have to start accumulating a stash for next year. I think the large ones are not as bountiful to find because they were probably not manufactured in the same quantity as the mediums plus bigger equals more fragile and more likely to break when they bounce on the floor when dropped.
    Interesting that Suzy doesn’t do the interior perimeter of her forms. It wasn’t readily apparent to me looking at her creations.

    • pam kueber says

      Thinking about the pros vs. cons of lining the inside perimeter:

      – I think that if you are not as confident of your design skills, lining the interior of the ring is a good idea — it assures a symmetry of design because all your toppers fit into the symmetry of the round structure.
      – If you are more confident of your design skills — as Suzy surely is — you can leave the center open and depend upon a balanced asymmetry of ornaments reaching into it, to achieve a beautiful outcome. And, the plush garland has its own beauty. In contrast, if you are not as skilled, you risk your intruding ornament design looking like a hot mess. Although… even with that said… I think it’s hard to imagine almost any design not being beautiful. I, on the other hand, like Suzy, am pretty OCD. See how Danielle is bothered by the two little blues ending up in the wrong place on her wreath? Perfectionistas beware… and if you fall into this category and are a novice at the wreaths, lining the interior may be a safer way to start.

      • DIane in CO says

        I think Danielle’s wreath is breathtaking, but wondering — is it possible to “break off” a tiny ornament like that, then cover the remaining fragment with a different (color) ornament? Would that risk doing damage to adjacent ornaments?

        Might be good to know your take on “undoing…..”

      • Lisa Compo says

        Being a fellow OCDer..those little blue ones would drive me crazy, too. I think the easiest solution is to get a few more and put them at the top and sides and sort of balance it out that way. Just tuck a couple more in so those two strays don’t look so lonely.

      • Jay says

        Thanks for that insight. I would probably do as you did. I sort of prefer to have an overall design instead of imagining it on the fly. This Fall I put down a small slate landing pad for the wheeled trash bin and I had to sketch out the sizes and placement beforehand numerous times rather then doing it on the fly so to avoid having all my slate seams line up in straight railroad fashion.

  6. Robin, NV says

    OK, regarding the cocktails. Really guys, a screwdriver and Jack Daniels? Clearly some egg nog with brandy is the correct beverage for this project. Mulled wine or hot toddies would work well too. Or my personal favorite – peppermint patties.

      • Robin, NV says

        How can you be the retro hostess with the mostest if you don’t have a fully stocked bar? ;)

        For years I’ve been wanting to do a Kentucky Derby hat decorating party – mint juleps and key lime pie will definitely be served!

          • Robin, NV says

            According to my friends from Louisville (pronounced Lewuhville), key lime pie is a must on derby day. But a pecan pie with chocolate? Oh lordy that sounds good.

            • pam kueber says

              I went to high school in Meade County, KY. All my kin live in Louisville (pronounced Lewahvull :), I will see what they say….I could well be out of touch.

            • Lisa Compo says

              I love the idea of a KY Derby hat party…naturally you’d have to invite them back for Derby Day for the real party. I am KY born and still here but my Derby Pie is a little different version than Pam’s. Mine might be wrong but I’ll share it with you–it’s good anytime and easy. Crap-now I want to make one. ;)

              1/2 cup melted margarine,1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 2 eggs slightly beaten, 1 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Mix in order given, pour into 9 in. unbaked pie crust, bake 350 degrees in vintage oven (LOL) for 30 minutes.

              • Cebette says

                Hi Lisa, I live in Louisville and your Derby pie recipe is almost identical to mine except I use pecans ’cause I like them better! They’re good for all occasions- no need to wait for Derby- I’m taking some to family Thanksgiving. Can’t say I know anyone who does Key Lime pie for Derby but hey, it’s always good too!

                • Lisa Compo says

                  Hi Cebette, I think maybe next time I make a Derby Pie I will use pecans and see how it turns out. I love most any kind of nut so either would be great in my book. Another thing I like a lot are the little pecan tarts. Mmm Anyway, I have never heard of Key Lime Pie on Derby Day either, but usually to me the more desserts the better. :)

  7. Brian T says

    They all look great! Here are a couple of other angles that people might want to consider:

    The smooth green cylindrical foam forms are a lot sturdier than the flat whte scratchy kind. I’d warn against using the white scratchy styrofoam because it’s really easy to see it snapping with disastrous results.

    The dyes on these vintage ornaments may not be very stable or light-tolerant (especially the reddish dyes). It’s one thing to hang a vintage ornament on a tree indoors; it’s another to place it in lots of direct sunlight for weeks at a time. I’ve had some “old world” blown glass ornaments where some colors have completely faded away. If your wreath-hanging spot gets a ton of direct sun, you might want to reconsider how valuable your vintage ornaments are to you.

    • June Cahill says

      I totally agree with Brian – also I’ve tried ‘dusting/cleaning’ some of the old ornaments using a damp cloth – NO NO NO!!!! The paint/color will rub right off – always ‘clean/dust’ lightly! with DRY cloth – I’m not as prolific as Suzy, but to date, I’ve made over 60 – so I’ve got a bit of experience!

        • June Cahill says

          Great tip! I’ve used the blow dryer on ‘high heat’ to ‘disconnect’ ornies – I’ve broken a few (but surprisingly FEW, like 3 or 4 – once their in the wreaths)…and needed to take them off and replace with others – the heat from blow dryer works great to loosen the glue. Just don’t get it too close to the garland – it, too, will melt under higher heat.

          Also, I used every color of garland – as long as it’s thicker…and pick that up at thrift stores anywhere from .50 – $1.00.

  8. Lisa Compo says

    These wreaths are so beautiful. You have done a wonderful job and the tutorial was very informative. I must admit that it makes me a little sad that the ornaments will never again grace a tree, but I suppose they can be just as beautiful forever in this configuration. I would like to know how to keep one of these clean…just dust it off with a duster or the sweeper from a good distance? I am sure mine would be dusty in a few days.

    You are really getting my creative mind spinning with these. I love Christmas decorations so these wreaths have really gotten under my skin to make something soon. :) I don’t have a good spot for a wreath so I have been thinking of other ways to make something similar. I wonder how it would look to use one of those styrofoam pyramid cones and do this same procedure. It would look like a Christmas tree shape with large ornaments on the bottom and decrease in size as you went up. I don’t have any vintage ornaments so I might have to improvise and see what Target has available to make one.

    Until then, I will continue to admire the pictures that are coming in and steal a few ideas from folks. I sure wish those knee hugging elves were made these days, maybe I will finally buy the Elf on the Shelf for myself. LOL

    • Jane says

      You can get the little elves from Vermont Country Store. They have a set of 3 small elves for 19.99 and 3 larger ones sold separately for 12.95 set for 29.95 and a ladder too. I also just got 2 boxes of new vintage ornaments and I just love them. They’re a great source for retro Christmas goodies. vermontcountrystore.com

  9. Blondie7 says

    WOW. Very Beautiful Pam! Stunning! Thank you so very much for your outstanding tutorial and tips about how to make Georgia Peachez’s phenomenal vintage ornament wreaths. Fabulous and Priceless! Highly appreciated! Simply Gorgeous! Thanks a million to Georgia Peachez too!

  10. Lynne says

    Okay, here’s a question for all of you that are “in the know”

    Is there a particular kind of ornament, bauble or doo-dad that we should avoid using? One that just doesn’t “cut it” over time or during the process? Like maybe those satiny kind??

    • pam kueber says

      I cannot speak to technical issues, such as will certain materials unglue easier than others, but I would say that there are no aesthetic limits. These are works of art. Infinite possibilities based on what speaks to you.

  11. Christine says

    I received one of these as a gift years ago and after about 4-5 years the ornaments started falling off.

    Just an FYI.

    I really want to put it back together but I’m wary of using hot glue again since it dried out so quickly the first time.

    • Lisa Compo says

      Maybe the person who made it years ago didn’t use the high heat glue or not quite enough and that’s why it didn’t hold together. Gosh, anytime I have ever hot glued anything it was FOREVER and there was no undoing it once it set. If you have the pieces it would be worth the attempt at putting it back together with high heat glue. Worst case scenario you have to do it again in 4-5 years. ;)

  12. tammyCA says

    Very pretty…but, I must be a Grinch here…I could never hot glue vintage ornaments, too precious.
    I would probably wire everything on…but, cheap Dollar Store ornaments I wouldn’t mind gluing. I just keep thinking about if one bulb breaks then isn’t the whole wreath lost or can it be removed and replaced? I know hot glue is a stubborn thing to remove.

  13. Diane in CO says

    Okay, spent some time this afternoon searching for supplies. Big Lots had 18′ lengths of what I assume is the heavier-duty tinsel garland for $4. Anyway it was the thickest one they had…. Michaels had the green 14″ round hard styrofoam. Thrift shop ornaments have obviously been picked over by the dealers in the antique malls. :-( **note to self** find some new thrift stores…

    GLUE GUNS: Is it better to get a cordless?? I did not commit yet. Michael’s all were small; no “pro” models. Is the cord a problem?

      • Diane in CO says

        Thanks Louisa, I BOUGHT the silver tinsel garland at Big Lots. It seems nice and thick…. “thick & shaggy” not “thin & pitiful” as Suzy stated, but it’s not labelled like that – lol! So it’s hard to know if I got the right thing.

        A close-up photo of the correct tinsel style would be helpful. Silver, right? Anyway I got silver.

        Been playing around with color and selecting out the balls that complement one another — and I find half of my ornaments will be rejected (will use for second wreath w/ different color palette) so now I really need even more ornaments. Just a warning…. you will reject a bunch so you really do need a LOT!

        • says

          Yes, you will need a LOT of ornaments. You should see my xmas craft space. I spend SO much time dry fitting the ornaments to get the right look.
          Glue gun, cord OK. Never tried a cordless.
          Work on top of a broken down box or an old plastic tablecloth. This is messy work.

    • June Cahill says

      I always say these wreaths are like ‘a puzzle that has not yet been put together yet’…you will need ALL different shapes and sizes – and about the little ‘hangers’ at the top – I try to hide them by tucking them in, but, sometimes it’s aesthetically better to just let them show. You can always use the tiniest of bulbs to cover them up and fill in the ‘gaps.’

  14. Lisa Compo says

    We stopped in Target yesterday to look for some vintage look alike ornaments. I bought a few boxes and our Christmas tree this year will be all retro look–I can’t wait. :) I can’t believe I am doing this because I have an extreme dislike (h***) of glitter, but I couldn’t put the boxes down with the little glitter bands on the shiny balls. I am a changed woman. They also have a CD of Christmas songs by the Rat Pack..had to have that!

    We found a decent selection of ornaments if someone wants to make a wreath but doesn’t have the heart to use your real vintage stuff. Also, for the uncrafty people or afraid of breakage issues they are selling wreaths similar to these in a medium size of plastic turquoise, clear and cream ornaments for $20. That being said…they are nothing of the quality and art being seen on here, but if you are desperate for one and can’t afford the ornaments theirs was cute enough to get by.

    Oh..and the wrapping paper is to die for. I could have bought about $200 worth just to look at.

  15. Carissa says

    I was so inspired by the original contest photo that I went crazy buying vintage ornaments anywhere I would scoop them up; I was at the 2 Goodwill stores closest to my home a few times a week and found some GREAT ornaments on the cheap!!! I just made my first wreath and now I’m working on others to give as gifts. This is so fun, I wish I could share pictures!!!! :)

  16. Diane in CO says

    Ohhh-K!!
    Dozens and dozens of vintage ornaments of various sizes and shapes – check! Weebits to fill in – check! Sturdy green wreath form via Michael’s – check! Wire for hanger – check! Thick luxurious tinsel garland – check! Surebonder glue gun ordered – check! Pool table cleared and covered with plastic pad – check! Cocktails at the ready – check!
    Whew!! Total cost: (you don’t want to know, hehe) I used to think Giorgia’s Peachez’ wreaths were pricey — and now I wonder why I just didn’t order one of hers!! LOL!

    Do have two critical questions, PAM.
    1. Could you indicate the diameters of the ornies you used for the outer ring? Did you use any that were 3″ across? I have only 3 that large; the bulk of mine for outer ring being 2.5″ – 2.75 inches across. Are those large enough?
    2. Did you apply the hot glue to the garland or directly to the ornament? Or both?
    Thanks!

    • pam kueber says

      1. I have been preparing for my next wave of wreaths. The ones I am using for the outside are 2.5. I also have very very few that are larger than that.
      2. I only applied to the ornie. I double dabbed, though: Once where the ornie would hit the garland-covered foam core and another spot where it would attach to the adjacent ornie. I guess you could even triple-dab onto the ornie “behind” as well. I may do this next time.

      Hope that helps.

      Agreed: Once you start vintage ornie hoarding, you quickly see how expensive it can get.

      Tip: I just came back from Target, golly, they have some really nice looking vintage-style ornies, including medium-smalls with flocked words on them. They are not cheap — $8 for 9 ornies — but, maybe they will go on sale Black Friday (if you can handle the hoards). For sure, I will likely be on top of the sales as Christmas approaches. Story on these ornies to come. For plains: I found 15 for $4 (on sale from $5) at Big Lots. I still need to test my distressing of them. All that said, my key goal still is to do vintage — and this summer, to really focus on estate sales etc.

      • Diane in CO says

        Thanks for helpful reply, Pam! Yes, my problem is I didn’t want to use any of my “regular hoard” of vintage ornaments – that go on my tree. Had to “start over” gathering ornies for a wreath. Teeny-tiny ones must be a thing from back East and in the South ‘cuz they sure as heck aren’t prevalent in my neck of the woods. Also, never have seen a knee-hugging elf out here (and I’m a frequenter of antique malls/shops etc.) But I have other tsotchkes……

        The Target ornaments sound interesting — but like you I’m intent on using mostly all vintage for my first wreath. I did get some lovely tiny silver balls with white icicle flocking at the top at Big Lots to fill in if needed.

  17. Mary Elizabeth says

    Wow! Seeing Andrea and Lenny’s beautiful faces framed by the wreath gives me an idea for an offshoot project. Why not take a small foam wreath and cover it with the tiny vintage ornaments (and maybe Christmas-y buttons) to make a stunning picture frame for you favorite Christmas photo?

  18. Brenda Reamy says

    Hi everyone. Was it on this site that I saw a little Christmas tree decorated with vintage costume jewelry? I can’t remember where I saw it! Ugh…

  19. Amy in Sacramento, CA says

    I just finished a marathon session with my 10 yo daughter where we assembled 5 wreaths as gifts. Then…I read the instructions here and realized a huge error on our part — we used low-temp glue guns/glue sticks. (I worried high heat would crack the glass ornies.) Then it hit me why two of my first efforts a year ago came out of the attic in pieces — the low temp glue was “re-heated” by the summer heat in the attic. :(
    What to do now? (Advise recipients to store in the house only?)

  20. Lee Nora Regus says

    Wow great instructions! I made two last year after seeing Georgia Peachez on cover of Romantic Homes. Would have
    loved a tutorial but did the best I could! My husband and son chimed in with helpful suggestions as I was starting out. I bought new ornaments in my color scheme for the inner and outer rings; then used the vintage ones where it really counted. Wish they were all vintage but cost and time was an issue. Love them so much and all my sisters want to have a class now! Thank you for your detailed instructions, will help immensely! Would send pic’s if I knew how! Thanks again!

  21. Tammy says

    I was looking for ideas of how to use old and vintage ornaments that are in those popcorn tins from many moons ago and new ones too.
    Well, I found you on Pinterest and boy was I excited. The tutorial is very detailed and you included ideas from your experiences. I also got the idea from you to have a wreath making party with a few of my friends. Also, I have several of the restaurant “toys” that I may use to let our kids have their own party.
    Anyway, thanks so much. Going try to make them this season. Looking forward to your creations.

  22. says

    Read the tutorial and comments ….. and I have a question about the size of the tinsel. 3 inches in length? And I have the crazy idea to try the mock up with new ornies so might try gold tinsel in place of the silver tinsel on a purple, red and gold scheme.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Alice, this is Pam with a broken arm on Siri. I personally do not recommend the giant Normas stencil. You’d use the old-fashioned shorter tensile like we used to have in the way back Time Machine days. Also, use the search or you may see it in the right-hand column of this post., But I did a full story on using new ornaments and where to get them etc. that also worked really well for me. Be sure to see the story I think you will enjoy it good luck start taking pictures want to see him come Christmas time

  23. Brenda says

    All of the wreaths featured are soooooooooooooooooooooo beautiful! All of you are sooooooooooooooooooooo talented! Thanks for sharing. You have inspired me to go and look for as many retro and vintage ornaments I can find! Great job everyone!

  24. Brie says

    I’d LOVE to put all my cute vintage ornaments on a wreath but i’m deathly afraid of it falling off my door! :O I made one out of crappy ornaments from Target and that one fell and I felt bad then.

    • Scott says

      If I made one of these, especially one using vintage ornaments, I don’t think I could bear to expose it to the elements. Besides actual breakage from falling down, I think sun and moisture exposure would hasten dulling, tarnishing, and fading. Besides, these things are way too much fun to look out to be outside, I say put ‘em indoors where you can look at them all the time. :-)

  25. April Maria says

    Wow!! You all are awesome. Thank you so much for the step by step video, step by step instructions and materials list. I’ve been wanting to make this wreath for awhile now and finally this year searched out on how to do it when I came across your wonderful site.

    Thanks again
    from an over 50’s Retro Gal

  26. Scott says

    Never wielded a hot glue gun in my life but this is getting to be an overwhelming temptation. I couldn’t do it with vintage pieces but this would give me an excuse to buy some new ones and I’ve seen some surprisingly fun stuff out there so far this year.

  27. Vicki says

    OMG, what a great idea. I am looking forward to shopping at garage and rummage sales for vintage ornaments. What a great decorative wreath, always looking for great homemade Christmas decorations. Loved the tutorial. Very informative. Happy crafting!!

  28. Teresa says

    I made a wreath and I’m pretty proud of it! Not sure how to post a pic but maybe I can do it via FB. My suggestions are 1. Just gather your stuff and do it and 2. Know when to quit.

      • Teresa says

        Ok, now I have completed four and am making two more. Yikes, I hoped to have my dining room table cleared by now. My uploaded pic looks all elongated, should I try something different?

  29. David says

    Pam, you bought a glue gun (last year?) that you hoped would work well and intended to let us know if it did. Please, what did you think of that gun? (I would like to buy a gun–a GLUE gun, that is!–and I am hoping for good advice from smart, knowledgeable folks like you!

    Thanks!!

    David

  30. Amy in Sacramento says

    Wreath base tip: I used those balsa-wood looking vine wreaths from the dollar store. They hold up better and are much cheaper than the styrofoam forms. I cover them with the garland, like instructed, and proceed from there…

  31. Michelle says

    I just wanted to add what iocd discovered and learned along the way, I made an enormous multicolor one last year, quite a few had become loose and a few fell off in the wreath bag. The ones I made this year are much more sturdy, because I started using more glue, if blobs show I just cover them with tinies, I also like the vintage caps showing, about 30% of mine are visible. Only a full size high heat glue gun will do, mine is the surebonder that has a hearing stand so it goes cordless. Done be afraid of using vintage ornies, I enjoy mine much more by being able to see them, and I didn’t use the ones I use on my tree, I bought new old ones. Amazon has the wide tinsel in many colors. I did red and blue along with silver and gold. I made 14″ and 12″ and prefer the 12″ now for gifts and my first time selling wreaths, once they are built up, they are quite large!

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, I am not thrifty with the glue. Once everything is in place, I may also double glue it for stability and sturdiness.

      Yes, if you’re gifting a lot, you might go to 12″ wreath form — also because it requires 20% fewer ornaments.

      And yes, showing the caps vs. not is a personal, aesthetic choice.

  32. Jamie says

    On the first day of crafting
    My glue gun gave to me
    One big **-** **-** burn!

    (Asterisks by me — but my language could have used some serious censorship when the glue got on both hands. I finally found the ornie I flung in my pain — it was stuck to a cabinet drawer. That glue sticks…)

    My wreath is a work in progress. Using cheap-o 99 cent store plastic ornies because I am putting this on a covered porch (hey, it’s California). And discovering all the ways I goofed and could have made it much prettier (knowledge I will put to use on my next one using glass ornaments).

    Happy crafting, everyone!

    • Michelle says

      I’m sorry you got burned Jamie, but I laughed out loud because I made six this year and the exact same thing, ornament flying out of my hand and swears flying out of my mouth! Hot glue burns hurt so much, many blisters this year!

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