Are the ornaments on your ornament wreaths coming loose?

vintage-christmas-ornament-wreatch-1-2I finally pulled out my high-heat glue gun to make a fresh batch of vintage Christmas ornament wreaths. But first, I am giving some away that I made in past seasons. Above: That’s the wreath I made in 2013 using all-new ornaments from places like Michaels, Target and K-Mart. However, as I pulled it out of storage, I found quite a few loose ornaments. So, I pulled off some of those loose ornaments and reworked some spots to give the wreath — one of my earliest ever — more pizzazz.

Photo viewing tip: On any story, on a desktop computer screen, you should be able to click the photo and it will enlarge up to 1,000 pixels wide so you cn view the details better.

Are your ornaments coming loose or falling off?

For the past three years, when the holidays are over, I have been storing some wreaths in my attic. I live in Massachusetts. In the winter my attic is super cold. And in the summer, it gets blistering hot. This year, I began noticing loose ornaments. I am not a scientist, but I think the issue is that the heat and cold extremes are causing expansion and contraction of the high-heat hot glue. I also store wreaths in my basement, which has minimal temperature variation, but I have not yet checked those wreaths this year.

In any case, since I made the wreaths and own a high-heat glue gun, the problem is easy to solve — and for me, this even presents an opportunity to improve some of my earlier creations, which showed less artistry. My process is pretty straightforward: Before I take the wreaths out of their boxes, I carefully check for loose ornaments and then, after carefully lifting the wreath and putting it on a covered surface, I reglue any loose ornaments sturdily in place. I am not stingy with the glue. Also — as I’ve described above — this is a good time to make changes if you want. As shown on this wreath, because the ornaments were loose in some places, I was able to easily pull some off so that I would rework the areas.

christmas-ornament-wreath-1-500x502Above, BEFORE: Originally, I made this wreath made with all-new ornaments — but no weebits. I was basically practicing making wreaths without having to put my vintage ornaments at risk. So, as I recall, I didn’t worry about weebit areas. Overall, I think this is a great way to get started if you want to become skilled at making ornament wreaths: That is, start with new ornaments so as not to mess up with the precious vintage ones. I personally find the art form a challenging one — I definitely have become better with three years of go-very-slow-before-you-glue practice. I think I’ve now made about 10 wreath and no question, the last several have been far superior to my initial creations.

Note: To get good light for this photo I hung this wreath on my front door facing the sun. It is not, recommended, however, to hang these wreaths outdoors.

Above, AFTER: I pulled out loose ornaments in several places to make way for adding weebits. To me, the weebits make a huge difference in giving these wreaths appeal. I try to spread them around to give the wreath dynamic appeal… motion. And I have this OCD — okay, I’ll be more gentle on myself and call it this “challenge to myself” — not to repeat any weebits made of the same materials. That is: only one porcelain figure, one wood figure, one flower, etc. But golly, my OCD is not pathological: Can you see I have two woodsies in this one? I also like having weebit groupings in odd numbers. This wreath has five. Can you find them all? Odd-number groupings also create visual dynamism. I read this is because we are biologically tuned to visually make pairs. Having an odd item out piques our interest.

This wreath is going to my friend Molly.

  • See all of our wreath-making tutorials here. We have our epic, basic vintage-ornament wreath tutorial… one using new ornaments… an “E-Z wreath” idea… a wreath made of vintage corsages… and more.

  1. Lyndasewsalot says:

    I am so grateful for your site that inspires , encourages , and supports, “crazy in a good way”. I have learned so much from you and Kate. I am now addicted to estate sales. Last Thursday I made a purchase that made me feel that I won the retro lottery. I got a boomerang shaped sofa. Which made me so happy. When I got it Home and did some research , I found out that I bought a Dunbar Janus sofa. Complete with all of the cushions. I paid $ 200.00 American dollars!!!!! I’m still having heart palpitations , because after researching I found that it’s worth between 9,000. And 16,000. Smakaroos. I would have walked right past it a few years ago. But now I have the knowledge to spot this great stuff. Thanks.

  2. Lyndasewsot says:

    Pam , you are a retro lovin goddess! ( I was going to say retro goddess, but thought it made you sound old!) lol

  3. Amy says:

    I. can’t. stop. Making ornament wreaths, that is. My most recent has sequin figures on spikey-to-downright-thorny clear plastic snowflakes (from India maybe?) and some funky round red glitter/plastic things that have the figures of the nativity. If it sounds dreadful, it’s not — it’s my new favorite.

    My other keeper is one I made last year with lots of bright pink ornaments and put some of my own old ornaments (like a popsicle stick sled that my grandmother made forty years ago).

    Thank you again for introducing us, your faithful readers, to the joys of making vintage ornament wreaths.

  4. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I make less ornament-dense wreaths with wire-based artificial green wreaths. I tie down all my ornaments to with florist’s wire. One advantage is that although they go in the attic (in Connecticut) all summer, nothing falls off them. Another is that this year I added two of my family’s ornaments from the 1920s to the wreath in my dining room. I can take them off at the end of the season and wrap them up and store them safely.

  5. Karin says:

    Well done! I like both your wreaths, but the one in the second picture won me over with its quirky charms. That puckish elf face peeking out is adorable. I managed to find an elf among my late mum’s stash of ornaments. It immediately went into my own wreath. Making the wreath was a great way to honor my parents. I agree that one can get better and faster at making them. My first effort was rather(?!) wobbly and stuff fell off too. After my second (somewhat stabler) wreath, I have new respect for the skills of all the posters. Oh No! Suddenly, I feel the urge to attempt another wreath. Great post, thanks!

  6. June Cahill says:

    Yep – the high/low temps are having ‘expanding/contracting’ effect on the glue. I advise storing up in a closet (in the house) or maybe under the bed. I’ve had my wreaths for at least 3 years now, and no loose ornies! Merry Xmas!

  7. Lynne says:

    Pam, that wreath is absolutely GORGEOUS. Molly is going to faint when she get it!

    Did you do a story on that estate sale vintage ornament sale? Did I miss it?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Lynne, Thank you. I took the photo late last night. I need to retake it and change it out today. I am working on picking the ornament wreath winner right now.

      I don’t do stories on the estate sales I go to very much any more… I was just at one yesterday (which is why I didn’t get to the wreath winner picking)!

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