Have yourself a cheaper little Christmas… I made a wreath!!

I’ll keep this one short and sweet: I read an article in one of the free London papers the other day about the best Christmas wreaths on the market, pored through it, wondered if we should get one, and quite liked the look of the brightly coloured pom-pom one….and then got home to a world of toddlers needing dinner and baths and bedtime and all thoughts of shopping for wreaths went out of the window. Life is like that, with small children, and many good intentions or passing thoughts just -vanish- (!!) …

And then, boringly rummaging around the house for some paperwork today, I came across a box of material I’d brought back from Tanzania in January, sitting quietly in a corner of the house, waiting for a purpose that would befit how special it was. (oh dear. This isn’t turning out to be that brief after all…)

Some of you might already know that back in my errant youth, I was once a Girls Brigade leader and a Sunday School teacher, so somewhere deep inside I have a slight arty crafty bent. And have made the odd Christmas wreath, you know. I dug into my wholesome crafty 17 year old self……and promptly made this:


…and decided that I couldn’t exactly hang it on the door – it’s a bit too, well, duct-tapey to invoke any sort of festive cheer…

And so, I cut lots and lots of strips of coloured material, tied them around it, added some tiny little baubles, and ended up with this:


And voila. A wreath. Not very succinctly explained, but I hope you get the gist of it. Better instructions below:

Get a bit of cardboard. Draw around a dinner plate to make a large circle. Cut it out with a small sharp knife (scissors will just infuriate you!!) You should now have a large cardboard circle to play with.

Take a side plate. Plonk it in the middle of your large cardboard circle and draw around it. Cut that out too. You should now have a large cardboard O shape. Duct tape the shit out of it, to pad it out and make it a bit more waterproof, and a bit less bendy. It should now resemble the first pic.

Cut strips of material, about 15cm long each and as wide or as skinny as you want them. Tie them individually around the cardboard/duct-taped O shape until it’s either full or you get bored.

Take your mini baubles (or other small charms – I have a small pot beside my bed of ‘bits’ like old pendants and broken junk jewellery that would have been perfect if only I’d remembered they were there…) and thread through skinny strips of material, and tie on at random around it to decorate.

Add a bow. Hang it up. Stand back and congratulate yourself on your creativity, frugality, and slightly bonkers wreath.

Merry Christmas!

Jack Monroe.

Twitter & Instagram: @MxJackMonroe


  1. great stuff. laughed cos i’m sure valerie singleton would not have said ductape the shit – but love it!!

  2. Love it Jack …that’s fab & sooo creative…not to mention how many pennies the posh one would have cost you and you wouldn’t get that lovely warm buzz of achievement that making things from scraps gives you!….wow you must have been a fun Sunday School Teacher!…have a lovely Christmas…so pleased that you will have a special family one now that the dark days are behind you xx

  3. That looks so good!
    I will be pinching that idea for a Woodcraft Folk (hippy version of Scouts and Brownies) activity next Xmas.

  4. Love it! My idea this year was buying some tinsel-ey 99p wreaths and jazzing them up with foraged conifer branches, holly and pinecones. If your kids are old enough to forage and work with plants and wire scraps it could be something fun to do together, too!

  5. I think it’s a beautiful wreath, it’s bespoke, unique, handcrafted and a fab way to use up all those pretty bits and bobs that people like me hoard because one day you will create something fabulous with them! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Oh, it’s lovely, Jack. Right up my street. You could do an indoors one and attach sweeties or small gifts for an advent thingy (not this year, admittedly, not now!) or a mini version would make a lovely card for someone special.

    Now I’m wishing we broke up yesterday, not next Friday, so I had time to make one!!!

    J x

  7. Hi Jack
    If you want to pad it out and save some of your tape why not use some scrunched up newspaper made into a ring and then go over that. then as you say Jack ‘ Duct tape the shit out of it’ also I found this link on yout tube for decoration ideas that cost diddly! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKG-5pF9Q6w. there are lots of other links that spin off from this one. Happy crafting.

  8. i also made my own wreath this Christmas. I took holly and ivy and twisted it into a wreath, using ribbons and some florists wire – although paper clip wire and bag ties work just as well. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to have a Christmas wreath *whatever* materials you use. It’s also possible to twist tinsel into a wreath,

  9. Far more interesting than the average identikit wreath – makes you twice and then some. Hope you don’t end up with crowds of gawpers at your front door trying to work out how you did it, then having a feel … better nail it on!

  10. Jenkins pointed the finger at ‘the poor can’t cook’ and showed herself up to how far away from the truth she really is!….She disgraced herself by making such a blanket statement and showing herself up for her LACK OF KNOWLEDGE of peoples lives OUTSIDE of her comfort zone! IGNORANT and SELFISH!

  11. Just found this email in my inbox and straight away forwarded it on to Family and Friends….love the thrifty idea and how personal the wreath can be, in choice of colour and materials used. Great idea Jack. Thank you.

  12. I don’t know how old/obvious this one is, but …

    If one’s lucky enough to be given a box or tin of Quality Street sweets this Christmas, smooth out and keep the foils and wrappers, and store them in the box/tin when emptied. The metal foils are good for collage, and the cellophane wrappers make great ‘glass’ for stained glass windows effect card cut-outs. Hang those over real windows for the colours to show.

  13. I spent the afternoon at a community garden with sacks of long stems of assorted ivy, teaching a stream of enthusiastic strangers how to twine ivy around itself until it forms a decently solid, leafy and attractive wreath. Each one then proudly took their wreath home to decorate with ribbon, spare tree ornaments, baubles (or whatever) and hang on their own front door – complete with instructions on how to wire it to a hook so as to frustrate would-be thieving attempts to remove it.

    Total cost to the participants – zero. Some local gardeners pruned their shaggy ivy (or, in some cases, had theirs pruned free), with the cut pieces going to a good cause rather than being wasted or composted by the Council.

    When the leaves eventually dry up and fall off – which takes months, in my experience, if the wreath is fixed outdoors where rain and snow help keep the ivy fresh – you end up with a strong framework of twined ivy stems which can be decorated again with fresh greenery and/or anything else you fancy. A potentially everlasting wreath for nothing – bargain!

  14. Now feel an idiot that I forked out a fiver in Tesco especially as I have loads of stuff I could have used and I have got some ivy in the garden that could have been incorporated – well hopefully there is always next year!

  15. Love it! My lounge wall is currently sporting a wreath made from old curtains, similar method. Every year I stick lollipops in it (not quite as healthy as baubles!)

  16. Oh, I’m laughing my ass off – duct tape the shit out of it! Fab idea and thanks for writing in such a way that I feel I can do these things. And Merry Christmas to you and yours.xx

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