Colorful, bold holiday decorations can be made with basic, affordable supplies.
Candice Martin showed the Town and Country Garden Club how to make wreaths, Christmas trees and other holiday decorations. Audrey Tatum hosted the demonstration Monday in her Collinsville home.
It all starts with some type of wire form or base that is covered. Then the item can be decorated with ribbon, ornaments, sparkles — the possibilities are endless.
Martin covers her forms with Deco Polymesh, a lightweight open box-weave plastic fabric found at craft stores. Rolls generally are 21 inches wide and 10 yards long. Each roll costs between $7 and $12. One roll can make two big wreaths or three small ones.
The same designs can be made using tulle, wide ribbon or light-weight cloth instead of Polymesh. Martin prefers the Polymesh because “it lasts longer” and is weatherproof, she said.
The wreath base doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. In fact, Martin often starts with skimpy wreaths she picks up for $1 each. They serve as the base for her arrangements.
Two wreaths of slightly different sizes can be attached to each other to create a double foundation, she said. The wire branches or stems of one wreath are bent (like a bread tie or twister) over to hold the other. The wreaths can be flat or staggered.
“It doesn’t look like much,” she said, holding up a bare double wreath. However, once it’s filled in with adornments, you’d never guess how it began.
Martin unrolls Polymesh and rolls each edge loosely inward, so the sides almost meet in the middle. She sticks the tail end through the wreath so it’s hidden in the back and twists two of the evergreen stems around it to secure it.
She poofs up the mesh, brings it back to the wreath form and attaches it again. Continuing to roll in the ends loosely, she attaches it in even spells around the circular form.
The same concept is applied to other base forms. A 3-D Christmas tree starts with a tomato cage turned upside down. Four wire “evergreen” garlands are wrapped and wound up it. The stems of the garland are twisted around the Polymesh to hold it in place. A flat Christmas tree (for hanging on a wall) is made of an unopened wreath display stand.
Christmas lights can be put on them, she said.
You don’t have to wind one long piece of Polymesh. You could create a wreath of cut pieces. To do so, roll a piece of Polymesh twice around a cardboard tube (such as the one on which the Polymesh is wound). Cut along the width. Then remove the roll from the Polymesh and cut into three equal pieces.
Martin gave this rule of thumb for design: “Camouflage it if you don’t like it. Accentuate it if you do.”
Martin is a human resources officer for a trucking company. In her spare time, she likes to make floral arrangements or “anything decorative,” she said.
To pursue her interest, she got a degree in interior design from a correspondence school. Her daughter, Meggan Martin, a local optician, helps her with arrangements. Her son is Ross Martin, a senior at Magna Vista High School.
Though the correspondence school taught her basic concepts, she had to learn much of floral arranging on her own. That came about from necessity, she said: Making arrangements was the way to get things she wanted but could not afford.
“The options are endless when you think outside the box,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to try it.”