DIY Grapevine Wreaths

Learn about making your very own grapevine wreaths, from picking the proper vine for weaving to making it into an ornament for any season.

| November/December 1983

Add rustic splendor to your home year round!

Every year, my husband and I enjoy making wreaths of grapevines gathered from our own backyard arbor . . . to give as gifts, to sell, or just to keep for ourselves. These unique hang anywhere garlands are a cinch to create and can be either left in their natural state or spruced up with ribbon and dried flowers to suit almost any occasion. (I recently finished a small one, garnished with an ivory tinted bow and baby's breath, to give to a friend in celebration of the birth of her first child.) Furthermore, the woven rings are always a big hit at our church's annual Thanksgiving craft fair. In fact, we usually can make enough money from marketing them to cover most of our own holiday expenses. And the ones we don't sell make wonderful unique Christmas gifts!

Since grapes grow tame or wild backyards and thickets all across the U.S., there's probably a hefty supply of the raw materials practically at your doorstep, or at least within driving distance. So if you'd like to try your hand at twisting profits and presents out of those spindly cords, here are a few pointers to get you started.

Gathering Goods for Garlands

The main ingredient of a wreath is, of course, the vine itself, and the best time to forage for grapevines is during their dormant season . . . which in most places falls between September and April. And, if you don't have an arbor or access to a vine-draped woods, a friend or neighbor who grows grapes would doubtless be glad to exchange some vines for a little pruning assistance.

Once you've located a harvestable crop of vines, collecting them is a snap! Just use a sharp pair of shears to cut them, and then pull them free. If any dried leaves or fruit are still on the branches, try to remove them as you snatch the canes out . . . being careful to leave as many of the delicately curling tendrils as possible, since it's these tiny "locklets" that'll give your wreath its distinction.

Instead of trying to transport the sprawling mass home, a lot of folks turn the vines into wreaths right where they collect them. However, if you'd rather work in the comfort of your own yard, lay the vines on the ground in manageable bunches as you collect them. Then, when you're through pruning, loosely wrap each bundle — one at a time — around your forearm from your hand to your elbow . . .and tie the pieces together into a portable circle with twine, string, or light wire. This may your harvest lot easier to stack and haul.

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