Make Wreaths for Gifts and Holiday Cash

Use cuttings from evergreen trees to make wreaths for your family, friends and to sell for holiday cash.


| November/December 1975



Pine Wreath

Use cuttings from evergreen trees to make wreaths for your family, friends and to sell for extra holiday moolah.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/MARILYN BARBONE

Up here in Maine, winter sets in early and we've all had a busy time getting ready for it. Everywhere wood has been cut and stacked, hay stored, and vegetables and jams canned in anticipation of our long cold days to come. Now, along about the beginning of November, we start to spend more time indoors beside the old wood stove . . . and wouldn't it be nice if we could turn those warm hours into cash for the coming holidays? Well, we can . . . and if your area is blessed with fir trees, you can too!

There's a huge seasonal market in this country for holiday wreaths, and it takes only a little effort to cash in on that demand. What better occupation than to sit by a warm fire and breathe the fragrance of balsam fir, while you shape the trees' boughs into beautiful ornaments which will hang in windows and doorways far and wide come December?

Make Wreaths From Local Trees

The first ingredient in your new occupation is access to suitable trees. Here in the Northeast, balsam fir — the ideal material — is quite common and can be recognized by its smooth, even cones and by the bluish-white line on the underside of each needle. Other parts of the country boast different species of fir: white, red, silver, grand, and Douglas. I don't know much about these, except that they're cut as Christmas trees and so most likely could be used for making wreaths too. Your local forester or nursery should be able to give you all the facts you need about the resources of your area's woods.

Fir Tree Tipping

Once you know that firs of one kind or another thrive in your parts, your next step is to go on a "tipping" expedition to gather boughs. This is just as much fun as "making" and gives the whole family a chance to get involved in the project, even if they're not much interested in the actual construction process.

Bough collecting calls for a good pair of garden snippers, a ball of string, and a whole batch of carrying sticks. (I use alder or maple branches, about 6 feet long and an inch in diameter, cut in a sort of "Y" shape.) Then it's off to the woods to find a good stand of trees . . . and when you've done so, you simply snip off the ends of branches — "tips" — in lengths of about 15 to 18 inches and hook them over your stick, beginning in the crook of the "Y". Keep stacking on the greenery until the holder is full (but not too heavy to carry). Then tie the string tightly from one end of the "Y" to the other, and you have a neat two-handled carrier full of fir tips. The loaded sticks are easily toted out of the woods, a pair at a time, between two people.

A couple of hints: Don't cut the tips too soon before you need them, or the needles will dry up and fall off after the wreath is made. And, more important, please don't strip the fir grove bare! Unless you're going to be clearing the land where you gather materials, be selective and kind to the trees. Think of the process as pruning . . . because that's what it is. A well-trimmed evergreen will actually grow fuller and thicker and will be ready for more tipping in years to come.

kayehm
6/21/2016 10:42:31 AM

Hand-crafted Christmas decorations using fresh evergreens is always a great idea - not only to make some extra cash on the side, but craft floral evergreens make for great gift-giving ideas too! You don't have to find and trim yourself either, if you're not the crafty type. There are wonderful providers of quality wholesale Christmas wreaths and garlands that you can purchase and resell, like Oregon Evergreen & Willamette Evergreen in the Pacific Northwest (check them out here - http://www.willametteevergreen.com/wholesale-floral-evergreens-wreaths-garland-etc ) and they ship everywhere, which is great if you live in a warmer climate that doesn't naturally grow these beautiful greens.


sandys
12/23/2015 8:36:26 AM

I love to make grapevine wreaths! It grows EVERYWHERE and it's quite comical when you see me pulling 10ft. lengths of it out of trees and off of fences! That stuff fights back! I've also made arbors, window "valences", and archways above doors. Have never tried to sell any of my "creations", but I just might try now.


samnjoeysgrama
12/9/2015 9:31:32 AM

I only plan to make them for friends and family. I live in Colorado on 100 acres with enough fir trees to supply most of the state, I think. Although it takes planning 11 months ahead, I have asked my daughter and my daughter-in-law who both live in large suburbs, to ask their friends and neighbors for their old wreaths this year. I visit both around Christmas and people are more than happy to recycle the wreaths. So I should have plenty of wire frames next year, and the Christmas tree recycling trucks can't take them because of the metal or plastic frames. We'll see how it works out. Great article, Thanks.


elaineb
12/11/2013 11:15:09 AM

Please, do not just go out in the woods and cut tips off of trees. If they're not on your property, ask permission first, and don't take too much from any one tree. This is a serious problem in rural areas where people are poaching the tips off of trees to the extent that they are damaging and sometimes killing trees that belong to someone else.


barbaral
12/11/2013 8:38:27 AM

Hi, we don't have much fir here in FL but I do make wreaths out of long strands of confederate jasmine vine. It dries well for later and looks pretty brown, or can be spray painted white or red for valentines day, and gold as well. I twine it around itself often using no wire form. This article could have been much clearer with a few pix, not easy to follow how to transport on a Y shaped branch, or how to wire and lay the pieces. Thanx though, it gave me a chance to share this idea.






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