Last year my girlfriend and hairdresser, Eva, told me about a holiday wreath she had seen at Anthropologie that she had wanted to get, but ended up not purchasing. It was made out of white felt oak leaves with a little owl and a couple of felted acorns. Out of curiosity, I found photos of the wreath online and realized I could replicate it and told her so. The caveat? Since it was already past the holidays, I would have to wait until this holiday season to make it because one of the components, the owl, was no longer available in any of the stores. I knew I would have to wait until this fall to find any owls in the right size at any of the craft stores.
Well, about a month and a half ago, I finally found my owl at Beverly’s.
There was also a white owl available, and I would have purchased that one instead, but it was a tad smaller, and I thought this brown one was more appropriate in size, given the size of my wreath.
For the wreath, I used a 14-inch styrofoam form.
The oak leaves on the Anthropologie wreath were made out of a nice soft, woolly felt. The only felt I could find was the standard craft felt made from recycled plastic bottles. Not nearly as nice, but it would have to do. The leaves on the original wreath were a silvery white color, but I decided to use creamy white for my leaves, as I thought it would match up better with my brown owl. Plus, I love the warmth of the cream color, as opposed to the icy coolness of the stark white color of the Anthro one.
I found a photo of an oak leaf that I liked online and sized it to about 4.5 inches long, printed it out, and outlined it with a Sharpie, including the veins.
I cut out the leaf for my template and traced it onto a piece of vellum for sturdiness. I used the vellum leaf as my template for cutting out my felt leaves.
I pinned the template to the felt, and started cutting out the leaves one at a time. I initially cut out about 80 to 85 leaves, but ended up cutting an additional 50 leaves when I came up short while putting together the wreath.
In the Anthropologie wreath, the veins on the leaves appeared to be either drawn or printed on. I decided to use gold glitter glue to draw the veins for my leaves to give them a more festive look.
For the acorns, I had originally wanted to buy a couple of fake ones and use them. I found some styrofoam ones online that I thought were the right size.
My plan was to needle felt some wool roving onto the styrofoam to mimic the look of ones made entirely out of wool, so I went ahead and placed my order. When they arrived, I thought they were a tad bit too large, but thought they would still work, so I proceeded to needle felt one of them to try it out. I used white wool roving for the body of the acorn and heather brown wool for the cap. Well, the wool ended up increasing the size of the acorn so much, that it ended up being too large, given the scale of my owl.
So, having to go back to square one, I decided to create my own acorns entirely out of felt.
The photos I saw of the original wreath had two to three acorns. I decided to make three.
They turned out really nice, if I do say so myself! Much better than the ones on the original wreath, which looked a little flimsy and more like eggs than acorns.
I learned to needle felt in a class I had taken at Castle in the Air with Caron Dunn, and after I took the class, I didn’t think I would ever really needle felt anything ever again, as I wasn’t too crazy about it, although I did love what I made. But I must say, when I made these acorns, I found it kind of relaxing, poking the needle up and down into the wool roving. The quiet crackle of the needle going through the wool, and the mild resistance of the wool was strangely satisfying. The only thing is, I ended up breaking all three of my felting needles and had to go out and buy some more. I bought three additional ones, and by the time I finished my acorns, I had broken two more! And those needles are not cheap! Next time I needle felt anything, I will need to slow down a bit and work the needle carefully, so I don’t break any more. Also, I found I was less likely to break a needle if I held it directly in my hand, rather than using the protective housing many needle felters use to hold their needles in place.
To attach the acorns to the wreath, I decided to string them onto two pieces of string – two on one, and one on another. In order to do that, I needed to create a wire hanger for each acorn to feed the string through. I created my hanger by twisting a piece of 24-gauge gold wire to form a loop at the top.
I poked a deep hole into the top of each acorn and inserted the twisted wire.
Adding the wire was really tricky, given how densely packed the wool in my acorns were. The wire kept twisting up on me instead of staying straight, but I finally managed to get them all on.
I ended up adding a dab of hot glue to the wire to keep it in place.
I strung the acorns onto the pieces of string and tied them to the wreath so that they were dangling down.
Now it was time to glue all those leaves on! I started out by hot gluing the back of each leaf, about halfway down its length, starting with the stem end, and overlapped the leaves as I placed them onto my wreath form, making sure to orient the leaves in the same general direction as I went.
Initially the placement of the leaves didn’t look right to me, so I went back online and took a good long look at photos of the original to see how the leaves were placed. I realized I needed to place them in a more haphazard pattern to mix things up a bit to create the look of fullness. (That’s when I realized I needed to cut out more leaves.) As I glued on more and more leaves, the wreath started to really take shape. As I continued, I looked at it from all angles to make sure it looked right from all sides, front and back, top and bottom. I also made sure to cover up the styrofoam underneath with all the leaves.
To hang the wreath, I cut out a strip of felt and hot glued it to the top to form the loop.
Last, but not least, I glued on the owl, and the wreath was all complete!
I am really pleased with the way the wreath turned out! I would have preferred to place the acorns to the left of the owl, on the other side of where I ended up placing them. I kind of feel that would have made everything look more balanced. That had been my original plan, but as I was gluing on the leaves, I ended up liking one side of the wreath more than the other and ended up using what was originally the back for the front. (Sorry, but that’s the perfectionist in me; I always feel there is something to improve!) But I can’t really complain with how everything turned out :0)
The original Anthropologie wreath was over a hundred dollars. I made mine for less than $35 and had fun making it!
So, how did Eva like her wreath?
She actually had forgotten about the wreath and my plans to make her one, so it was a complete (and pleasant) surprise for her when I showed up to my appointment with wreath in hand. Those are the best kinds of surprises :0)
This turned out so well, that I just might make another one for another friend, but that will have to wait until next year, unfortunately, given how the feathered owls are no longer available. If you plan to make a similar wreath, make sure you grab your owl in the fall when craft stores carry them.
One holiday craft down, four more to go!
Have you started your holiday crafting, yet? What are you working on, or are planning to work on? Please share in the comments.