I'm a bit obsessed with mistletoe as a holiday design element, ironic since I've never even seen the real thing (how sad is that?!). But for the last year I've had a bag of velvet and felted balls sitting in a drawer, patiently awaiting transformation into a mistletoe garland. At the last minute I decided to make a small wreath instead, something that could work in multiple places and something timeless enough that I could bring it out year after year.
This is one of those projects that take more than a couple of hours, but it's not difficult, just repetitive, and in the end, so satisfying. Make a single bunch, you have an ornament or a gift topper. Add a few more to that and you have a swag. Stretch that same swag out and you could have a ring for a pillar candle or an embellishment for candlesticks. Keep going and you have a wreath or maybe an embellishment for a cake stand. Double that and you have a garland (which would be so pretty - I already tested it out on my mantel). What you make is limited only by your tolerance for repetition (for which, I personally, have little patience).
Also, don't feel limited by my interpretation of this project. You could just as easily make it with paper leaves, printed fabric, or felt. I'd love to see it with white leaves and silver berries or white and red, or gray and white, or alternate the shades of green...you get the picture. Once you know how to make the bunches, the rest is up for grabs.
As for the embossed velvet, I was inspired by this rubber stamp from Yellow Owl Workshop which I purchased to make gift tags (and love, love, love!). The wreath idea came from this lovely photo, which just makes me happy when I look at it.
Need something to stand under this holiday season? Here's how to make your own:
(Instructions for a 9-inch wreath)
Materials: (See Sources for buying info)
- Two shades of green velvet (a fat quarter of each goes a long way)
- Lightweight double-sided fusible web or fusible adhesive
- Iron and ironing board
- Spray bottle with water
- Pinstripe rubber stamp
- Mistletoe petal templates
- Fabric scissors
- Silver metallic embroidery floss
- 1 centimeter white felted balls
- 32-gauge cloth wrapped floral wire for mistletoe bunches
- 20 to 22-gauge floral wire for wreath form (paddle wire - comes on a roll)
- Green self-adhesive floral tape
- Fast-drying gel adhesive (I prefer Fabri-Tac for this project)
Step 1: Cut a piece of the lighter colored velvet slightly larger than your rubber stamp; do the same with the fusible web. Position the fusible web, paper side up, onto the back side of the velvet; iron to fuse (don't remove the paper backing).
Preheat your iron on a high setting, mist the paper covered side of the velvet with water and using firm pressure, iron the fabric for 10-15 seconds. Continue misting and ironing until the paper is dry and you're just starting to see the impression of the stamp through it (essentially, you're burning the design into the fabric). Remove the velvet from the stamp and let the stamp cool for a few minutes before you use it again.
Step 3: Remove the paper backing from the lighter colored velvet and using medium heat, press the darker velvet onto the web, just enough to adhere it. Trim the edges of the velvet flush with the edges of the embossed design.
Place your mistletoe petal template onto the back side of the velvet, and holding it in place with your finger, cut around it to make a velvet petal. Repeat (you can get 8-10 petals from each piece of velvet if you use the same size stamp I did).
Tip: Slightly round the edges of your petals if you've made them too pointy.
Step 4: Cut a length of metallic floss (you can use something else, I just like the color of this particular floss) and separate into 3 sets of 2 strands each. Thread the first two strands onto a needle and knot the end and trim any excess. Run the threaded needle through a felt ball (not shown), so that the knot sits at the end. Snip the thread and repeat for as many balls as you need.
Tip: I don't like the look of loose strings, so I put a little dab of Fabri-Tac on my finger and run it up the length of the floss after cutting it from the needle. This holds the threads together, giving it a more polished look.
Step 5: To assemble a sprig, gather the number of balls you want and twist the 32-gauge wire around it so that it holds them together, but still allows for some movement (when you hang the wreath, it's nice for some of the berries to fall naturally, so it's not too stiff looking).
Step 6: Apply a little Fabri-Tac to the end of one of the petals and fold it around the floral wire with the berries, holding it in place for a few seconds. Repeat with the second petal and glue it just below the first.
Trim the excess metallic floss.
Make as many sprigs as you need, some with 3 berries, some with 2, and some with 1. (I used the larger petal template for the 2 and 3-berry sprigs and the smaller petal template for the single berries. In total, I made a combination of 17 large petaled sprigs and 10 smaller petaled sprigs.)
As you work, begin shaping the wire into a circle. This will assist you in determining proper placement and balance of mistletoe sprigs, as well as deciding when your wreath is the size you want.
When you're finished, trim the excess wire and overlap the ends, wrapping them with the 32-gauge floral wire to secure. If there are any exposed areas not hidden by mistletoe sprigs, you can cover the area with more floral tape.
You're done! At which point, you can move on to making ornaments (I'll be back with those after I make a few).
- Leaf Green and Apple Green Silk Velvet ($6.75 for a fat quarter) from Silk Fabric on Etsy
- I used Steam-A-Seam Sticky Back Fusible Web for this project, but I often use Heat n Bond Lite for these kinds of things as well. You can find them at craft stores such as Jo-Anns and Michaels, also online at Amazon. But be sure to buy lightweight. The heavier webs will make your petals too stiff.
- Pinstripe Background Stamp from Hero Arts
- DMC Silver metallic embroidery floss (E168) available at craft stores like Michaels and Jo-Ann
- 1CM felted wool balls (Winter White) from HandBEHG Felts on Etsy. You will need 53-60 balls for this project, so if you can't find a 60-ball pack, convo the owner to see if she'll do a special listing for you. Otherwise, the balls are sold in packs of 24 (you can always use the extras for ornaments).
- Floral wires and tape are generally available at most craft stores and multiple online sources.
- Fabri-Tac fabric glue is also generally available at stores like Michaels and Jo-Ann.