I’ve been working on a number of DIY projects lately, and decided to share a seasonal ladybug wreath made for my sister-in-law (L).While celebrating Thanksgiving in Washington this past fall, L and her husband (M) surprised us with two pieces of exciting news.
In addition to a pending retirement, they had decided to downsize from a large home to a one-story house. The new home would still be near family and able to accommodate overnight visitors, but allow them to easily age in place.
With exceptionally nice fall weather, hubby and I were able to tour the model house, peruse color and finish selections, and see their lot. I just loved the floor plan and Northern Virginia community.
It planted a seed in the back of my mind too, and now I have a bit of a “bug” for a new house! We have lived in the same home we had built as newlyweds. And although we’ve done a lot of improvements and remodeling, it will never have an open, single story floor plan with high ceilings. But, we’ll stay right where we are, until the boys are married and settled somewhere.
Now that M and L have moved into their lovely new abode, let me share the ladybug wreath with bee skep I made for their front door.
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A Wreath Challenge
L outlined a few requests and needs for her new wreath:
- “Not too big”
- Coordinate with a “burgundy” door
- A wreath that could hang from spring through fall, or about nine months
- Include cherry blossoms if possible
- Include a bee as my “signature”
It was difficult to tell the color of the front door from a photo. Burgundy, maroon, wine, etc. are various shades and degrees of red. Plus the picture wasn’t of L’s actual door, but a model.
I also understand that downsizing for L meant not having too many decorations to store. Not everyone is as crazy as me! But, March through September covered two to three seasons. No matter what I tried, cherry blossoms turned it instantly into a spring wreath.
A Ladybug Wreath
So, we chatted over the phone and agreed on ladybugs to tie into the door color and bridge three seasons.
But How Do You Do It?
After posting, Bee Wreath and Skep Bee-autiful DIY Inspiration, Party Decorations, a number of ladies asked if I could share details on the techniques I use.
So for the ladybug wreath, I’ll break down the general steps. For greater detail, I recommend reading, DIY Trick or Treat Halloween Wreath and Bewitching DIY Halloween Wreath. You can easily apply those mesh wreath techniques to other holiday, season or special occasion design.
I spent a lot more time than usual searching for ribbon, embellishments and other supplies for the ladybug wreath.
- 16 inch wreath frame (Hobby Lobby)
- tan pipe cleaners (Michael’s)
- 12 inch tan & white mesh (Michael’s)
- 2 ladybug print, wired ribbons, both 2 1/2 inches wide (Craft Online)
- green wired ribbon 2 1/2 inches wide (Pat Catan’s)
- green & white stripe wired ribbon 2 1/2 inches wide (Pat Catan’s)
- 2 tan & white checkered print ribbon w/lace, 2 1/2 & 1 1/2 inches wide (Michael’s)
- jute ribbon (Michael’s)
- dark red silk geraniums (Pat Catan’s)
- 3 other silk florals in white & green (Michael’s)
- ladybug embellishment & bee skep (Pat Catan’s)
Mesh Wreath Base & Adding Ribbons
I don’t actually work on a wreath while it’s hanging on a door — it just makes for better pictures. Usually, I attach mesh and ribbons with the wreath frame on my lap, while watching TV.
In the picture below, you can see the two rounds of mesh already in place, and the beginning of adding ribbon.
Since L wanted a modest sized wreath, mesh is 12 inches wide, rather than the 20 inch I generally use.
Here’s an example using the larger width mesh on the same 16 inch frame. Can you see the difference in fullness?
“Pinch” points is where ribbon is attached by twisting pipe cleaners several times. I used two ribbons at each pinch point (rather than three) to keep the wreath from being overly large.
Because I planned to incorporate a large bow into the ladybug wreath, I left three pinch points without ribbon.
Jute Ribbon Adds Texture
This is the first time I’ve used jute ribbon, attaching it on the frame’s inner ring at pinch points. I alternated weaving and attaching as I went, creating four small “poofs.”
The jute ribbon adds an extra dimension and texture to the ladybug wreath. Do you like it?
Wreath Stand Serves as Work Easel
Since I wasn’t working from instructions, I improvised as I went along. That’s when I got the “brilliant” idea to use a wreath stand as a work easel. Here’s a picture on the stand — later in the wreath making process — when adding florals.
Before going further, I decided I’d better work the skep and bee into the center of the ladybug wreath.
I used the twine hanger to suspend the skep from the top of the wreath form, securing it with pipe cleaner. To keep the skep from swinging or banging around, I used two more pipe cleaners to attach it to the bottom. The black pole is part of the tabletop stand.
Creating a Large Bow
The bow is a dominate part of the wreath, so I attach it next. Having those elements in place, helped me to “eyeball” where to insert the flowers.
When you’re working on an asymmetric design, it can be challenging to have a balanced look. Rather than centering the large bow in this ladybug wreath, I attached it to the upper right.
For the four-ribbon bow, I found the video tutorial How to Make a Bow with Multiple Ribbons, by Julie of Southern Charms Wreaths, There are also step-by-step instructions and photos. The online tutorial was easy-to-follow, but difficult to implement.
Well difficult for me. My fingers lost their grip on the ribbons four to five times, requiring me to backtrack and redo. It was hard to hold the thick stack of ribbon in place, and twist pipe cleaner securely around the center.
After I finally managed that, I placed the ladybug ornament in the middle. The bow was attached using the pipe cleaners at two pinch points where no ribbon had been added. The wreath stand made it easier to work front-to-back.
Adding Florals and Greenery
Next, I added five silk geraniums with leaf pairs around the wreath. In floral design, my mother taught me to work in odd numbers.
I like how the red flowers tie-in with the ladybugs and popped against the neutrals.
This was the first time I incorporated flowers that weren’t already part of an easy-to-wrap garland. For the bee wreaths I used segments of a pliable sunflower garland, which is much easier.
Next, I added three other varieties of white and green flowers to the ladybug wreath at the remaining pinch points. Using the wreath stand helped with the tricky task of securing the florals.
It took some finger strength and dexterity to twist and wrap the floral stems around the wreath frame. Some of them required the additional step of wrapping stems in floral tape.
Final Go Over
Moving the stand to the kitchen island raised the ladybug wreath to the perspective of door-hanging height. It also allowed me to use a glue gun to further secure blossoms in place.
Finally, I went over the entire wreath looking for any gaps that needed an extra ribbon, leaf or flower. In most cases, I just needed to trim and shape ribbons. Fluff and puff!
Home Sweet Home Virginia
L sent me two quick photos of the ladybug wreath hanging on the front door of their beautiful new home.
She plans to use a different hanger so the wreath will not block the front door’s window.
When Two are Better Than One
My buddy Kem in Georgia loves wreaths, and has the French Bee, Bewitching, and Watering Can wreaths I created.
She asked if I could create another ladybug wreath for her. Since the ladybug ribbons purchased online came in 10 yard rolls, there was plenty left.
I used wide 20 inch mesh (shown earlier), different ribbons (other than the ladybugs), fewer florals, and no skep making the second wreath.
Because I know she has a black front door, I left the center open for more contrast. K’s ladybug wreath also has a cute red polka dot on white lace ribbon, and red and black gingham prints.
I found all three ribbons at Pat Catan’s when I returned for the ladybug ornament.
Can you tell the two ladybug wreaths apart when they are side-by-side?
Which is your favorite?
I regularly participate in: Metamorphous Monday, Turn About Tuesday, Centerpiece Wednesday, Whimsical Home Projects, In Link Party, Share Your Style, Tablescape Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Crafty Creators, Fabulous Friday, Saturday Sparks, Happiness is Homemade, and Love Your Creativity.
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I’m still so impressed with how talented you are. Both are beautiful but my vote is for the one on the right because I’m partial to gingham I guess. Thanx for sharing!
Thanks E! Someday, you’ll have to let me make a wreath for your house. Can’t wait to see you this weekend!
Debbee, that wreath is super, super cute. You’re right, it will transition through late summer/early fall perfectly.
I’m glad you think so Rita! At first I thought it was an impossible task, but not including the cherry blossoms helped a lot.
Both of the wreaths are really cute. I think you achieved your goal for the 3 seasons on the first one. How sweet of you to create that for your friend. I have always struggled with making bows- my hands get fatigued and I loose trip easily. I like both wreaths – favoring the gingham because it’s eye catching but really they are both wonderful!
I was not born with the bow-making talent gene! It’s a skill I admire in others. For me, it requires following instructions and a lot of patience! There’s something very down on the farm and old fashioned about gingham. Makes me think of summer picnics!
Debbee, the wreaths are lovely. I clicked on the link to see how she makes bows. That’s not how I make a bow with multiple ribbons. I make a layer, stacking the ribbons and make it as one and then pull them out like a bon bon. Much easier with Christmas ribbons.
Congratulations to your friends for not only making the ‘big move’ but getting a new wreath.
Do you have a video or blog link to a better how-to on multiple ribbon bows? How do you keep the stack intact? I sure could use a better way of keeping the ribbons in place.
No, you would make it like Christmas bow (bon bon shaped) but instead of one ribbon, you lay three ribbons together and start looping and twisting as if it was a single ribbon.,, then tie it off with a chenille stem.
Pull the loops out and fan them- one side is left right, turn bow around and the other is right left. To get a bow like you have just make less loops.
Thanks for the tip Myma! I’ll try it next time.
How adorable are these…I love lady bugs! I favor the gingham because I love red, white, and black together, but the other is very pretty as well. Your friend is very lucky indeed.
Ladybugs and queen bees! I’m torn between the two, but that’s OK because I don’t have to choose!
I love your lady bug wreath as much as your bee wreath. They are both my favorites. They are so adorably cute and would be a beautiful piece on anyone’s front door.
Thanks so much Marsha! I’m in a wreath making groove right now with watermelon/ant, sailboat, Uncle Sam, and Alice in Wonderland projects all underway.
Both wreaths a very pretty. I think I like the one with the black gingham just a smidge more.
I’ve discovered that everyone seems to like gingham, and black and white color combo. Classic I guess?
Gosh I love a good lady bug. Sweet!
Thanks Michele. This week I finished up two nautical, sailboat wreaths for my sister in Charleston and son in NYC. Have you ever made a coastal wreath for your font door?
I have a new way with your wreaths. It’s on the front door during the day, then I bring it in and put it on the kitchen door where I can see it in the evening. Otherwise I only get a drive by. Last before bed I put it back on the front door.
Sounds like a lot of moving around? After all, I want to see the wreath too.
My ladybugs are too charming for the UPS guy alone.
Really? Back and forth?! You always make me smile. Glad you are enjoying the wreath.
Both are gorgeous! My fav, the one with red and black gingham ribbon! Great job!!
Thanks so much Rennie! You seem to be in the majority, with everyone liking the gingham. I’ve got to find the time to make a third one — for me!
Hi Deebee! Theresa from Shoestring Elegance and the TFT party! Popping by to let you know I’m Featuring your adorable Wreath on this week’s Thursdays Favorite Things party over on my blog! Congratulations!
Wow Theresa that’s great — you’ve made my day! Thanks so much.
Very sweet wreaths Debbee. I love the ladybug theme, of course the bee theme is also darling! Thanks for sharing at Dishing It & Digging It. Congratulations, I am featuring your wreath this Sunday on Mother’s Day at DI&DI. Happy Mother’s Day.
Linda, what a wonderful Mother’s Day gift! Thanks so very much! I hope you have a wonderful day too.
Debbie, The wreath is beautiful! I’m the lucky girl who gets to hang on my door :-)!
Thank you so very much for all your hard work to make such a wonderful addition to our front door for us to welcome family & friends. We hope you come and visit us soon!
Love to you and B.
Can’t wait to visit and see the wreath on you door. Looking forward to you and M joining us in a few weeks to celebrate and party!
You are quite the wreath maker! this is so fun for summer! Thanks for sharing with the spring tea link party.
I appreciate the compliment — thanks.
Gorgeous!! You really have the touch and your bows are amazing. I’m going to click around and find patriotic inspiration. 🙂
Wow, thanks for the compliment Stacey. I only started blogging late October of last year, so no pins from last July 4th. Tomorrow I will be posting the first of two patriotic wreaths in honor of Memorial Day. I seem to always be playing catchup!
You make amazing wreaths.
Thanks so very much Carol, that’s a wonderful compliment to receive.
That is so cute! I love ladybugs and the colors in this wreath look amazing on the black door. Pinned.
The black door seems to be everyone’s favorite. Good thing, cause both versions of the ladybug wreaths are hanging on black doors in Virginia and Georgia!
Picked as one of my Summer Time Fun Party features! Thank again for sharing with us.
What a huge compliment! Thanks so much Joanne!
This style wreath is beautiful! I love the colors, florals, and the ribbon. I always look at these wreath, but have never made one like this. You inspire me with this adorable ladybug wreath. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday
Thanks Jenny! You’d have no problem crafting something similar. Not difficult for a maker like you.
It was interesting seeing your tutorial on how you constructed your beautiful wreath – ‘poofs’, ‘eyeballing’ and all!
Easy to follow along Allyson? I enjoy the creative process of creating wreaths; something I haven’t done much of this past year. For something totally different, I did make this Wine Cork Wreath DIY Tutorial as a housewarming gift for my son.
Debbee, I love how both ladybug wreaths turned out!! I guess I like the open wreath better but the bee skep speaks to me, too. After just posting a ladybug post this week, your post is a natural to feature as a “bookend” to this week’s Share Your Style #299.
Happy crafting!, and no, I can't make a really nice ribbon wreath to save my life! My mother worked for Filene's in Boston back in the 1950's and she made gorgeous ribbons for packages, and I've tried those ideas applied to wreaths. My wreath ribbons still turn out like the dog chewed on them, lol! 😉 (Speaking of that, how is little Whiskey doing? Hope he is behaving and not chewing up chair rungs!). Enjoy your lovely home and puppy walking.
Thanks so much for the feature! I never was good at making bows either Barb. Took wired ribbon and lots of practice!
To be honest, it’s been a bit of a challenge of late with Whiskey. Classes 3 days/wk was too much; especially with him getting car sick. Happily, that’s much improved — but I have to skip the meal before. That makes him cranky and ravenous for treats during class. Then, I hurt my hip/back by having to reach so low to the ground in a converted position with treats. After all those months couch bound from foot surgery, I’m back to sitting while it heals. That means Whiskey is also not getting as much exercise as a high energy terrier needs.
Debbee, I saw Southern Charm Wreaths make another kind of bow. She has videos online. Anxious to try her method, but I have to work with pipe cleaners. Some of them use so many little wires, it makes me nervous LOL.
She’s one talented lady and shares lots of creative and informative tips and tutorials on her blog. Like you, I prefer to use pipe cleaners for bows when possible. I don’t foresee any wreath projects coming up. When I do have one, I may give one of her alternative methods a try.