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
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?
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