Today, I’m sharing a wine cork wreath made as a housewarming gift for my youngest son.
He presently rents a condo, located in one of Philadelphia’s historic districts. Originally housing horses and carriages the building is about 150 years old. Gutted years ago, D’s apartment features thick brick walls, high ceilings, five nine-foot tall windows, and hardwood floors.
But, during the pandemic, it’s gotten restrictive having to double-duty his one bedroom as an office space. There’s also no balcony for some fresh air. Plus, he’d really like to have his own outdoor space for a grill, plants and a dog. Add to that a low interest rate, fabulous row house located just blocks away, and he jumped at the chance to become a homeowner.
Because of the virus, we haven’t seen D since early March. I’m really looking forward to traveling across the state, to help with the move and set up his new place. Hubby is taking a bunch of tools. He and our son have a list of home improvement projects planned. I’ll be helping with packing, unpacking, set-up and less physically-intensive projects involving painting, decorating, plantings, and shopping — can’t wait!
So, I’m finally getting back to sharing some of the craft projects I’ve been working on. Most have been gifts that I’ve had to keep secret, as to not spoil the surprise.
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Finding Inspiration & Corks
Happy to join a Craft Blog Hop with 14 other talented bloggers this morning. If you are coming from Cecilia’s and her darling Easy Stenciled Wine Crate, welcome! We both picked projects with a wine theme.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of wine corks. How about you? I’ve used some in the past to make herb garden markers and a pair of large candle holders as presents for the boys. I toss corks into the pewter pitcher in the glass-fronted kitchen cabinet — until the overflows move to my craft stash.
But, the wine cork wreath required upwards of 200 corks. So, I put a request out to friends who were about to get together for the first time in months for an outdoor birthday lunch. MB gifted me a bag of about 100 corks. We all teased that was a lot of wine drinking, even for sheltering in place, lol!
I first saw a wine cork wreath created by Ann of The Apple Street Cottage. It provided instant inspiration as a great Christmas gift idea for my adult sons. Then I searched “wine cork wreath” on Pinterest and Etsy and discovered a variety of techniques and looks for ideas on crafting my own.
As usual, I borrowed from several different approaches to come up with my own method and style. Let me show you how I did it, along with some helpful tips.
Trial & Error
I’ve made many, many wreaths before — mesh, ribbon, grapevine, evergreen, even one in a watering can. But, I’ve never crafted one out of wine corks before.
First, let me start by saying I changed my method of attaching the corks to the wreath base midstream — three times!
From the get-go, I wanted to insert toothpicks into the corks and then into the foam wreath base. Believe me, it sounds much easier than it is! Pushing toothpicks into the corks by hand was difficult, with the toothpicks constantly breaking, or not going deep enough into the cork. Ouch!
One method I saw online was to hold the cork in one hand, while a toothpick was held by a clamp in the other. That supposedly made it easier to push the toothpick into the cork. Yeah, not so much. Maybe I just lack the coordination?
Next, I switched to first using a nail and hammer to create a hole in each cork for inserting the toothpick. That worked much better, but the darn cork kept rolling around. It was slow and tedious work. Especially with over 175 corks to do!
So, I decided to use a glue gun instead. It wasn’t until I was midstream in crafting the wine cork wreath that I hit on the best method of all — drilling a hole in each cork for inserting the toothpick. Voila! It was fast and easy. Plus, I didn’t break a single toothpick.
That’s why you’ll see the corks attached using glue — rather than toothpicks — in the first few steps and photos.
Craft Tip: If I was to make another wine cork wreath, I’d definitely use the drilling method for inserting toothpicks. It’s a lot faster, simpler, and holds the corks in place more securely than glue.
Crafting a Wine Cork Wreath
With that said, let me take you through the seven steps. Start by gathering together supplies.
- Styrofoam wreath base
- Burlap ribbon
- Tan pipe cleaners
- Wooden toothpicks
- Glue gun sticks
- Assorted wine corks
- Faux cluster of grapes
Equipment includes a hot glue gun, drill with narrow bit, piece of wood, ruler and scissors.
Craft Tip: Using a variety of corks creates the most interesting wine cork wreath — different sizes, shapes, brands and shades. My creation included all used white and red wine corks. I also purposely showed the red ends of a number of the corks. You can also purchase unused wine corks. Because of the large number needed, an option might be to mix used and unused.
Step 1: Cover Wreath Base & Add Hanger
Begin with a foam ring as a base. I used one about 11 inches. The bigger you go the more corks you’ll need (and you need a lot!). It also will get heavier to hang. Finished size of my wreath is about 15 inches wide, 16 inches tall, and six inches deep.
I recommend covering the wreath base with some type of ribbon. Besides, the corks do not cover every inch of the surface. You also probably don’t want the green or white base peeking through.
I had some fringed burlap ribbon (about 2 1/2 inches wide) leftover from another project. No wire edges are necessary. Use a toothpick or two to temporarily hold the end of the ribbon to the back side of the ring. Then, simply wrap around the form until the entire base is covered. Use another toothpick to hold the end in place.
Craft Tip: If using ribbon to wrap the base, be sure you can easily insert toothpicks through the material. The open weave of the burlap I used made that easy. Plus the coloring and texture blended well with the wine corks.
Turn the wreath over add a hanger to the back side of the wine cork wreath. I wrapped tan pipe cleaner around the ring and created a loop for hanging.
Step 2: Attach Inner Cork Rings
Now you’re ready to add wine corks to the wreath base. Start by creating the first of three rings of horizontally positioned corks in the center.
Craft Tip: If you are using unused wine corks, I recommend using those here, where they won’t be as visible.
First, arrange the corks laying flat — end to end — along the inside of the ring. Corks come in various sizes, so you might want to switch some in and out until you have them reasonably spaced and filling the inner ring. I used 12 wine corks for the innermost ring.
Again, I hot glued these corks into place, but I recommend inserting them using toothpicks instead.
Repeat the process by layering the next two rows of corks. For the the second inner ring, 13 corks were used.
The third layer will also cover half of the curved top of the wreath. Here, you want to be sure to leave enough space between some of the corks to allow for inserting toothpicks for vertical layered corks. Angle them a bit at one end as seen above. It took 15 corks for the third ring.
Set 3: Attach, Layer Outer Rings
As with the inner layers, begin my arranging the corks horizontally, along the outer bottom edge of the wreath base. That took about 22 wine corks. Now, layer the second outer ring of corks over the first
Craft Tip: Stagger stacking the second outer layer of corks over the first. Position them so the corks don’t exactly lineup one over the other, as seen below. This helps to eliminate unwanted visual caps on the outer edges of the wine cork wreath.
It took 21 for the outermost ring of the wine cork wreath. In case you’re keeping count, we’re up to 83 corks and counting!
When finished, you should have about an inch of so of burlap covered ring between the third inner and outer rings of corks.
Step 4: Fill in Space With Odd-Shape Corks
I had a number of corks that were shaped like a mushroom. To incorporate them into the wine cork wreath, I roughly spaced and attached those into the gap between rings. They were mixed with a few cylinder-shaped corks to fill the space. That took 17 more corks.
It was at this point, I had enough using the hot glue gun and going through glue sticks like crazy! Plus, it took forever to hold each cork in place, and wait until the glue set up. Often, I had to go back and reinforce a number of corks that fell off.
It was actually Mr. Buzz who suggested the drill. I was skeptical, thinking the corks would break in half or crumble. But, not one did! Do work and drill on top of a piece of wood. Frequently the drill went all the way through a cork.
Craft Tip: When using the drill method, it’s important to immediately insert the toothpick into the hole in the cork. Otherwise, it can be very hard to see the tiny hole if you go back later. Complete one cork at a time rather than working in batches.
Step 5: Artistically Insert Corks Vertically
Up until now, most of the corks were laid on their sides and attached to the wreath horizontally. To create interest, I inserted numerous corks vertically. Some had the wine stain side up, others did not.
Craft Tip: Before starting this step, determine where the top of the wreath is (inline with the hanger on the back). You’ll want a “flatter” surface at the top where the bow will be placed.
Begin by filling in the area from Step 4. Once you’re satisfied you have a nice balance, add a few between the inner rings. Lastly, scatter out from the outer rings.
The five layers of horizontal inner and outer rings provide the foundation for the wine cork ring. But, it’s the vertically inserted corks that add the most interest to the look of the wreath.
Craft Tip: Make sure you still have a dozen or two corks leftover. After incorporating the bow and grape clusters, you’ll probably want to add a few at the top of the wine cork wreath. Also, try a test hanging of the wreath on a door or wall to view the wreath from a different perspective. It’s likely you’ll notice a few other spots to add corks.
Step 6: Glue Grapes Around Wine Cork Wreath
Faux grapes come in three colors (dark purple, red/burgundy and green). Choose any one, two or mix all three shades into your wine cork wreath.
Working from a large bunch of faux purple grapes, I divided it into one large cluster and two smaller ones. Then, I cut off the bottom section from the main cluster.
Single grapes were snipped off from that odd end piece. Each grape was individually hot glued to the wine cork wreath. Toothpicks don’t work for this step!
Scatter the grapes in between the corks for both balance and to cover any larger gaps. The grapes also add some color, while coordinating with wine theme of the wreath.
Let the glued grapes dry overnight. Some of the grapes are likely to detach from the wreath and will need reapplied.
Craft Tip: Do a test hanging of the wreath to see how the glued grapes — and corks — hold up. Reapply as needed.
Step 7: Incorporate Bow & Grape Clusters
Before attaching the bow, I incorporated the central and two side grape clusters into the wreath using tan pipe cleaners.
To secure the clusters in place did require removing and repositioning a few vertical corks. Since I had used toothpicks, it was easy to remove and repositioned the corks.
Originally, I had hoped to find a 2 1/2 inch wide ribbon with a wine theme to create a bow. Most were too narrow or lacked wire. None got me excited enough to order online and pay for the shipping. And, I wanted something fairly simple that would appeal to my adult son.
In the end, I used the remaining fringed burlap ribbon that was wrapped around the wreath ring. Little flecks of metallic gold are scattered throughout the fibers.
The 10-loop bow has 12-inch tails weaved between the corks.
Finished Wine Cork Wreath
Here’s the finished wreath hanging on my interior kitchen door.
Opps! I see a spot where one of the grapes fell off, leaving just the glue behind! Gotta fix that before taking it to Philadelphia for my son.
What do you think? Game to make one yourself?
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Time to Hop
Next up in the Craft Blog Hop is Lynn and her darling Wicker Paper Plate Holder Pumpkin.
Enjoying Family Time
My elderly mom has been with me all month, so I’ve really enjoyed spending time with her. We’ve been doing puzzles, painting, crocheting/knitting, taking walks, and making meals together.
We had planned a visit for March that didn’t happen because of the virus and risk of air travel.
Sistah B and her husband will be driving up from Charleston with their dog, Jack. They’ll visit for a few days before taking mom back. I can’t wait as we haven’t seen each other since Thanksgiving.
Plus, it will be so nice to have a dog in residence as I continue to miss my Sweet Scottie Dog. I’ve been searching for a puppy across five states and putting myself on waiting lists since April — to no avail. It’s been like a part-time job! Here’s mom with Fibber McGee last summer.
Scottish Terriers are extremely hard to find these days. Most breeders have been unwilling to sell puppies as pets. I lost out at least four times to breeders that required I show and then breed the dog two to three times. My interest is to have a Scottie trained as a therapy dog.
Others tell me I’m next on the list or a litter is due, but then no response to emails or calls. Until last week, I thought I’d have a puppy by mid-October. But, the price had gone from $2,500 to an outrageous $4,500! Can you believe it? Honestly, I’m pretty depressed about the entire situation. As if the pandemic and political divide weren’t upsetting enough…
I’ll get back to a more regular blogging routine after we return from Philadelphia. Looking forward to sharing a number of seasonal and holiday crafts, decorations, table settings and more. And, maybe some peeks at my son’s “new” 100 year old rowhouse!
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