Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Build a Christmas Ornament Bulb Wreath

With just four more days until Halloween is over and I can start decorating I just couldn't take it anymore.  So I set aside an evening to build a Christmas wreath made out of Christmas Ornaments.  Here is my first ever attempt at building one but I know it won't be my last -

I will have to find a better location to hang it but I really like how it turned out. 

Now I know there are a lot of methods on how to make one of these and I'm sure most will work out just fine I thought I'd share with everyone how I made mine.

First, you have to buy the supplies.  I actually had purchased glass bulbs about three years ago with the intention of making one of these but a friend told me to only use non shatterproof bulbs so I went shopping (this has never been a problem for me :) . 

I wanted my first attempt to be with all shatterproof bulbs.  I picked up a metal wreath frame for the base.  I almost used a styrofoam ring but thought this would hang easier and allow me to secure the ornaments on easier. 

I then bought approximately 100 bulbs for the wreath.  I know that sounds like a lot but I used every single bulb I bought and could of used a few more.  I started with the large brown collection to the left of the picture below.  I know several stores sell them but I found the brown I wanted in this pack of 55 bulbs at Hobby Lobby and paid around $15.00 for it.  The ornaments below are not all for this wreath but all clear packs to the front are.  I loved the multi pack I purchased but knew I needed some additional small ornaments to fill in the gaps and I wanted some with glitter and designs on them to add some dimension to the wreath.  I didn't plan it but I really liked having the matte bulbs along with the normal shinny ones in the multi pack.  I stayed with the brown theme, added in some ivory colored and at the last minute layered in just a few green bulbs.  You can find these shatterproof ornaments at any of the big box retailers, Hobby Lobby, Michaels or even Big Lots. 
In addition to the bulbs and wreath frame you will also need a glue gun, glue sticks and floral wire.  All can be found at a craft store such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. 

Next I layed down newspaper to stop hot glue from getting on my table.  Somehow I missed not getting the hot glue on myself.  So one other item you might want is BandAids! 

I knew I didn't want to just hot glue all the ornaments on so I actually wired the whole first layer onto the frame.  You absolutely (yes you must listen to me here) must hot glue the tops down to the ornament and the little wire inside the lid.  I just lifted the lid, put a little hot glue under the lid and then set the lid back down and then ran a line of hot glue over the two openings on the top of the ornament lid.  Now you will want to skip this step since it takes so much time but DON'T.  You will have to go back and trust me gluing it first will save you time eventually.  I then connected the wire to the frame and slid on two or three bulbs at a time and then secured the wire to the fram and then moved down and around the frame this way.  I mixed large and medium sized balls as I went.  Below is the first layer I put on.  Using shatterproof bulbs you can really pull them tight before you secure the wire to the fram and then continue on.  It worked great and allowed me to fit in the right size ornaments as needed. 

After the entire bottom layer was complete then I stopped using the wire and just started hot gluing the bulbs into place as I layered in some large, med.ium and small ornaments. I loved the blend of shinny, matte, sparkly and all the different shades of brown.  I I tried to face the lid of the bulb down and hidden away where ever possible but with a few I wanted the design more prominent so I did leave the lid showing. 

I tried to fill in as many of the holes as possible so when the wreath hangs up you can't see the wire frame.  In some variations I have seen where people wrapped the frame with a matching color of ribbon or the tinsel garland in a gold or silver color.  I liked the ribbon idea but thought wiring onto the frame would be too difficult so I just left mine blank and you have to really look to see the wire frame beneath it. 

If you do use a styrofoam wreath rather than the wire one just remember to wrap a heavy wire around it so you have something to hang the wreath from when your all done. 

I constantly picked up my wreath to make sure it didn't get glued to my paper underneath but also to turn it and see where I needed additional small ornaments placed. 

I might add a bow to it but I think I'll just buy some wide ribbon and then hang it from the ribbon up to a curtain rod or attach it to my mirror.  The glass ball wreaths look great layered on top of a mirror because of the reflection and play of light. 

I let mine dry overnight and then hung in the next morning.  I did loose a couple of the ornaments I hadn't secured on with enough glue.  If you have the patience to wire all the layers of ornaments on you will probably like the effect a lot better, just pull them very tight so you have very little movement between the ornaments.  I didnt, I know I should of tried but the hot glue gun was calling my name.  Because they were shatterproof I was able to make the final adjustments to the wreath in the morning and it has now been up for over a day without a problem. 

Now I am working on the glass ball wreath with the ornaments I bought two and three years ago at after Christmas sales.  It is red and gold with a few light bronze colored bulbs.  I already know I like my brown one the best but I'll post pictures of my second creation when it is done. 

I would love to get pictures and thoughts from any of you on wreaths you have made out of ornaments so send me pictures!

Start looking for daily updates because November 1st the Halloween gets packed away, the house gets a major cleaning and stripping of all home decor and by November 3rd I will be full blown Christmas decorating!

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