Make vintage-style handmade Christmas wreaths with this craft how-to from 1964

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vintage-style handmade Christmas wreath craft project
Wreaths with a personal touch: How to make these handmade Christmas wreaths

The plain-Jane basis for each of these handsome Christmas decorations is an ordinary ready-made wreath of white pine or balsam. We asked a talented designer-florist for some decorating ideas, and these are the lovely easy-to-copy results.


Lemons, limes, walnuts, cedar sprigs and sweetgum tree balls were added to this balsam wreath for a rich, unusual color effect. For brown color and woody texture, pinecones would be as effective as sweetgum balls.

MATERIALS NEEDED: Balsam wreath; sprigs of cedar; lemons and limes; walnuts; sweet-gum-tree balls (or tiny pine cones) 2″-wide chartreuse and light green velvet ribbon to wind, around wreath; extra Chartreuse ribbon for bow; clear shellac; wire; extra-strong white glue.

DIRECTIONS: Wire cedar sprigs to wreath to add Chartreuse-tone color. Wind wreath with Chartreuse and light green ribbon, securing ends on back. Run wire through back of each lemon and lime, and cut wire, leaving 3” ends (FIG. 1). Dip fruit 9″ in clear shellac and hang by wire till dry.

Secure lemons and limes to wreath by twisting wire ends around stems of greens. For placement of fruit, see photo. Cut a quantity of 3″-4” wires, dip an end of each into glue, and insert one in the small natural aperture at base of each walnut and in a hole of each sweetgum tree ball. Let dry. (If using pine cones, twist wire around bottom leaves of each cone.)

Attach nuts and balls (or cones) to wreath with their glued-in wire stems. Make a Chartreuse velvet-ribbon bow with streamers; wire to wreath at top, right, and drape ends as shown (see photo), securing billowing streamers to wreath with glue as needed.

Make vintage-style handmade Christmas wreaths with this craft how-to from 1964 (2)


Pine was added to this balsam wreath, and the whole spraypainted gold. Shiny Christmas balls, sliced and painted pine cones, and a metallic ribbon-bow complete the elegant all-gold look. Mistletoe sprigs add a white accent.

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MATERIALS NEEDED: Balsam wreath; pine Sprigs; large pine cones; small and medium-size gold Christmas balls on wire stems ( available at dime stores); 2 yards of 3” metallic gold ribbon; gold spray paint; 4-6 sprigs each of artificial mistletoe and apple blossoms (or similar accents); wire.

DIRECTIONS: Wire pine sprigs to wreath for variety. Saw pine cones in sections, crosswise (or slice with heavy scissors). Wire to wreath, alternating or combining large and small flowerlike pinecone sections for an attractive pattern (for placement, see photo). Spray wreath and cone sections with gold paint. When dry, add gold balls, mistletoe, apple blossoms, wiring stems to wreath and using balls in clusters between pinecone flowers. Make a gold ribbon rosette bow with streamers and attach with wire at bottom of wreath.

Make vintage-style handmade Christmas wreaths with this craft how-to from 1964 (1)


A small white-pine wreath is secured to a polystyrene-foam base, then loaded with bright fake cherries and shiny balls. For a new way with a wreath, cover the wreath back with pine and hang it on your nicest mirror.

MATERIALS NEEDED: White-pine wreath (diameter of ours is 24”); polystyrene-foam wreath shape to fit back of pine wreath; sprigs of white pine; artificial cherries on stems (a quantity in red, a few in purple) ; red Christmas balls on wire stems (available at dime stores); 1 yard of 3″ red velvet ribbon; 3” wood picks (or skewers) ; long wire hairpins; wire.

DIRECTIONS: Wire polystyrene-foam wreath to back of pine wreath: then cover back with pine sprigs, using hairpins punched into foam to secure sprigs. Wire stems of red cherries together in groups of 3 and 4, and purple cherries in pairs. and then wire to wood picks. Insert picks through pine wreath into polystyrene foam: in the same way, insert wire stems of Christmas balls. Add cherries and balls, in varying depths, to create a circle that is irregular at edges but with a pleasingly balanced design, following the placement pattern shown. Tie a red velvet bow with 12” streamers and attach at top with wire. (Our wreath is hung with red velvet ribbon on a gold-framed oval mirror.)

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Make vintage-style handmade Christmas wreaths with this craft how-to from 1964 (3)

Bonus Christmas wreath idea

This wreath wasn’t part of the article above, but accompanied an ad elsewhere in the magazine. The Christmas decoration features lots of fruits — kumquats and apples, pears and purple grapes, along with artichokes and walnuts — plus pinecones and sprigs of evergreens.

1964 Christmas wreath with fruits and vegetables

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