Fall Wreath Workshop at Helen Olivia

Like it or not fall is just around the corner.  It’s time to start thinking about football, raking leaves and getting your home ready for the season. What better way then with a new fall wreath for your front door.

To get my front door in fall order, on Wednesday I attended a Fall Wreath Decorating Class at Helen Olivia in historic old town Alexandria.  Helen Olivia – beautiful flowers, beautiful things — is known for their gorgeous flowers and impeccable taste.  By far, my favorite florist (hint, hint).

Marianne Raub, chief floral designer and co-owner, recommends using an 18″ to 20″ wreath for most front doors.   Start with white, foam wreaths, then cover with pieces of sheet moss.  Attach the moss by first placing a piece over the wreath frame, then wrapping 22 gage floral wire around the frame and the moss so it’s attached.  Work with wire on a paddle so you can easily wrap the wire around the moss and frame using one, continuous piece of wire.  To add a bit of sparkle to your wreath switch out the standard green floral wire with a silver, gold, copper or other color.  You can also use green floral wire to attach the moss then wrap the colored wire for an accent.

Let your ribbon guide your design choices.

Now that you have your basic wreath it’s time for the fun stuff.  For Raub design inspiration comes from the ribbon.  It determines the color palette, flowers and other design elements.

Raub then demonstrated how to tie a bow.  We all watched diligently, took notes and shook our head as a sign of our understanding but ultimately had to have Raub help us all when we each made our attempt.  If you don’t have the benefit of a floral designer at your side to help you with your bows this instruction at Save On Crafts provides step by step directions with drawings.

Marianne Raub at Helen Olivia demonstrates how to make a bow.

Place your bow on your wreath then begin placing your other features.   If you think of your wreath as a clock, the most common placement for the bow is at 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 4:00, 5:00, or 6:00 o’clock.  Figure out where you want the bow but don’t attach it.   Since you’ll be using hot glue to attach your design elements, you’ll want to wait until the very last to attach your bow so you don’t risk getting hot glue on it.

Raub recommends using a few number of elements but varying them in different sizes and textures for more interest. Following the rule of design that its best to use odd numbers, five elements are ideal and use no more than seven.  If you want a full looking wreath, it’s best to use more of the same elements instead of adding more types which could make your wreath look cluttered.

The signature look of a Helen Olivia wreath is the placing of decorative and floral elements on the wreath in a crescent shape.  Meaning, the fullest part of the wreath elements are in the center and then, as you radiate from the center, there are fewer elements, finally tapering off before you reach the bottom of the wreath.

Play with your design and layout.  When you’re ready, attach everything with hot glue.  Finally, wrap a piece of wire around the top of the wreath, twist it in the back to make a loop and hang — your front door is now ready to welcome fall.

Here are a few of my fellow classmates and their gorgeous designs.

My tablemate Jen's fall wreath.

Carol's creation.

Heather's fabulous fall wreath.

Jealous? Don’t be, you can sign up for your own floral design workshops at Helen Olivia through their blog.  They already have their 2011 class schedule online and it’s not too early to sign up for the Spring wreath class, their workshops fill up early!


4 responses to “Fall Wreath Workshop at Helen Olivia

  1. Congratulations on a great job, your Autumn wreath looks wonderful,I love those floral elements, so different. I love Autumn, and Autumn leaves but not the raking of them!!

  2. Your page is a work of art. You took great notes and the wreath pictures are lovely – yours looks amazing on your door.

  3. Pingback: The start of Autumn « Yvette's Twistedvines

  4. Thanks Carol – your wreath looks wonderful too. I really enjoyed meeting you in the workshop, hope to see you at Helen Olivia workshops in the future?!

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