Are you ready to create your more seasonal life? Get your Studio Club invite here

You’ve viewed

You haven't yet viewed any products on our store. If you've been here before, you may need to sign in.


Make a gilded oak wreath

willow Christmas wreath with gilded oak leaf

This is the kind of willow ring, decorated with a cluster of leaves of flowers (or Christmas baubles if you want to bling it up) that is easy to make and yet makes you feel casually accomplished in that Nigella kind of way. Once you have your third bit of willow twisted round you will be on a roll!

You need

  • 4 or 5 small and thin pieces of willow - side twigs are best, about 50 cm long and very bendy.
  • Fine florist wire
  • Clusters of oak leaves on twigs (or hydrangea flowers or Christmas baubles).
  • Alder cone sprigs.
  • Sheets of fake gilding
  • Glue stick

making a willow ring

Take the longest, plainest bit of willow and bend it into a circle - mine was about 15-20 cm diameter - with a long overlap. Use the overlap to bind round and round. If you need to, add a bit of wire to secure the hoop at this stage. You can always remove it later when it is used to being a circle.

Add in the rest of the willow piece by piece, jamming the thick end in-between the existing loops and then binding it round and round and tucking in the end. Make sure that you begin each piece in a different place so that the circle is even(ish)

Once you have used all 4 pieces of willow it should be secure. You can cut off wispy bits, or leave them depending on the look you want.

This kind of willow ring can be made in whatever size you need and is a useful base for all kinds of things - from door wreaths to head dresses. If you make your ring larger you may need more pieces of willow to make it chunkier.

making a willow ring

Dab a glue stick or brush onto the oak leaves in patches and stick fake gilding to the leaves - dabbing it on and letting it dry before you brush it off. This also works with hydrangeas and honesty seed pods.

wiring leaves for Christmas wreath

Wire bunches of leaves and cones together using very fine florist's wire. Loosely hold them together so that they form a natural shape and then wrap the wire tightly round the stems, leaving a long tail of wire to attach it to the willow ring.

gilded oak christmas wreath

Arrange the leaves and cones on the ring, thread the wire tails through the willow and secure at the back. You can place them evenly right round the ring or have them as a focal point either at the base or to one side.

Because the willow is so attractive in its own right, it can be nice to have it on show.

The ring will last for a few years but if you get fed up with it you can simply remove the wire and put it on the compost heap.

Gilded oak Christmas wreath

Comments: 1 (Add)

You must be signed in to post a comment. If you're already a member, please sign in now. If not, you can create an account here.
Chris dyer on December 18 2020 at 13:41

Hi jane I love this idea...I was just about to cut out the straight stem rogues from our corkskew hazel...also I have Holly and mistletoe to use...I love the idea of gold foil to the ring...thanks and happy Christmas...

Snapdragon social

Thistledown is so beguiling. ⁠
The soft cream catching the light, waiting for goldfinches to alight. ⁠
I’m heading to Hawarden today to join the lively people at @thegoodlifesoc and teach about foraged colour and dyeing socks with all kinds of plants. I’m hoping to be able to harvest some thistles as they give a particularly beautiful mustardy yellow.
Though I grew lots and lots of straw flowers for Christmas wreaths back when I had a proper commercial flower business,  it was only this year that I slowed down enough to really see them. ⁠
I’d assumed that they wouldn’t be good for insects until fully out - flat dulled daisies, past the point of picking - but actually wasps seem to pollinate them when they are still tightly furled. ⁠
This patch was wasp central for weeks. ⁠
A few butterflies flitted about, but mainly wasps⁠
I am somebody who needs distance to see a bigger picture. ⁠
For the past couple of months I’ve been really struggling with where Snapdragon Life is, and how to get from here to where I want it to be. ⁠
I filled books and books with notes but was going round in circles - unable to commit to anything with the kind of conviction a small business needs. It was all too fuzzy somehow. ⁠
Now I am away from the Studio. ⁠
Right in the middle of two weeks of walking and eating and photographing gardens and meeting friends and suddenly it is all much clearer. ⁠
I now have 5 sentences written in my phone notes and a high clear soaring route to take. ⁠
The multi talented @katgoldin took this photo of me in the Studio before I left - part of a photo shoot that took almost three years to actually schedule because I will do almost anything to avoid being in front of a camera.
Stained glass as the light gets cooler and the sun lower. ⁠
Bright dahlias arranged in the Studio window last week. ⁠
Earlier this week I saw great swathes of heleniums and dahlias in the potager at @walthamplace so rich amongst the teasels so next year I think I shall move some of the smaller flowered ones into the studio meadow to shine out amongst the grasses.
A couple of weeks ago someone told me that I have too many photos of cats and not enough of dogs.⁠⁠
So here is Dixie, the Studio Dog, in her chair.⁠⁠
Bored . . . . bored . . . bored
My dye cupboard in the Studio. ⁠⁠
Jars of mordants and modifiers and dried plants.⁠⁠
Scraps of fabrics, too beautiful to throw out.⁠⁠
Skeins of yarn waiting to be washed.⁠⁠
A place of infinite possibility.⁠⁠
The lacy scarf hanging on the door is a pale yellow version of my Winter waves pattern which will be in the Seasonal Studio journal when it is published in December.⁠⁠
It is such a lovely simple rhythmic pattern that I've packed a ball of alpaca/linen yarn - dyed a steely grey with tansy and iron - and taken it with me as my road trip knitting.⁠⁠
I'm not a naturally organised person. I am also very messy and the Studio table tends to get cleared in random waves of orderliness.⁠⁠
Sadly this orderliness doesn't include actually being orderly, there is a lot of the
Euan and I have been sleeping in the airstream, officially as a glitch spotting exercise but actually because it is very relaxing.⁠⁠
I wrote about it in my Tuesday letter to Studio Club members this week.  The lure of the tiny house.⁠⁠
One of the interesting things is that you can see the Studio window, with its frothy pinks, from the other side.

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.


Learn more about why here