A little cardboard goes a long way with this simple fall wreath.
My family doesn’t celebrate traditional Thanksgiving. While I would like to say it’s because we reject the fictitious Eurocentric notion of “Indian and Pilgrim” coexistence, it in all honesty resulted from nothing more than a lovers’ quarrel. Here’s how it started:
About fifteen years ago, my mother found herself yet again slaving away in the kitchen, fixing the torturous feast customary this time of year. My father, though an endearing and caring man, spent eight hours straight watching good ol’ American football, zero fingers lifted in support of the cause. In a fit of frustration, my mother told my father if he wanted a traditional Thanksgiving next year, he would need to cook it himself. And that was the end of that. Traditional Thanksgiving as we knew it ceased to exist.
To fill the void, we adopted a new tradition, one that introduced fun and whimsy and mutual responsibility. Each Thanksgiving, we select a theme that guides the menu for our meal. Themes have ranged from hearty Italian to the fanciful Dr. Seuss feast to a cutthroat cooking competition, secret ingredient and all. We all pitch in, designing a dish around our theme, and while my mother still bears the brunt of the work, the novelty of the theme removes the predictable drudgery. I’ve heard my fair share of protests: But when do you eat the turkey, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes? The answer is we don’t. And that’s ok. After all, the holiday holds the spirit of gratitude, not the spirit of poultry.
To help usher in this spirit, I decided to create an upcycled fall wreath. I wanted something simple, understated and slightly rustic that would easily transition into Christmas with the addition of a few holly berries. Thus, I turned to the abundance of cardboard I’d been hoarding for just the right reason.
I began by painting the cardboard using white acrylic paint and a foam brush. I applied the paint thinly to give the cardboard a whitewashed appearance.
I then stamped the painted cardboard with a script pattern resembling a handwritten letter. The black ink on the white paint is reminiscent of an antique postcard or old-fashioned newsprint.
Using a cardboard template, I traced leaf shapes onto the cardboard and cut out the leaves. I carefully considered where to trace the leaves, avoiding the splotchy patches of paint or smudged ink from the stamp.
To make the wreath, I began by arranging the leaves in a circular pattern. I glued these leaves together using a hot glue gun. I then glued additional leaves in an alternating pattern (pointing inward or pointing outward).
I embellished the simple wreath with a burlap ribbon bow. The final step was gluing jute twine to the back of the wreath to create a loop for hanging.
Simple and stylish, but best of all, practically free. I was able to reuse materials I already owned to create this wreath and spent just $3 to add the burlap ribbon. Upcycle for the win.