Tutorial: Gaudy Mardi Gras Wreath

I miss the South quite a bit during Mardi Gras season. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, I get inundated with photos of my friends and family celebrating at crawfish boils, parades and Mardi Gras balls on a daily basis.

I love where I live and my lifestyle, but it’s times like this that I’m not too proud to say, I’m envious.

Living a few thousand miles away just means I must be the master of my own celebration. This usually involves some sort of crafting frenzy. And, nothing tells your new neighborhood who you are and where you’re from like the world’s biggest, gaudiest Mardi Gras wreath adorning your front porch.

"Hi, I'm your new neighbor, and in case you didn't know, it's Mardi Gras season."

“Hi, I’m your new neighbor, and in case you didn’t know, it’s Mardi Gras season.”

As you can imagine, Mardi Gras supplies are limited around the rural parts of Central Oregon. I was grateful I kept a few pounds of beads from a parade in my beloved Natchitoches, LA a few years ago. If you’re not a hoarder (like I am), you can find beads and other Mardi Gras supplies at a Party City or other craft stores. This wreath took less than an hour to complete.

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I like to reuse craft supplies. I took this large, artificial garland wreath and wrapped it in burlap (found on the floral aisle of WalMart). Make sure no garland is peeking out.

Step 1: Wrap garland wreath with burlap

Step 1: Wrap garland wreath with burlap

Step 2: I like to use wire to fasten things on my wreaths.

I like to use wire to fasten things on my wreaths.

I like to use floral/craft wire to fasten things to my wreaths because it cuts down on waste. That’s just me. When dismantling a wreath that’s covered in hot glue, I usually end up throwing away a lot. But if you’re into hot glue, more power to you.

I know what you’re thinking – “that will never hold.” But it will. This wreath sustained two snowstorms and 50 mph winds in January and February.

Step 2: Add ribbon in the same fashion as the burlap. I tied some of it on, other parts I used wire. Get creative.

Step 3: Add ribbon

Step 2: Add ribbon

Step 3: Add beads. I gathered five strands and connected them in a U-shape piece of craft wire. Then, I twisted the U together so my strands were secure and I had a long wire “stick” I poked into the garland through the burlap. It took a little adjusting, but if your wire is long enough, it will poke through the back of the wreath and you can bend it into a secure position.

Step 4: Add beads

Step 4: Add beads

Poke wire into wreath

Poke wire into wreath

Step 4: Add bows, a masque and other trinkets you have on hand. I actually received all of these bows on presents at one time or another. I used the same U-shape wire technique to attach the bow to wire and then poke the wire through the burlap and garland.

Step 5: Add bows, a masque, etc. using same U-shape wire technique.

Step 4: Add bows, a masque, etc. using same U-shape wire technique.

I like to make my wreaths "imperfect" to give it that touch of Mardi Gras fun.

I like to make my wreaths “imperfect” to give it that touch of Mardi Gras fun.

Ha cha cha!

Ha cha cha!

Have fun with it! It’s all about making the wreath your own. I always find that it helps to put on a little Mardi Gras Mambo while I’m working on projects like this. And remember, it’s the small everyday things you do that can make you feel at home no matter where you are. Happy Mardi Gras, ya’ll!

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