Last week I undertook my largest floral undertaking, a cross wreath. At first it was a daunting project to be sure, but it was for my grandma’s celebration of life and it had to be right, not just for her but to honor the memory of other grandmother as well, who was a florist. So this project is a tribute to my grandmothers, women who helped shape me and whom I hope to make proud by being just a fraction of the women they were.
On a lighter note, this project was not actually as difficult as I thought it would be, notwithstanding my emotional state. It is actually quite doable for a floral novice and would be an amazing decoration for Easter. I made my wreath with fresh flowers, but if you wanted to make this wreath something you could pull out year after year, it would be great with artificial flowers as well, not to mention even easier!
Cross Wreath Supplies:
Wire Cross Wreath Form
I started looking for the wire cross wreath form by calling a local floral supply store, but you know what? I found it at the Dollar Tree! Super accessible!
For fresh flowers, you will want to use wet floral foam. I got mine at Hobby Lobby and only needed to use one brick, but this would vary depending on the size of your wreath form. For artificial flowers, you can just stick to the dry floral foam.
Floral Plastic Tape/Plastic
There is specific floral plastic tape, but you can also do what I did and use a garbage bag cut into strips about 4 inches wide. This is mostly to keep the moisture in the wet floral foam, but you could also use it to keep the dry floral foam attached to the cross wreath wire form. Alternatively, you could use floral wire to secure the dry floral foam to the cross wreath wire form.
I was really focused on the water aspect of this cross wreath project because I had never used wet floral sponge before. I couldn’t help but be concerned that I was going to have a sopping mess at the end. To this end, I used electrical tape to secure the plastic to the cross wreath, but I ended up regretting that because it was tough to puncture that to get the flowers in and I ended up crushing the foam more than I wanted to. It worked, but something like floral tape or masking tape might have been a better choice.
You’ll need something to trim the stems down. I bought a new pair of clippers at the dollar store that worked just fine for this purpose. You’ll also want something to poke through the plastic with when you’re inserting your flowers. I used both the tips of the clippers as well as a paring knife.
If you’re using artificial flowers for your cross wreath, go ahead and choose whatever tickles your fancy. Keep in mind that you may want to make a focal point in the center and that it’s always good to mix different sizes, textures, and colors for visual interest.
If you’re using fresh flowers, you may want to do some research about flowers that are tolerant of not having a constant supply of water because you will not be able to refill your foam. Whatever water your floral foam has soaked up is the water that your flowers will have for the duration of your cross wreath. So you’ll want to do some research on what does well without a ton of water and how long they will last so that you can time your preparation to when and where you want the flowers to be presented and how long they will be used.
My cross wreath featured peppermint carnations at the request of my grandmother. Luckily, carnations do well without a lot of water and were a great fit for this type of arrangement. These however were tough flowers to find, so I ended up with a mixture mini carnations as well as the standard size. I also used some roses to add a little variety and visual interest.
I was lucky that the woman helping me with the carnations was so generous and kind and gave me some lemon leaves as greenery for my cross wreath. I also used some of the rose leaves to fill in gaps. The woman gave me a great tip too, that you can use whatever’s in your yard for additional greenery. So I was ready to go out and grab some creosote as a desert baby’s breath alternative if I felt like the arrangement needed it.
I used silk ribbon that I already had around the house to finish the back of the cross wreath because I just did not like the way that the back of the wreath looked.
I affixed the above-mentioned ribbon with hot glue.
This was another tip the florist who helped me gave me. She clued me in to the fact that you can use push pins or sewing pins to secure things inconspicuously. Brilliant!!
Cross Wreath Step 1
The first step if you are using fresh flowers is to soak your wet floral sponge in water. I used a small plastic tote and soaked the foam until there were no more air bubbles coming from it.
Cross Wreath Step 2
This is where you will start if you are using artificial flowers and dry floral foam.
Cut the foam to fit in the cross wreath wire form. Be sure that the pieces of foam are the same height as each other and that there are no gaps between the pieces of foam.
If you are using wet floral foam, this will be messy and there will be water everywhere. To minimize the mess, I worked on top of two cookie sheets.
Cross Wreath Step 3
Affix the foam to the wire form using either floral wire for dry floral foam or the plastic and tape I talked about in the supply section.
Cross Wreath Step 4
Now it’s time to add the flowers. I started from the middle and worked my way out toward the edges, working in layers almost.
If you end up with an issue like I did with overworking the foam, you can do what I did and perform a little bit of surgery and cut the damaged foam out and replace it with new foam.
Cross Wreath Step 5
Add the greenery. I used some for fullness around the center and then I used pins and hot glue when necessary (only on the leaves and in places where you would never know) to place the leaves along the sides of the cross wreath to give it a more finished look from the sides.
Cross Wreath Step 6
Because I was so concerned about affixing the plastic to the form well to prevent leaking, I may have gone overboard with the tape. And to make that fact all the more obvious, the tape I used was black and the plastic I used was white. So frankly, I was embarrassed of the back of this wreath and had to do something to cover it up. So I found some silk ribbon and hot-glued it to the back. No one was any the wiser (I mean, except the whole internet now, but that’s beside the point!)
You could also do flowers on the back, I suppose, but because these flowers were hard to find, I didn’t have any extra.
Cross Wreath Step 7
If you are using wet floral foam, you’ll want to give your masterpiece time to drain. I bought a cheap wreath stand (under $5 I believe) at Hobby Lobby and hung the wreath over a cookie sheet on my kitchen table overnight. By morning it was ready to go and there was no water disaster at the church.
Go Forth and Arrange Flowers!
I was extremely nervous about this project while preparing for it and executing it, mostly because I just really wanted to do a good job for my grandma and was worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew. But it was easier than I expected, and I only got positive feedback from my family members, which is what was really important to me.
So if you’re looking for a different way to decorate for Easter or just want to get your feet wet in the floral space, I think this is a great project. And I would be glad to do it again under happier circumstances.
Stay tuned for more floral things because I am working on preserving the flowers in different ways and doing different things with them as keepsakes.