After spending the past eight months working in the garden, I’m coming inside.
I’ve mulched and mowed, propagated and pruned. I’ve had my fill of sustainable horticulture and integrated pest management. I’ve shed tears of joy and amazement over my garden’s triumphs, and plenty of bitter tears over all the failures. I’ve built a compost pile big enough to be seen from the moon.
Now that it’s December, I need a break. But like most gardeners, I still crave a link to the green earth that gives richness and beauty to my life.
In a year when our lives have been spinning topsy-turvy, crafting a gift from the garden from humble, natural materials can be a soothing counterpoint.
While I love fresh evergreens, seed pods, cones and berries to deck my halls for the holidays, this rustic wreath is crafted from corn husks (enconchadas) used to wrap tamales and easily found in the Mexican foods aisle at the supermarket. Add a 9-inch Styrofoam wreath from the Dollar Tree and some glue sticks.
This project has a low degree of difficulty and isn’t very messy. Brew yourself a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine, turn on some holiday music, and welcome the season.
- One 16-ounce bag of corn husks is
- enough for two or three wreaths.
- Spray bottle of water and some towels.
- Straw or Styrofoam wreath
- (9-inch wreath form will make a 24-inch finished wreath).
- Glue gun and glue sticks.
Remove a stack of cornhusks from the package and
- cover them with a damp towel to keep them moist. If the husks seem dry and likely to crack when shaped, moisten them with a spritz of warm water from a spray bottle. Let them sit, covered with damp towel, for a few minutes. Blot with a towel to remove excess water.
- Tear the husks into halves or thirds, making pieces that are 2-3 inches wide at the bottom, and pointy at the tip. One at a time, wrap these strips around the wreath form, overlapping the edges and securing each strip with a bead of hot glue, until you have covered it completely. If you’re using a straw wreath, you might decide to skip this step, since straw is the same color as the husk, and doesn’t need concealing.
- Next you’ll be shaping layers of radiating husks.
- For the first layer, wrap the wide end of a husk under the wreath form and glue it in place with a band of glue along the straight edge, with the pointy end sticking out. Drape this husk into position and secure with another dab of glue. Continue all around the wreath. As you work, the husks will dry and start to curl. As Martha Stewart would say, “it’s a good thing.”
- Once one layer is complete, add additional layers of husks, one layer at a time. Tuck a husk in behind the one in front, securing it with a bead of glue. Slightly offset the new husks so they aren’t positioned directly on top of each other. Tearing some of the husks into even narrower pieces adds interest and texture.
- Keep going until you reach the desired amount of fullness. My wreath has seven or eight layers, but I’ve made others with just four or five. Suit yourself, but make sure the wreath is not so full that it won’t hang fairly flat on your wall or door.
- I like a rustic look, so I sprayed the completed wreath lightly with water. The husks will curl and undulate even more as they dry.
- At this point, look the wreath over. You can add strips or use scissors to trim unruly ones into shape.
- We grow corn, and while I didn’t save the husks last summer, I found some corn tassels. I tucked them into the wreath, gluing them into place. You can leave your wreath unadorned, or add feathers, berry stems or other dried botanicals.
- Make a small loop from string or wire and attach it to the back of the wreath with a T-pin. It’s ready to hang.