Jessica Rudasill, Sue Shrider offer DIY wreath-making tips

Jessica Rudasill, Sue Shrider offer DIY wreath-making tips

By Adrienne McGee Sterrett


Raise your hand if you’ve ever walked through a craft show and thought, “Ooh, I love that,” which segued into “I can do that!”

I see your hands.

Keep your hands raised if you’ve made a trip to the craft supply store, wandered around aisles, become overwhelmed, bought way too much or way too little, started the project at home and declared, “I can’t do this!”

I see your hands and hear your groans. Hugs to all of ya.

So let’s start over.

Here to help are Jessica Rudasill, designer/owner of Robert Brown’s Flower Shoppe in Lima, and Sue Shrider, designer/owner of Petal Shed in Delphos. These designers have long-time experience in the flower decor business, and they shared a few of their (crazy helpful) tips recently as they were preparing for the Christmas season.

1) Choose a wreath

There are blank wire wreath forms available, there are pre-made wreaths with silk greenery already on them, and there are pre-made grapevine wreaths. Skip the empty wire forms until you’ve mastered the basics. Instead, go with a grapevine wreath or a wreath with a style of greenery you like.

“We get ours in very basic and then we bring them to life,” Shrider said.

“You can just add ribbon to one that’s already done, really, and just spruce it up a little bit,” Rudasill said.

2) Buy your items

You will need a wreath, glue gun, floral wire and tape for wrapping the wire before you work with it, and ribbon, silk florals and perhaps a doodad or two like an ornament or a small sign.

Shrider suggests odd numbers of doodads, perhaps three to five stems of each variety, and three yards of ribbon for a bow would be plenty. (If this is something you will be doing a lot of, consider an electric glue skillet. It looks like a miniature electric skillet and allows for easy one-handed dipping of stems.)

“I think if you find a theme (and color scheme), you can just put it together,” Shrider said.

Keep in mind, there is no “wrong” way to design a wreath.

“Which is kind of scary,” Rudasill said, laughing. “Simple is better, especially if you are a beginner.”

But Rudasill suggests working with one medium, like silk flowers. And resist the urge to cover the wreath completely.

Shrider aims at “timeless” designs.

“When you invest 70 to 80 dollars in a wreath, you like to try to use it for more than one year,” Shrider said, laughing.

3) Consider where the wreath is going

Front door? Bright colors and glittery sparkle are good.

“If you’re putting it on your front door, it shows up well,” Rudasill said.

Do you have a storm door for protection? Will the wreath be whipped by winter wind? Be sure to use unbreakable, sturdy items if the wreath will be outdoors, Shrider said.

4) Think about trends

Natural, burlap, sparkle, monograms, signs hung in the middle and non-traditional Christmas colors are in.

“But if it’s Christmas, you can’t get too much glitter. It’s the best time of the year to do all of the gaudy/glitzy,” Rudasill said.

“We are glitterfied until February,” Shrider said, as a piece of glitter sparkled from her cheekbone.

Like a little plaque but it doesn’t have a hanger? Hot glue some twine to it and make a hanger, Rudasill said. Then you can simply wire it in at the top of the wreath and let it dangle into the space.

5) Figure out the ribbon placement

Do you like symmetry or asymmetry? Where will your ribbon go, and where will your other stems or items go?

“Rotate it how you want it,” Rudasill said.

“And no rhyme or reason. I am not a symmetrical person. Odd is good,” Shrider said.

6) Make a good bow

“Basic bow making is probably one of the biggest factors in the showmanship of a wreath,” Shrider said. “If you can make a really nice bow, it definitely makes the wreath.”

(For a step-by-step video of Shrider making a bow, visit

Cut the “tails” of the bow at an angle to draw the eye up toward the focal point, Shrider said. She always buys wire-edged ribbon, so she can arrange it easily, and she wires the tails onto the wreath, too, so the ribbon isn’t flying in the wind.

“Wired ribbon is a wonderful thing,” Shrider said.

If the ribbon you purchase has words on it, be mindful of placing the words in a way that they can be read.

7) Don’t cut the stems too short

“You can always wire something in or just glue it in,” Rudasill said.

The stems are helpful, as they are what is poked into the greenery of the wreath and woven in.

“Fluff” everything as you add it, Shrider said, and try to blend added items with the greenery.

8) Don’t be shy with the adhesives

Glue things fast, and wire them, too.

“Sometimes I do both,” Rudasill said.

Be sure to test the placement before gluing, Shrider said.

9) Attach a loop hanger

Rudasill likes chenille stems (pipecleaners) twisted into a loop, and Shrider uses floral wire. Either way, be sure it’s attached well. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It is on the back, after all.

Is it all just too much for you? Stop in to either of these shops, and the women have plenty of wreaths you can shop from — in addition to supplies for custom wreaths.

Petal Shed

23089 state Route 697, Delphos


[email protected]

Robert Brown’s Flower Shoppe

836 S. Woodlawn Ave., Lima


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