NUT/CONE/POD CANDLE WREATHS
Gorgeous candle wreaths are quick, easy, and inexpensive to make with nuts, cones, and pods. Although bright red candles are ideal for Christmas, other colors enable them to be displayed throughout much of the year.
Newspapers Corrugated cardboard (such as a carton) at least 17 inches square
White craft glue (optional)
Glue gun or quick-drying glue (such as Duco cement)
Fabric or felt (at least 17 inches square), preferably dark brown or the color of the candles
Gold braid, cord, or rickrack Dark brown linoleum paste
4 gold metal candlesticks (the small, inexpensive kind)
Large variety of cones and pods *
Unshelled nuts (i. e., nuts with their shells on) **
1 can high gloss polyurethane varnish (spray can or can with paint brush)
4 tapered candles (preferably red, although other colors can be used for different seasons)
Card on which you have written a warning reminding the recipient never to leave lighted candles unattended
* Try for as large a variety as possible. If you do not have pinecones and pods in your yard, they are available at many beaches and parks, friends are great at volunteering to collect them at their country homes, and you can often "barter" them either locally or with online members (e. g., swapping for either services or for crafting materials they might like that grow in your region). Horse chestnuts and black walnuts look especially beautiful.
** Hazelnuts or filberts are particularly pretty on this
As with any painting or varnishing project, select a workspot with adequate ventilation, and which can be left undisturbed while the wreath is drying (so that no one will constantly inhale the fumes).
Spread newspapers over your working surface.
Cut a large circle (about 16" or so) from corrugated cardboard, such as a carton. Cut out an inner circle, leaving a relatively wide ring. (The wreaths do not look nearly as nice when the ring is thin.)
Glue fabric or felt to one side of the cardboard ring. This will be the back.
Glue gold braid or some sort of cord or rickrack to the inner and outer rims to hide the cardboard.
Place cardboard ring fabric-side-down over newspapers.
Spread dark brown linoleum paste over the cardboard. (This will attach the bottom layer and provide depth.)
Place pinecones, pointed side out, side by side around the outer rim, slightly overlapping (i. e., having the tips of the pinecones extend over the edges of the ring).
Place another row of pinecones, pointed side out, side by side around the inner rim, slightly overlapping (i. e., having the tips of the pinecones extend over the edges of the ring).
Place 4 small, inexpensive "brass-look" candlesticks on the ring, arranging them so that there are equal amounts of space between each one. Press them into the linoleum paste.
Glue an assortment of nuts, cones, and pods to the wreath. (An attractive arrangement can most easily be achieved by using the candles as a framework - e. g., a eucalyptus pod to the right of the first candlestick, another eucalyptus pod to the right of the second candlestick, a third eucalyptus pod to the right of the third candlestick, et cetera, followed by a lotus pod alongside the first eucalyptus pod, another lotus pod alongside the second eucalyptus pod, et cetera.
Using a glue gun or quick drying glue (such as Duco cement), glue nuts and small cones and pods to tops and spaces to add decorative touches. Hazelnuts/filberts, horse chestnuts, and black walnuts are particularly beautiful for this.
If your workspace does not provide adequate ventilation for varnishing, let the wreath dry and take it outside when ready to spray. -- Spray or brush with several coats of clear high gloss polyurethane varnish, drying thoroughly between each.
Insert candles in candlesticks. (If you are mailing or transporting the wreath, omit this step and instead give the candles along with the wreath.
INCLUDE A CARD CONTAINING INSTRUCTIONS NEVER TO LEAVE LIGHTED CANDLES UNATTENDED.
Although I much prefer the tapered candles, this can also be made by not cutting out the center circle, omitting the tapered candles and candlesticks, and substituting a fat candle which is either glued in the center or given along with the candlewreath.
Colors can be varied for different seasons and holidays ... For example, this can be displayed throughot the autumn and winter by alternating harvest gold, moss green, and red candles - or even orange candles for Halloween.
Many people display these wreaths throughout autumn and winter, rather than solely at Christmas time. In this instance, you may want to add such things as mini corn cobs if they are available in your area.
The candles and candlesticks can be omitted altogether to make a hanging wreath to be displayed on the wall or door. . Make the ring thinner than directed above. . Before gluing on the fabric backing, use a piece of wire to wrap a hook (such as a curtain hook) around the ring to serve as a hanger. Make sure that the hanger is at the top of the ring, above the circle. This will be the top of your wreath (and the hanger will be hidden by the pinecones). Proceed as above, dividing the nuts, cones, and pods into three segments rather than four (e. g., visualizing the circle as a clock, with the hanger at 12 o'clock, one eucalyptus pod at 2 o'clock, one eucalyptus pod at 6 o'clock, and one eucalyptus pod at 10 o'clock ... one lotus pod next to the first eucalyptus pod, one lotus pod alongside the second, et cetera). . If the wreath will be exposed to strong sunlight, either paint top of cardboard ring dark brown or cover with surplus fabric, and substitute quick-drying glue (such as Duco cement) for both hot glue and linoleum paste.