I really appreciate all the tutorials out there posted by helpful bloggers. I've never written one and feel I should give back a little. So yesterday when I made my Christmas mailbox decoration, I decided to document the process. I hope it helps someone at least a little.
Materials you'll need:
Evergreen clippings - These don't have to be from a conifer. I'm using eleagnus because that's what is available in my yard. I also bought some fir and cedar clippings from my local nursery.
Pine cones (optional): If they are closed up, dry them in a 200 degree oven for about 2 hours. (Or you can use the microwave if you're careful.)
Wired ribbon (about 2" - 3" wide)
Green paddle wire and/or floral wires (I like the covered kind)
Pruners and wire cutters (optional), a tape measure can be helpful
Put the tape measure on your work surface for something to go by. Using your longest clippings (eleagnus), cut them to about 2/3 the length you measured. Arrange the clippings on the work surface so that some tips are pointing down and some tips pointing up. The cut edges will overlap in the middle. Later you will be securing the evergreens at a point slightly "north" of center - a little more close to the top than the bottom. I put a few more evergreens on the bottom part than I do on the top. Don't worry about tucking in all the cut edges in the middle because you will be adding other layers.
Note: If you use a clipping that needs to be trimmed on both ends, try to clip it at a point where leaves will hide it instead of having a "stick" showing.
Wrap the floral wire around the evergreens and secure on the wrong side. This will be just like using a twist tie to close the bag on a loaf of bread. Remember that you will do this slightly off center.
Secure your bow at the point where you tied the evergreens. I've used this bow for several years and I just fluff it up after I'm done hanging the arrangement on the mailbox. (I just realized I should have shown how to make a bow. Let me know if you want me to do that. Although this bow is not the greatest!)
To add pine cones, cut an eight inch length of paddle wire. Wrap the wire around the top of the pine cone then twist the ends together. Wire the pine cones to individual branches of the arrangement. I try to use odd numbers of pine cones. Here I put two cones on the bottom and one on top.
Give the arrangement a shake to be sure your branches are all secure. If you need to reinforce a branch or need to add a short branch, secure with paddle wire to individual clippings in the arrangement. If you want a decoration on each side of your mailbox, make another arrangement.
Using a long length (36" or more) of paddle wire, secure your arrangement to the mailbox. I line it up so the bow is at the base of the mailbox. You may need to secure it in more than one place. If desired, repeat on the other side of the mailbox. When wiring on the second arrangement, try not to wrap the wire on top of the first arrangement. But don't worry about wire ends showing because they are green and won't be seen.
And that's it! You can see here that I didn't do a good job with some of my clippings at the top. But by the time it get's rained on and blown by the wind, it won't really matter anyway. :)
Okay, so writing a tutorial is harder than I thought it would be. It was a bit difficult to explain things in a way that I hope make sense. Happy decorating!