So, I'm filing this wreath tutorial under my 55 Days of Vintage Christmas series because it is very inspired by vintage crafts! I love the tangible qualities of vintage crafts whether it be the use of velvet (usually velvet "flocking" that you can find often on vintage ornaments or figurines) or the textures of vintage trims. I wanted to create something that had a mod-60's feel and I knew I wanted to use large velvet buttons! I didn't want to just buy a wreath form and start attaching buttons, I wanted it to be more of a geometric design.
The only way to create that with the buttons was to have a flat surface to work with, so I created my wreath base from scratch using foam core board. It worked perfectly! The finished wreath is just what I was going for: 60's inspired shapes, with lots of rich textures (velvet and suede fabric, vintage trim) and an eclectic mix of patterns (big floppy bow made out of vintage floral velvet, vintage floral sheet & ascot tie).
If you'd like to make your own, here's how I created it: (note that you can make your wreath and buttons any size, but these supplies will reflect the size that I used)
- Foam Core Board
- Craft Knife
- Fabric Scissors
- 1.5" Buttons (I used 32 buttons)
- Your Preferred Fabric (I used vintage velvet & vintage suede for the buttons, vintage velvet for the wreath base, for the bow: vintage velvet, vintage bed sheet & vintage ascot tie. You can find vintage fabric scraps on Etsy & Ebay.)
- Vintage or New Trim (you can find loads of vintage trims on Etsy & Ebay)
- Staples (I used a regular stapler, not a staple gun)
-Tacky Craft Glue
- Embroidery Thread
- Hand Sewing Needle
- Sewing Machine (there's a little sewing done with the bow, but you could always hand sew it, or just use a ribbon bow)
1. Cut your foam board. The size of the outside of my wreath is 14"x14". The inside opening is 8" x 8". I used a plate (8") and bottom of a lampshade (14") to trace my circles. Cut out the shapes with a craft knife.
2. Cover your wreath form with fabric. First, freehand a circle inside and outside your wreath form on the wrong side of your fabric. Allow about a 1"- 1.5" area of fabric on either side (see photo below). Cut out both circles.
Now cut triangle notches with your fabric scissors all the way around on the inside and outside. This will help your fabric to fold over to the back more easily.
Add a bit of glue on each tab. Fold over and then staple to reinforce. I opened my regular stapler up and stapled flat.
3. Make and attach your fabric buttons to the wreath form. Here's how you cover buttons with fabric. You will need the starter kit which is the round plastic thingy you see down there. (There's also another navy blue plastic thingy that fits inside, but i don't use it - I used my fingers. That is why you won't see the blue plastic thingy make an appearance here. ; ) You only have to buy that once and use it over and over.
Cut out a square of fabric. Be sure to leave around 3/4" of an inch or so all the way around. Better to have too much fabric than not enough.
Cut off the excess fabric at the corners.
Make sure your button is centered on top of the wrong side of your fabric, and then push both into the plastic mold. If it feels like there's still too much fabric and is too bulky, trim off around the edges again just a little. Push down the fabric as flat as you can with your fingers.
Place the back part of the button on top of the smooshed fabric and push really hard (that blue plastic thingy might come in handy here as your fingers might hurt after a while like mine did.) You should feel it pop into place. The metal will bend inward. The smaller the button, the harder this is to do depending on how bulky your fabric is. Velvet is pretty bulky, but luckily you're using 1.5" buttons. The larger the button, the easier it is.
You're done! Pull the whole thing out of the plastic mold and flip it over. Here's your new button.
Now it's time to attach your buttons. You can do this two ways. I sewed mine on with a needle and thread. This can hurt your fingers after a while since you're sewing through foam core. Might help to use one of these (thanks Dana for that tip!) But I prefer sewing to gluing since you can't always trust glue. And honestly, I think this method goes faster! But you could always hot glue them on.
The back of your wreath will look like a hot mess when you're done sewing on your buttons. That's ok. Leave a space at the bottom of your wreath open (with no buttons) to attach your bow later.
4. Now add trim to the inside and outside of your wreath. I used craft glue to glue it on. I actually added my trim before I added the buttons, but I recommend adding the trim at the end since you will be handling your wreath a lot when you're adding the buttons. This way you won't mess up your trim.
5. Now make and attach your bow! The bow is up to you. You could make a simple bow out of ribbon (maybe vintage velvet ribbon?) or get fancy like I did. There are lots of tutorials out there on how to make fabric bows. Here's one. I made a double bow, the front from the brown floral velvet (cut from this thrifted dress) and the back from a yellow floral bed sheet. I sewed a strip of the brown floral fabric and wrapped it around BOTH in the center. The yellow floral bow ended up being too wide so I accordian folded both ends and machine sewed to shorten it up a bit. I like how it turned out.
I cut off the bottom ends of a vintage ascot tie that I thrifted and stapled them to the bottom of my wreath. Then I sewed on the double-bow on top of that with a needled and thread. I pinned, with straight pins, the top end corners of the yellow part of the bow to the wreath so it didn't flop down so much. (see pic above)