So, You want to Learn The Art of Wreath Making? We all start from the beginning learning the how to’s and what tools we will need. Even some of today’s great wreath makers either learned on their own like I did or from another maker and sometimes both. I have been making wreaths and silk floral designs for over 30 years for my personal home as well selling them locally in my little consignment booth to craft fairs.
Mostly self-taught, and at the time, a young newlywed with little to no money in my decorating budget I simply could not afford to make expensive purchases to help beautify my home with wreaths, holiday and seasonal decor, arts and crafts and “all the beautiful things”! So, I started teaching myself how to make them. Later I saved my pennies to improve my self taught skills with some additional education via a certification in interior decorating where I find making my own wreaths and silk floral arrangements fit my budget and helped my increase my profit margin. Learning then and continuing to learn even now has helped me fulfill my passion and love for creating all types of home décor.
Having spent many years serving as a special events coordinator among other full time job responsibilities, I have learned a lot about wreath making, floral design, crafting and home decorating. I want to share with you some of “tools of the trade” that have helped me in my wreath making and home decorating journey.
To help you get started I have gathered a list of some the best home decor and wreath making tools I recommend every beginner should have in their “maker and crafter toolbox”. I thought I would also share a few designer tips and recommendations for both beginners and anyone who wants to continue to build on their skills and add to their toolbox.
Not only are these tools essential for wreath making but also needed for creating many home décor and craft projects such as designing centerpieces, garlands, swags, door hangers, art and crafts and so much more! Having the right tools to begin your wreath making and home décor journey will make creating more enjoyable and easier for you make your own home decor and beautiful wreaths.
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Wreath Maker and Crafter Essential Tools:
1. Scissors – Definitely your number one tool you must have is a good pair of sharp scissors for ribbon cutting. I do not recommend using your “ribbon cutting scissors” for anything other than cutting ribbon. Using scissors to cut floral wire or wired floral stems will cause the scissors to become dull very quickly and will not keep your ribbon edges and tails looking as crisp as they should be.
Designer Tip: So far after 3 years my scissors are still sharp as ever. But I do have a few pairs of scissors that are a little dull so I use some folded foil and cut several strips into the foil which helps to sharpen them. You can also use a sharpening service, but with today’s prices sometimes it cost effective to purchase a new pair.
2. Electrical Wire Cutters – A good pair of wire cutters are an must have essential tool for wreath making and silk floral designing! This will be your most used tool in your toolbox. They are a necessity for easily cutting floral wire, silk floral stems as well as your greenery bushes. One of two wire cutters I recommend is an electrical wire cutter. They easily make cutting thru wire quick work when preparing your floral and greenery for projects.
3. Snipper Cutters – Another good wire cutter that is essential for cutting those thicker floral stems is a snipper cutter. This tool easily cuts thru thicker wired stems usually with one snip, but on occasion you may need to make two snips for some of the larger heavy stemmed florals. I found this type cutter to really help if you struggle with hand related issues like I do with arthritis in my thumbs. Snipper cutters can be found in any home improvement store.
4. High Temp Glue Gun – Another essential tool for beginning wreath designers is a hot glue gun. Using a high temp glue gun to attach your flowers, greenery and any other elements to your wreath and silk floral arrangements will help assure that these elements are securely attached to your base. Note: Hot glue can burn so always exercise caution when applying glue while designing. I prefer using a glue skillet, sometimes called a glue pot or pan. I usually have both a gun and skillet on my work table while working on my projects. I explain the benefits of using a glue skillet in more detail in #6 below.
5. Glue Sticks – When using a high temp glue gun, you will need a large supply of hot glue sticks as you will use quite a lot of glue while designing. I recommend purchasing in bulk supply if possible, saving you time and money. Having to reorder too often and then wait for your supplies to arrive to finish a project can easily add additional costs to your project, not to mention delays in quickly getting your project finished.
Designer Tip: I “only” use and recommend Gorilla Glue Sticks. I mostly use the 4” inch sticks but I have purchased the larger size sticks on occasion. In my opinion and not sponsored, Gorilla Glue Sticks are the best glue to use in all my wreath making and crafting projects! I find it cost effective to purchase them in larger quantities online and you can find where I purchase mine here.
6. Glue Skillet(s) – If possible, purchasing a good glue skillet is something I recommend highly and should be added to your toolbox as soon as possible. Although not necessarily needed at the beginning of your journey, it has many benefits and overall, you will not regret having this tool on hand while designing! I believe in giving you more than one recommendation when it comes to glue skillets as all makers and crafters have various work spaces and needs. Below are a few that I use and recommend.
My original glue skillet and one that I still use today is one that I purchased online. It’s really an ordinary “fry skillet” and they come in a variety of sizes, I prefer to use an 8” inch skillet but they also come in larger sizes. The 8” inch fits perfectly on my worktable. You can find one similar to what I use here. The most important thing to remember is to purchase one that has a variable temperature knob and an on/off switch. Always be sure to turn your skillet off when your not working on your project.
Another glue skillet and one that I recently purchased and I highly recommend as well and is the Sure Bonder Glue Skillet, it has a temperature regulation knob and what I love most is that it also has a “on/off” switch like my original glue skillet. This skillet is the perfect size, especially for beginners. I generally just add my “Gorilla Glue” hot glue sticks to the skillet using the same ones used with my high temp glue gun.
Designer Tips: I highly recommend placing any hot glue skillet on top of a temperature resistant surface to avoid any burns and/or damage to your work surface below. Years ago, I started using a ceramic tile from a local home improvement store. I mentioned this in one of my wreathing groups I had joined and man that tip took off like lightning! You can also find a great Silicone Work Mat here and another good one and comes with some other useful tools here.
Another tip that I “must” include is how to tell when your glue is ready for use. First you need to adjust the temperature of the glue in the skillet. If your skillet is full of glue…I set mine on 400 but depending on the skillet you purchase, your setting may be different from mine. The temperature of the skillet can be affect by the amount of glue you have in the skillet. Sometimes if my glue is low and I have not added additional glue the temperature may be too hot and begin to smoke. And sometimes if I accidentally turned the temperature regulator too high it will smoke as well. Anytime you see smoke coming from your glue skillets immediately turn it down. The smoke means that the glue is way too hot! Once you lower the temperature and add more glue you can adjust and regulate the temperature back up a little higher.
One more great tip that I get asked a lot is the consistency of the glue in the skillet. The best consistency in my opinion is that when stirred the glue should drizzle like honey. I use a couple of dip sticks in my glue skillet when I need to add glue in larger amount to my projects. I mostly use a wooden stick like a wooden spatula, but on occasion I have used a chip brush with natural bristles with a wooden handle or even a leftover floral greenery stick. Note: Metal heats up with along the glue so don’t use metal with your skillet. The only metal I use “briefly” and “working quickly” I dip a floral stem that has a steel pick on the end for a about few seconds just enough to get glue on the pick so that I can insert my stem into my project.
Finally, my last tip is regarding hot glue strings or spider webs as I call them. It is nearly impossible to avoid them. I found that using my personal everyday type hair dryer on a low setting to lightly blow around my wreaths and projects once I have completed my final design easily melts away those pesky spider web strings.
7. Floral Wire – Floral wire is used many parts of the wreathing and silk floral design process. Used to attach signs, silk floral stems, greenery, and bow making this is one tool you will need a generous amount of on hand. I recommend using a minimum 22” gauge floral wire. I personally use the 22” gauge pre-cut green floral wire but using a 22” gauge paddle wire is suitable for use as well. Below I have a few recommendations for some of the various types of floral wire I use and can be added to your wreath making and crafter maker toolbox as you continue to grow and learn throughout your wreath making and crafting journey:
26’ Gauge Silver Paddle Wire: This wire is perfect for attaching metal signs to your wreaths. It is light weight but strong enough to hold metal signs easily to your wreath forms and thin enough that is not highly visible.
Bind Wire: This wire comes in several colors, but I mostly use brown as I design especially when using a grapevine wreath base. With bind wire you can easily attach floral stems, greenery, and other elements to your wreath bases and silk floral arrangements. The reason I especially like to use it with grapevine wreath making is because the color blends in so nicely and is not bulky and is very flexible and easy to manipulate.
Rustic Wire: This is a thicker wire and works perfectly for making your own wire hangers for you wreaths, it’s especially good to use with grapevine wreath making, it blends so well and looks like a natural part of the grapevine wreath.
8. Wooden Floral Picks – Wooden picks are essential to use when you encounter a stem that is too thin to hold in place within your wreath or if you need to extend the length of the floral stem. These picks come in few sizes, so I keep a variety on hand. You can easily wire the stem to the wood pick, in addition, I will also use floral tape and wrap around both the wire, stem, and wood pick for added security. Once this is done, you can add glue to the end of the wood pick and place it in your wreath base. Ideally, a Steel Pick Stemming Machine is the best and most efficient tool for this process, but for beginners, wooden floral picks are a more cost effect start to your wreath making. I explain the benefits of using a steel pick machine in #19 below.
Floral Steel Pick Refills for the Stemming Machine: I use 2 1/8″ steel picks and purchase my steel pick refills online here.
Designer Tip: In addition to using wooden picks in your wreath making, they are also perfect to use when designing silk floral arrangements. Adding wooden picks to your floral foam to build up your foam in your containers will secure the floral foam together and stabilize your base when inserting your floral stems in your containers. I recommend watching my “Tips and Tricks for Makers” YouTube Video where I show you How To Foam, Glue and Moss Your Containers.
9. Floral Tape – Floral tape is a must have staple in both your beginner and advanced maker toolbox, you will use floral tape to wrap and secure your floral stems to the wooden floral picks. I generally use green, brown, and white floral tape it depends on whether I use an evergreen, grapevine, or white flocked wreath base. The trick to using floral tape is that it needs to be slightly stretched as you pull it around the wood floral pick or stem making it stick to itself to ensure the tape has secured your stems.
Designer Tip: In a pinch I have also used a painter’s tape and even washi tape to aid in creating grids on top of my containers which help me align my floral stems during the design process and is especially useful when creating fresh floral arrangements just in case you want to give fresh floral arranging a try!
10. Heavy Duty Staple Gun – Using a staple gun helps attach wooden signs to your wreaths. You can do this by stapling a chenille pipe cleaner or you can use floral wire placed on the back of the wooden sign. I add a dollop of hot glue to the top of the staple to add security ensuring the staple does not work its way out as I attach the sign or later after hanging your wreath.
If you have a thin wooden sign, I recommend first building up the surface so that the staple does not go thru to the front of the sign. You can build it up by using felt, folded ribbon, or a Zip Tie Mount. If using the mounts, I recommend first placing a drop of Rapid Fuse Dap Glue on the wood surface then add the mount on top and press firmly giving it a minute or two to set.
11. Chenille Pipe Cleaners – I use pipe cleaners for a multitude of purposes. Bow making, sign attachment, floral stem extensions, floral foam stabilization, as ties on diy wreath forms and more. I also purchase these in bulk and a variety of colors. You do not always have to use coordinating colors, but I do try to closely match it to help hide the mechanics.
12. Bow Maker – Bow Making is probably the number one struggle of most beginner wreath makers. Making hand tied bows is an especially hard skill to master but with patience and practice you can learn to make beautiful bows. I learned how to hand tie bows from another maker about 30 years ago after an encounter in a local mall. I personally prefer to hand tie a majority of my bows but have used a few bow makers and find them very helpful especially for beginner bow makers. Here are few bow maker options you may want to consider in using to assist you as you make bows if you struggle or do not yet know how to make bows by hand.
13. Rotary Cutter – Rotary Cutters are mainly used to cut fabrics, but I have found that it is the perfect tool to cut mesh as it helps keep the mesh from fraying and does help to cut a straighter line. Caution in using a rotary cutter because it has a very sharp edge. I always keep the safety guard on when I am not using the cutter. You can find my favorite cutter here and some replacement blades.
14. Self-Healing Cutting Mat (Gridded) – These mats have so many uses. While it mainly protects your work surface while cutting, the grid ruler can also be used to measure out your ribbon tails, bow loops and mesh or anything else you may need to measure.
Designer Tip: I mark my most used measurements right on the mat as quick reference guide while I am in the design studio. You can use a sharpie pen or colored tape which ever works best for you.
15. Zip Ties – I use zip ties a lot especially when making Deco Mesh Wreaths, but they have a lot more uses such as attaching floral stems and floral foam to wreaths, baskets, swags, garland, door hangers, railing and in bow making! I use a variety of sizes to suit the project I am working on. I also keep several colors on hand that allow me to easily match my bases and helps hide the mechanics of the wreath and projects.
16. Metal Hole Punch (1.5mm) – This tool easily makes small holes in metal signs so that you can thread wire thru and attach the signs to your wreath and many other types of bases.
17. Greening Pins – These pins have many uses such as securing ribbon, mesh, ornaments, wreath enhancements, and floral stems to Styrofoam as well as many other floral foam surfaces. It also helps secure your moss to floral foam helping hide the ugly foam giving you a more professional look to your designs. For added security, I sometimes dip the ends of the pins into my hot glue skillet then insert them where needed in my wreath and silk floral arrangements.
18. Ribbon Rulers – Lately, these rulers are seriously one of my most loved tools so far. They come in several different sizes from 6” to 14”. They help you measure out your ribbon evenly and allow you to cut multiple ribbons at one time. I recently made my own personal ribbon rulers they inexpensively to make and decorated them using paint and scrapbook paper. Look for an upcoming pdf with my instructions on how I made mine.
19. Steel Pick Machine – This is not necessarily a beginner makers tool but is one that I think helps speed up the wreath making process. It attaches a steel pic to your floral stems and can be used in addition to or in place of wooden floral picks. It is a higher price investment but saves so much time and really helps you to easily insert your stems in both wreaths and silk floral arrangements.
Designer Tip: Be sure after using steel picks in your designs to check the back of your wreath and any other projects to make sure they are not sticking out. You can use your needle nose pliers to turn the ends of the picks into the wreath and away from pointing outward at the back of the wreath. You do not want to scratch yourself or a customer if your selling wreaths or the surface where your wreath will be hanging. You can always use leftover floral leaves and glue them on top of the steels picks after inserting and completing your final design, this gives the back of the wreath a softer surface and hopefully keep injury or surface damage to a minimum.
The Floral Steel Pick Refills can be found here. Remember, I recommend using 2 1/8″ Steel Picks.
20. Mesh Roller – I cannot say enough how much easier it is for me to cut my mesh using this roller. And Susie Brown had created this awesome tool. It helps keep the mesh in the perfect position as I move around my wreath forms adding in the deco mesh as I go this is the perfect tool to use when making deco mesh wreaths. You can also use it to hold ribbon as well. Susie has several different types of rollers and I’m sure your going to find one that suits your wreath making needs!
I hope this Wreath Making Tools for Makers and Crafters List will help guide you as you learn and continue grow on your wreath making and home decor journey. I would love to know if you have a favorite wreath making tool or if you have found one not listed above please comment below, I would love to hear about it!
Check out my YouTube Channel Sweet Tea Makery where I share video tutorials showing you in person many of the tips and tricks I mention above.
XOXO, I am looking forward to sharing more about The Art of Wreath Making with you!
Peggy – Owner & Designer