When the holidays come to an end and you're looking toward minimizing and organizing for the new year, don't discard that beautiful evergreen holiday wreath. Instead, preserve your live wreath for safe storage or even for displaying as a part of your home decor year-round.
There are several ways to preserve and store wreaths made of fresh evergreen branches, such as boxwood, pine, cedar, juniper and eucalyptus. A desiccant, which you can prepare from inexpensive household supplies, is the easiest approach to creating a preserved wreath.
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This method is great for preserving a premade wreath that you might have purchased at a nursery or store as well as handcrafted DIY wreaths. It works for any flower or foliage, although the amount of time needed to desiccate each plant matter requires a little trial and error.
Things You'll Need
Large bowl or bucket
Cornmeal or sand
Plastic or cardboard wreath-sized box
How to preserve wreaths
1. Mix the desiccant
In a large bowl or bucket, mix one part borax to two parts cornmeal or sand. Prepare enough of the mixture to fully cover your wreath.
For a preserved wreath measuring 20 by 20 inches, you’ll need approximately two boxes of borax (4 pounds, 12 ounces each) and six 750-gram bags of cornmeal or a similar volume of sand.
Place the box on a tabletop and fill the base of the box with approximately 1 to 2 inches of the borax and cornmeal mixture. The wreath needs to sit on top of a layer of desiccant rather than the base of the box, so make sure to add enough.
3. Put the evergreen wreath in the box
Gently place the wreath inside the box so that it sits on top of the base layer of the borax and cornmeal mixture. Try not to disturb the box or allow the mixture to shift around.
4. Cover the wreath
Use a large spoon to sprinkle the Borax and cornmeal mixture over the wreath. Don't pour it from the bowl, as doing so might crush the leaves or needles and cause the preserved wreath to become misshapen.
Gradually build up layer by layer of desiccant, keeping the coverage even and making sure the mixture gets evenly arranged between all the leaves or needles.
Continue this process until the greenery is completely covered. Keep the layers of mixture loose and don't pack them down. Stop when you can't see any parts of the wreath sticking out from the mixture.
5. Let the Christmas wreath sit
Let the desiccant-covered wreath sit alone in a cool, dry place for seven to 14 days. If you need to move the box to a more suitable spot, do so carefully so as not to disturb the layers of desiccant. You don't need to cover the box, but you can place a lid over it loosely if you wish.
You can use the same method for all kinds of fresh evergreen decorations, such as preserved Christmas garlands, swags and centerpieces. It also works well for making preserved floral decor as well as preserving other types of foliage.
6. Shake off the desiccant
After seven to 14 days, carefully remove the preserved wreath from the box and shake off the desiccant. You might need to use an old paintbrush to remove the last traces of the mixture from the leaves or needles.
Storing your preserved seasonal wreath
There are many possible ways to store wreaths at the end of the holiday season. After preserving and drying out the wreath, be sure to give the wreath proper care to keep it looking its best. Here are some tips:
- Store the wreath in a sturdy, covered box.
- Place the box in a dark, dry place.
- Keep it out of direct sunlight.
- Don't place any heavy items on top of the box.
- Don't let the preserved wreath get damp.
A well preserved wreath can be a feature of your holiday decorations for years to come. With some basic household supplies and a bit of time, you can preserve your favorite fresh wreaths and other botanicals.