Garlands and ropes are really quite easy to make, but you need to allow yourself plenty of time both to gather the considerable quantity of materials required and to cut these into small snippets. However, you can make a welcome swag for the front door quite quickly, again using two flat conifer branches. Lash these together but not quite so formally this time, for both ends need not be equal nor their tips opposite. Aim for a crescent shape. Arrange them so that the tips of both arch downwards. Fix something behind them so that you will be able to hang the swag nicely and test it for balance.
Next, fix a piece of wire netting or a piece of plastic over the tie in the manner described for the table centre in a previous post, although you are not likely to want such a large piece of wire netting. Again, arrange the other materials as though you were filling a bowl, but remember that it will ultimately hang on its side. Don:t make it too regular and formal. Bells made from cream cartons and covered with foil, baubles of all kinds (use unbreakable ones if the arrangement is to hang out of doors) and glittered cones can hang in festoons from the centre. If it is for indoors you can arrange a bow at the back of the foundation branches. Give it several loops and see that these are long enough to show beyond the greens. The tails of the bow also should show; they should be cut on a slant, not fish-tail fashion. Customarily, ribbons are cut this way only for funerals.
Making Garlands And Ropes
You can make garlands on various kinds of foundations including wire coat hangers pulled into a ring shape. The only thing is that these are fairly small. A strong wire hoop is better and it is easier to attach evergreens to it if it is first covered. Use tapes made bythrough folded crepe paper. Swags or ropes can be made on foundations of such things as old nylon stockings or rolled newspapers.
Have ready short pieces of evergreens cut into 4 – 6 in. lengths. These have to be tied on to the foundation. For ropes it is best to begin at the tips and work towards the centre and to do a little of each end as you go; otherwise the result will almost certainly be uneven. When you arrive at the centre make a separate little spray and attach this so that theends are hidden. If you intend to hang a swag over a mantelpiece, doorway or mirror, with ropes coming down on each side, it is best to make separate lengths and to hang them to cover the joints in such a way that they look like one continuous length.
To bind the evergreens use either green garden twine or florist’s reel wire. When you bind them lay one piece in place, pass the binding material over theand pull tight. Lay the next piece on this so that it covers the binding of the previous piece with its tip 1-2 in. below that of the first to be tied. Continue this way. Always try to pass the binding between and stem instead of taking it over a and so disfiguring its shape. Not only will it look better this way, it will stay firm. Stems are not so likely to shrink as leaves.
You can see that the sprigs of green need to be fairly substantial though short. If you try to use long pieces it will not be possible to keep the outline neat and compact. If the evergreens are not bushy, bunch two or three pieces together, but you will find that one piece is easiest to use. Mixed evergreens are pretty but you need to have them much the same size, like box and yew for example. You can use pieces of larger-leaved evergreens for decoration after the basic framework has been completed.
When you make a garland work all around it in one direction and when you reach the starting point again neaten the area this way. Take a substantial though not long piece of evergreen and lay it with its tip pointing inwards and upwards. Bind it in place and lay another piece pointing in the opposite direction. At this point, and with these two pieces as foundation, arrange the decorations. Whether you use cocktail sticks or florist’s wire to mount the decorations, see that they follow the line of whatever design you have made.