I have (finally) made myself a lovely Christmas wreath out of corks and muselets from various bottles of fizz* – mostly Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, and sparkling (hard) cider**. I began the project last year with the intention of it being ready for last Christmas. But I ended up so busy with other things that the project was set aside with the intention of working on it over the summer. But the hills were calling me most weekends, so I prioritised walking in the Pentlands over crafts. (No regrets!)
Of course, that crafty delay and re-prioritisation of my “me” time meant that I needed to set aside time to finally get it done in time for this Christmas. Otherwise, it would be one of those never-finished tasks that we all (probably) have too many of. And as I want to decorate my cottage tomorrow, I had to set aside that time last weekend to finish it – with final touches last night.
This is one of my crafts that was intended to use up materials that I have been collecting and salvaging over the years. I aim to use mostly re-purposed or recycled materials and was relatively successful in this case. The only thing that was purchased for this project was the frame.
Ideally, I would have been able to fashion a frame from materials I had on hand. However, I didn’t have all the tools available to build a sturdy frame (in part because of COVID lockdowns and my shielding status) and what I did have on hand would not have been strong enough to carry the weight of the corks. (They’re heavier than you might think!) That meant that I had to purchase a wreath frame for the project. Whilst I generally prefer to “reduce, reuse, recycle” for my craft projects, this is something that will be used for many years to come and is made of recycled metal, so I feel OK about making the purchase to complete this project.
The biggest problem I’ve encountered recently in my desire to make my crafts sustainable and environmentally friendly is hot glue – which goes against my desire to limit and eliminate my use of plastics wherever I can. But, again, this is not a one-off decoration so I will try to “forgive” myself for using it. I did, however, use as many repurposed items for the wreath as possible. If I had it to do all over again, I would have purchased a thin metal wire (like florist wire) to secure the corks to the frame and to each other. (I did use old twist-ties for some of the work but, again, they are covered with plastic.)
The ribbon on the wreath was originally wrapping materials for towels that were purchased a few years ago. The tartan pattern just seemed fitting for Christmas – especially Christmas at a rural country cottage in Scotland!
I am not sure how well it will hold up outside, but I have placed it on my garden fence for now with the hopes that it lasts until the Epiphany, when all decorations need to be taken down. If it looks like the weather is being overly harsh on the wreath, however, I will bring it inside to live near the fireplace.
The gallery below should help to show how I’ve put it together. However, I am sure there are other/better ways, but this should give you a general idea for how I created the wreath. It’s not the best “how to” guide, but I hope it provides a bit of inspiration for how you can get crafty with your cork collection. Indeed, I have found inspiration for other kinds of cork wreaths, so maybe that will be a future project!
* I did not drink all this fizz on my own and corks were collected over a period of 5 years.
** Language note: In the UK, cider is an alcoholic beverage whereas in America cider is (generally) describing a non-alcoholic drink unless preceded with “hard”, in which case it’s booze.