The piles of saved wine corks finally reached critical capacity. 4 banana boxes later and it was time to delve into the world of wine cork wreaths. With the new house and a barren door, the time was ripe.
My first step was to survey online to see if anybody had already done what I envisioned. There are a number of sites that give instructions for various wreaths and an ever greater number where you can buy them, but none quite hit on the design I wanted. I did get a rough idea of materials and set about acquiring. Basically for the wreath I made you need:
- a glue gun & about 20 glue sticks
- a straw wreath form (bought mine at Michael’s for $6.99)
- a ridiculous amount of corks (mine was around 200)
- some material to make a bow, if you want one
- boatloads of patience
Step 1: Clear a large work area and cover in newspaper or some other ilk of protective covering to catch glue droplets. Uncover your wreath form. I used straw because I thought it would be most durable for outdoor hanging. I saw some who used floral foam and wire as well, but the straw made more sense to me.
Gather your corks. Here was some of the greatest time suck on my project. I wanted only to use corks from special occasions and only unique corks- no repeats. This entailed sorting through probably 1000 corks, making piles of repeats and pulling all of the special ones. It did give me the opportunity to relive all those great memories, but it took a longggg time. I finally decided to use our three most popular wines as the inner circles to make that more stable and uniform and then use only unique corks from there on out. The winners were Cline Old Vine Zin, Coppola Rosso and DaVinci Chianti.
Step 2: Now that you have your base corks picked, plug your glue gun in and get to work. Once the glue is heated, put a generous line of glue on the cork and starting on the inside circle at the bottom, begin to affix your corks.
Be sure to press them into the straw for a few seconds to ensure adherence. Try to snuggle your corks tightly together so your line does not get out of whack. As you near the end of each circle measure out how many corks you need to complete the circle- sometimes you will need to choose a larger or smaller cork depending on how much space is left. Pro Tip* Keep an X-Acto knife handy so you can cut a cork to make the perfect size to close your circle.
Step 3: Once you have all your inner circles done, let them sit about 20 minutes to make sure the glue is good and dry before you start on the outer circles. You will basically be continuing what you have been doing with the cork, glue, press, but you want to make sure nothing is going to fall off because you may want to tilt the wreath up for easier gluing.
I continued my circles all the way around to the back so there would be no visible straw when it was hung. I did not do the very last few circles on the back though because it would have made the wreath a little too bulky to hang from a regular wreath hanger.
Step 4: Figure out the orientation of your “special” corks if you are following my idea. I tried a number of different directions from random to step staggered to what I ended up with- opposite direction with just a little space.
I did see on one of the sites that this top layer could be used to hide mistakes, like if you had too much space or corks did not end up fitting tightly or they became wonky or glue got out of hand. I tried that for a couple of spots, but I did not like the look. Once you have figured out a placement (make sure to lay it out before gluing to see that it was what you want), glue the corks down and let the whole wreath sit over night to set.
Step 5: Make or buy a bow that fits your theme. I like to make my own because it brings me back to my days as a softball mom, but there are lots of beautiful pre-fab bows out there.
Step 6: Hang it and be the envy of your neighborhood!