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Perhaps because the internet is quite US-centric, I don’t often see home decor made with Australian native plants. I think this is a real shame for two main reasons. Firstly, many Australian natives are absolutely stunning and much of the flora is totally unique. Secondly, many Australian natives have properties that make them ideal plants for home decor projects. Certain plants, such as wattle and eucalyptus, can be dried very quickly, which makes them quite useful for any DIY project you need to complete in a hurry. Further, most Australian native plants retain much of their original beauty even when totally dry. This makes them an ideal choice for garlands or wreaths that need to last for a few weeks or need to be made in advance.
Given how lovely Australian native plants are to work with, today I want to share this DIY Australian native wreath I made a few days ago.
Make your own DIY Australian native wreath
To make your DIY Australian native wreath, you will need:
- A wire wreath form OR a coathanger
- Strong tape such as duct tape or electrical tape
- Floral wire
- Good scissors (I personally use and love these Kokuyo scissors – the darn things cut everything)
- A piece of rope or string (to hang your wreath)
- A variety of Australian native greenery, pre-dried.
Some preliminary notes:
- Here is a picture of the Australian natives I used in my DIY wreath. The bottom left and top right are wattle branches. From a quick google search, I think the bottom left is ‘Queensland silver wattle’ and the top right is ‘Golden rain wattle’. The bottom right is eucalyptus plant, but I’m not up to the challenge of picking out its exact species from the 894 species of eucalyptus native to Australia. If you know what type of eucalyptus this is (or if I have made a mistake identifying the wattle), please let me know in the comments. I’ll be very grateful for your wisdom as I am only just learning how to identify sub-species of Australian natives.
- I used pre-dried leaves for my DIY Australian native wreath. I dry my leaves by tying them in bundles and hanging them from a beam in my garage. You can use fresh leaves, but bear in mind that they will lose some volume as they air dry.
Step 1 (optional): Make your wreath form
To save money, I like to make my own wire wreath forms from wire coathangers. A wreath frame made from a wire coathanger costs me 20 cents to make (I buy the coathangers in a 10 pack for $2), whereas pre-made wreath frames retail for approximately $6AUD. Major savings.
To make a wreath frame from a coathanger, pull a wire coathanger apart and bend it into a rough circle shape, like so:
And that’s it! Your frugal wreath frame is ready to go.
Step 2: Trim & sort your branches
I like to prepare and sort my greenery before I begin any DIY wreath. Having branches pre-cut and sorted makes the creative process so much more relaxing. You can just mentally switch off and enjoy things rather than constantly pausing to hack at an extra long branch or ugly leaf.
To prepare your leaves for your Australian native wreath, begin by snipping off any ugly branches and leaves. Then, trim your branches so that they are roughly the same length. Don’t worry about getting them perfect. You want some variety in length, just not a massive variation.
After I trim my branches, I like to pre-sort them into bundles roughly equal in size. This is useful for two reasons. The first is that you don’t have to pause to sort your branches while making your wreath, which makes the whole process a lot quicker. The second is that sorting your branches helps you be sure you have enough greenery for your project. Nothing sucks more than having to stop when you’re 90% done to go buy (or, in this case, find) more supplies.
Step 3: Begin construction on your DIY Australian native wreath
Once you have trimmed and sorted your branches, it’s time to start constructing your wreath.
To begin, grab one of your bundles of Australian natives. Secure your branches to your wreath frame with floral wire, wrapping the wire tightly around the branches and wreath frame a few times.
Do not cut the wire. You want to use one continuous piece of wire for the whole wreath. In my experience, this provides a much firmer hold than tying each bunch to the frame with an individual piece of wire.
Grab another bunch of branches. Lay them slightly over the top of the first bunch but a little further down. Wrap securely with floral wire.
Repeat until you have covered the wreath form entirely.
(If you look carefully, you can see the few little wattle flowers still hanging on. They’re so cute.)
Step 5: Add rope to hang your wreath
Once you have attached all of your branches to your DIY wreath, it’s time to add a little rope/string so you can hang your wreath from a hook.
Find a slightly sparse spot on your wreath. Wrap the rope around this spot, tying both ends together in a knot to create a loop.
All that’s left is to hang your DIY wreath wherever your heart desires.
I put mine over the top of these old cabinet doors that I upcycled into wall decor a few years ago.
I love how the different shapes of the leaves add texture to the wreath.
I also love how the different shades of green all come together. The benefits of using only native plants – they naturally go beautifully together!
If you’re from Australia, have you made any home decor with Australian natives? If you’re from overseas, what plants native to your country do you like to use in your craft projects? Let me know in the comments below!