I’ve been saving this project to share with you guys for months, and I’m so excited today’s the day! This homemade wreath is the perfect home accent for the holiday season. Even better, it’s got a backstory.
Some of my dad’s favorite hobbies are hunting and fishing, and my parents’ house is full of relics of his exploits like mounted antlers and photos of ice fishing, fall hunting and early morning summer fishing outings. My family’s love of pursuing wild game goes back generations, and my dad’s dad even retired to a log (literally, made of logs) cabin on a lake in Minnesota. He also built that cabin himself, just so you know the amount of rural Minnesota cred my dad’s family has. :D Since I grew up in the big city of Fargo, ND, I only get tangential rural points from my dad, grandparents and cousins.
The vast majority of my crafty upbringing is thanks to my mom, who originally made this wreath in the early ’90s using feathers from a pheasant (or two?) that my dad bagged on a fall hunting trip. I’ll be honest, this wreath takes a long time to make, but the results are beautiful and lasting. The wreath pictured is about 20 years old! Just make sure that if you’re using feathers from a recently-live animal that you properly clean them. Wild game can carry lice and other not-so-nice things.
clean pheasant feathers
styrofoam-friendly (acrylic) paint or spray paint
2 paper clips
Paint your styrofoam wreath using an acrylic spray or other paint. It has to be acrylic or the styrofoam will disintegrate. Let dry.
Uncoil a paper clip and pierce small pilot holes into your dry, painted wreath. Going at a rate of about half a dozen at a time, I poked my pilot holes, placed my feathers and repeated again. And again. And again.
I recommend starting by inserting the longest feathers you’re working with first, so that when the wreath is hung up, the longest feathers are closest to the wall. As you work your way toward the middle of the wreath, start incorporating the smallest and most colorful feathers so that they’re most visually prominent. Here are some close ups of my mom’s handiwork:
Pheasant feathers really are beautiful, aren’t they? As I shot the photos for this post, I noticed so manyÂ fuchsias, reds, blues, and interesting patterns.Â
To hang the wreath, my mom used a cut and bent paperclip, like the one below. It looks like another hanger was used at one point in the last two decades as well, based on the holes you can see near the paperclip hanger.
I essentially had to beg my mom, with some help from my dad, to ship her beautiful wreath from the frozen tundra of North Dakota to the mean streets of Chicago for me to shoot and begin re-creating for this post. A big thank you goes to my mom (and dad) for their help with this post!
Next month, I’ll be heading to what promises to be a very white Christmas at their house in Fargo. I’ll be sharing lots and lots of crafty finds from among my family’s holiday decorations. And just as a teaser, my family is of Norwegian and German descent, so I’m very much planning on raiding my family’s recipe books for delicious treats to share with you. Can you say sandbakkels?
The wreath used in my project was provided by FloraCraft. You can find FloraCraft products at major craft stores.