I always love a good wreath for the holidays, but this year Joanna had the great idea to try something different, specifically a bough (as in “deck the halls with boughs of holly”). I love the way this holiday decor option still incorporates all the natural elements of a wreath, but offers a different shape to work with. A Christmas bough can stand on it’s own on a wall or door, but can also sit atop artwork or a mirror, adding holiday charm to any space.
BTW, I’ll be hosting a wreath workshop on December 3rd at OOLA Distillery in Capitol Hill. If you live in the Seattle area, we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be making wreaths from blue spruce, cypress and juniper to create a unique, fragrant beauty to adorn your home for the holidays, all while sipping on hand crafted hot toddies featuring OOLA spirits. Click here for more details and tickets!
Ditch the Wreath & DIY This Modern Bough Instead
- Live branch — we used a branch from the maple tree in Joanna’s front yard
- An assortment of dried flowers such as dried chocolate lace, dried gomphrena, dried pearly strawflower, and dried baby’s breath
The first step to make a rustic bough like this one is to forage a tree branch. I prefer to use a live branch cut from a tree because it is less brittle and a little more flexible. A dried branch would be fine, too. We cut this one from the maple tree in Joanna’s front yard and I just love it’s shape and the spray of branchlets on the end. It really is so beautiful even on it’s own!
To prepare the branch for adding all the bough ingredients, loosely wrap the center with a section of floral chicken wire. I created a small enough bunch of wire that I knew I could fill it and cover it with botanical elements, but large enough to add in all the ingredients I wanted to. I secured the chicken wire bundle to the branch tightly with two zip ties. Trim the ends of the zip ties.
Next, I added the ilex branches to the bough. I love the touch of red and the berries add a festive vibe. Next, create the base and add shape to the bough with the ilex branches. Spread them out in opposite directions from the chicken wire.
After that, fill in the space with all the other dried florals, saving the dried chocolate lace and the tallow berries to add at the end. The chocolate lace stems are long and whimsical and it’s much easier to place them once everything else in filled in. They are perfect for adding some additional shape to your arrangement. Pro tip: I had to cut some short stems and be strategic in the center to make sure all the chicken wire was covered by flowers and berries.
Once I was nearly finished, I hung the bough on the wall. The chicken wire in the back easily hooks onto a nail or picture hook. Next, add a few more dried flowers, as well as the tallow berry, which really added a pop and the perfect finishing touch.
Once hung, the ilex berries will begin to dry, but retain their bright red color. In my experience, they hold up really nicely through the holiday season. The berries are more likely to fall off of the branches if they are on a door that gets used frequently or in any place that they would get touched or bumped. Just be mindful of your bough placement. I recommend hanging your bough on a wall or anywhere it will be still for maximum enjoyment.
As always, be sure to tag @jojotastic and @thestemmery on Instagram so we can see how our DIYs turn out for you! Joanna will be sharing them in her Instagram Stories, too. It’s always so fun to see how you translate our tutorial.
Looking for even more holiday DIY projects? Try these:
- Peace Sign Wreath with Faux Foliage
- Cinnamon Stick Himmeli
- Festive Pom Pom Garland DIY
- Thick Wool Tree Skirt with Huge Braided Tassels
- Metal Leaf Garland DIY