Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Preserved, Mini Boxwood Wreaths


We have huge boxwood shrubs in front of our house and I have been wanting to try preserving some for months now.  I finally got around to this project!  I told Mr. Rubbish to stop trimming the boxwoods, so they would get tall and bushy.  This made it easy to find nice branches to preserve. 

Preserving is actually quite easy to do.  First, buy glycerin, which you can find at most drugstores.  The day I went to buy mine they were having a buy one, get one free deal, so it worked out perfect!  I still have the other bottle and I am going to trim and start preserving more branches tomorrow. 

Once you have your bottle of glycerin, you are going to make a mixture of 1 part glycerin and 2 parts water.  Heat the water and then stir in the glycerin.  Pour the mixture into a container (I used two large vases) that will hold the boxwood branches while they preserve.  While the mixture is still warm, place the branch ends in the solution 3-4 inches deep.  Place the boxwood branches in the glycerin and water right after you cut them. Some experts say to smash the ends of each branch with a hammer to facilitate the process of the stem sucking up the mixture. I thought this step was too time consuming and my branches preserved just fine without the added step.  

Now, the fun part: waiting 2 to 6 weeks for the branches to be fully preserved.  You will know the boxwood foliage is preserved when it turns a pretty golden color and the leaves still have the shiny, pliable texture.  I think I left mine in the solution for about 4 weeks, but I am not the best at keeping track of time, so it could have been more or less than that. 

Once preserved, the foliage should last indefinitely!


Since the boxwood branches turned golden (see the front branch in photo above), I used spray paint to make them green again.  This is special paint that Nancy got from a floral shop, although I think I have seen this brand at the craft store too.  I also read that you can keep the foliage green by adding green food coloring to the mixture. 


Here is a pile of preserved and painted branches ready to be made into a wreath.


I used heavy gauge wire and electrical tape to make a mini wreath form.  Then I used green, floral wire to attach one branch at a time around the frame until my wreath looked full and pretty. Using 6 fl.oz. of glycerin with 12 fl.oz. of water, I hade enough boxwood branches to make four mini wreaths.



I tied ribbon around the wreaths and hung one on my hutch at Loot.


Notice how the preserved leaves look shiny and healthy!  It really looks like a live boxwood wreath, but has the added benefit of lasting forever.

I like the Moss Green color of spray paint I used because it looks very similar to the natural color of boxwood.  Sometimes the commercially preserved boxwoods that you can buy at the stores, look too unnaturally, bright green.


I got these mini wreaths done just in time for our Christmas decorating at Loot, but I think boxwood wreaths are not just for the holiday season.  They are perfect for hanging in front of mirrors or windows all year long.


I used some dainty, brown and white striped ribbon on this wreath.


I love them hung in pairs too! They really dress up Nancy's beautiful armoire at Loot.



The mini boxwood wreath adds an elegant touch to any home decor. 




This post is linked to the parties on my sidebar.

17 comments:

Cheapchick said...

I love these boxwood wreaths. They look fabulous!

Emily said...

I am in love with these! I want one!

miss flibbertigibbet said...

Those look great! I read how to do this many years ago but at the time it seemed complicated somehow....now I see it's easy...I just need patience.....there's a slight problem!

Emily said...

Thank you for reminding me about preserving boxwood (and other greenery). Hope you will approve, I pinned your article on Pinterest.

Liz said...

Your wreaths look great! I'll have to do this now so I'll have something pretty for the long, cold spell in January. You know the one, after you take down the holiday decorations but before Valentines day. Thanks for the idea!

Gail said...

they look gorgeous and thanks for the tut !! Gail x

Shannon said...

Those would look so pretty hanging on some kitchen cupboards!
Shannon
www.akadesign.ca

Funky Junk Interiors said...

This is soooo gorgeous! And thanks for the info on how to preserve them. I'd love to try this! Any idea if it would work with cut evergreen branches as well? (wouldn't that be nice?!?)

Featured you on FJI Facebook and pinned for SNS 110. :)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150484910601141&set=a.192514281140.164586.175378011140&type=1&theater

Donna

Christie said...

Dang it! It is pitch black outside and I want to go cut bushes Right Now! Many years ago, I did this with hop vines. Pretty much the same thing. I want to try to make a topiary ball with preserved boxwood. They are so spendy in the catalogs and plastic plants just don't cut it.
Thanks for sharing.
~ Christie

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

I LOVE these! You are so much more patient than I am! And so lucky to have boxwoods growing in your yard. Thanks for linking up over at Club G.W.!

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Gorgeous!! I love these- sharing them at the party tonight~ thanks for sharing at FNF! :)

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