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Do-It-Yourself: Friendly welcome

Local Etsy shop owner shares wreath-making techniques

When welcoming retirement, Helen Hu also started welcoming guests to her home in Palo Alto's Ventura neighborhood with handmade wreaths. She began the craft in 2010 by making a Christmas wreath for her front door. From there, people would ask her where she bought it, to which she replied, "I made it."

Today, she has sold more than 250 custom wreaths, mostly through her Etsy shop.

Make your own wreath with this step-by-step tutorial.

Materials needed:

• 12-to-20-inch grapevine wreath

• Silk flowers in a variety of colors and sizes

• Ribbon

• Hot glue gun

• Hot glue sticks

• Accents, such as a foam pumpkin

• Paint

• Sealer/Mod Podge

Step 1: Start by poking the stems of the medium-sized flowers around the outside of the wreath. Hu says to limit the number of colors used, which will help create a theme, whether than be warm oranges and reds for fall or bright pinks and greens for spring.

Step 2: Take the largest blossoms and work them into the front and middle of wreath. As you go, leave a blank space that will be used later to hold the accent and bow.

Step 3: Grab flower sprigs, and start squeezing them in throughout the wreath to add more texture to the overall look.

Step 4: Place green leaves around the outside at intervals to give the wreath more body.

Step 5: Connect the accent, in this case a checkered-gold pumpkin, to the wreath. Hu created this pumpkin by painting a light, foam pumpkin in white. Next, she penciled on the checkered pattern and filled in the squares with tan paint and then gold acrylic paint. The tan allows the gold to dry bright and shiny. After it was dry, she coated it with sealer, or you could use Mod Podge, she says. She then shoved two metal spikes into the base of the pumpkin so that she could slide it into the wreath.

Step 6: Add a bow. Hu says the bow can be purchased, but that people can easily learn to make them by watching YouTube videos.

Step 7: Hot glue each piece into the grapevine wreath once it looks exactly how you want it.

Step 8: Hang the wreath on the front door with an over-the-door hook, adhesive hook or nail. Or, residents can place them inside as home decor.


Calling all crafters and do-it-yourselfers: In each edition of Home + Garden Design, this Do-It-Yourself section will feature a project and simple steps to help local residents go from zero to beautiful in their own home or garden. If you have a project or skill you would like to share, please email publication editor Brenna Malmberg at


This article appeared in print in the Fall Home + Garden Design 2015 publication.

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Like this comment
Posted by Bonnie
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2015 at 3:42 pm

I'm proud to say Helen is one of my best friend, she's not only a creative artist but also extremely talented in every way! Provides expert advice resulting in a design that is beautiful as it's professional. Bonnie Y

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Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 26 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away more than $7 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. When you make a donation, every dollar is automatically doubled, and 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.