Recycled Sweater Wreath
I knew I’d design a wreath this year. I grew up watching Mom wire all variety dried flora to round metal frames. I remember a year in New Hampshire when she had Dad drilling tiny holes through walnuts and chestnuts. Mom twisted wired trios of the nuts, and the most fantastic medley of pine cones and seed pods, to a giant wreath frame. A spritz of clear gloss, then Dad secured her masterpiece over the fireplace.
So my idea here is a little warmth for your winter front door: A Recycled Sweater Wreath using felted wool.
Since I scratch more than relax if I wear a wool sweater, you won’t find any in my closet. We popped over to the local thrift store and grabbed these. I made sure that the sweaters were at least 50-percent wool (the more the better for felting).
These three sweaters and one vest made plenty of felted wool—enough for at least two large wreaths—with extra to fashion a stylish accessory or two. (I see snazzy, felted-wool evening bag in my future!)
Other materials and tools:
- Wreath frame: I used a 15″ metal frame that my husband fashioned from heavy wire. You can find inexpensive ready-made frames at your floral supply or craft store.
- Reused cardboard for leaf pattern
- Heavy-duty fabric scissors
- Floral wire
- Wire cutters
- Needle-nosed pliers
Cut each sweater apart, separating sleeves from body, front from back. Cut off any ribbing or collars and trim off the seams. You want to end up with flat panels of knit wool.
Wash the panels (like colors together) in your washing machine’s hot water, high agitation cycle, with some laundry soap. Then run the panels through the dryer.
This felting process locks together the fibers of the wool, creating a thick, durable fabric. Decide if one round through felts your material enough–I ended up running my pieces through this cycle twice. (And be prepared to reach in and “de-fuzz” your wash basin and your dryer’s lint screen after each load.)
Here’s a quick slide show of the project, and instructions below.
Click on the photo to start or pause the show. Mouse over the bottom of the photo to bring up the controls. Click the square icon on the bottom right to watch full-screen.
To make the wreath:
- Make leaf-shaped pattern from the cardboard.
- Cut leaf-shaped pieces of felted wool. For this 15″ wreath I used 72 leaves cut from:
- Two sleeves of the dark green sweater,
- One sleeve from the multicolored sweater,
- Half a sleeve from the white sweater, and
- The grey-green back of the argyle vest.
That’s it! You’re done. I’m thrilled with the idea of a Sweater Poinsettia Wreath and I can imagine it in other beautiful jewel tones. Red wool sweaters will be flying out of closets and thrift stores.
What kinds of wreaths do you make or buy for your holiday décor?