Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reuse & Repurpose: Wonderful Wreaths

I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but if you're making your gifts and decorations like I am this year, the prep time is upon us! And I'm on the lookout for bright holiday ideas that won't break the bank.

Just feast your eyes on these shimmery, sparkly wreaths made from old Christmas ornaments by the super-talented thrifter Sonya Collett of Dime Store Thrift. Sonya started making her holiday wonders last year as a blizzard was making its way toward her home in Sioux City, Iowa. "I always seem to start projects at inopportune times," she says. "But once I started making one I couldn't stop, and the entire dining room table was covered in wreaths, tinsel, hot glue sticks and old Shiny Brites."

Sonya tapped into her passion for thrift shopping and combined it with her love of purchasing old ornaments all year long. "I love any old Christmas decorations and get giddy when I find nativities, plastic Christmas junk from the '70s, old strands of lights .... ALL makes me pretty giddy!"

As she hits her local Goodwill (her favorite shopping haunt) she always keeps her eye open for vintage Pyramid and Shiny Brite ornaments as well as goods that were made in West Germany or the United States. "Any color, any size, just let it be old," she says. "And you know, I love the ornaments that you can tell have been used, hung on the tree year after year using an old string or twist tie. I want the ones I find to have been loved. So if there is etching in there, bring it on. But I will not shun a box of never-used Shiny Brites!"

You, too, can make a wreath of holiday ornaments by following Sonya's easy tips.

• For your base, use an evergreen wreath or wrap a twig or foam wreath in a long strand of tinsel garland using a twisted piece of sturdy wire that will end up at the top to use as a hook.

• Arrange and spread out the ornaments you want to use. Sonya keeps hers sorted by color in wire baskets so that she can see what she has available.

• "Heat up that high-heat hot glue gun, baby!" she says. "And keep a LOT of extra glue sticks at the ready; you do not want to run out in the middle of this project."

• Locate your most spectacular ornament and affix it to the top of the wreath by squeezing a generous amount of glue onto its backside. Press into place and hold for about 20 seconds. ("It will sort of melt the tinsel as it affixes; don't let that scare you. But please, be careful to not get burned by the glue!!" she warns. "I can't EVEN begin to tell you how bad that hurts."

• Then add the rest of your ornaments, using odd sizes to fill gaps and create visual texture, and soon, your one-of-a-kind wreath will be ready to hang.

Now doesn't that just put you in the spirit of the season?

If that's not enough, be sure to stop in frequently to visit Sonya at Dime Store Thrift as I've heard she's gearing up to do a special giveaway of my book The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details. What's more, if you're the winner, I'll even sign it for you!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifiter


  1. Oh how I adore those wreaths. I have had quite the glue gun burns myself making my own!Giveaway sounds so exciting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love seeing these,but I rarely make them. I've been into using scraps of vintage fabric to make ridiculously easy "rag wreaths" this year.

    I have amazing respect for the hot glue gun! Do not take it's name in vain, it will scorch you and make you pay! Craft these things slowly and START NOW so you're not tempted to rush!

  3. I'm definitely going to make one of these out of my stash of old ornaments. Some of the vintage ones are broken at the top, so it would be great to recycle them.

    A tip about using hot glue guns: Keep a bowl of ice water nearby in case you have a burn!


  4. I've been admiring her wreaths for awhile. Don't know if I can tackle one of those these years but with those posts and past one about glittering I've started becoming a lot more flexible in my thrift shopping. I'll pickup more Christmas stuff because of what I can do with it once I get it home rather then just because of what it is at that moment.

  5. I have everything I need to make one of those fabulous wreaths. Maybe this was just the inspiration I needed!

  6. these wreaths are beautiful.also love your book.

  7. I love her wreaths and trail of glitter she scatters here and there while crafting and listening to showtunes!

  8. Sonya has inspired me as well, with those fabulous wreath concoctions of hers. They look good enough to eat, all old fashioned Christmas candy with bows and tinsel and vintage ornaments. Looking at those visions from the past I am taken back to the early 60's when as a wee one, I would gaze up through the branches of our tree and watch the bubble lights work their magic on ornaments that in themselves were a work of art. Well deserved kudos!


  9. I've been admiring Sonya's wreath's, too, and have recently been thrifing wreaths, ornaments, etc. to try it myself. I even found one of those large, expensive wreath holders for $5 at the thrift store(and brought it home with me!). Soon I will get brave and try to make my own wreath.

  10. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is my signature cake! Have you ever made a Double Layer one?
    I have!!!!

  11. This wreath is on my To-Do list! I can't wait!

  12. Love that wreath - will try it this weekend!!!

  13. I need to get crafty!! Love this & hope to add one to my decor soon!! Love reading about your finds!!

  14. She's inspired me to bring out the glitter for sure!



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