wreath with leaves and flowers hanging on door
(Image credit: Laura Walters via Gardening Know How)

Foraging for decorations is a fun fall activity that gets you outdoors even after your gardening for the year is done. It’s easy to create a gorgeous wreath in only a few hours using natural materials you can find in your own backyard – and the best part is it’s free! Keep reading to learn how to make an easy fall wreath from foraged plants, plus gorgeous DIY fall wreath ideas.

Foraging Vines For Wreaths

You can find grapevine wreath forms at any craft store, but it’s a lot more fun to create your own! The best time to harvest vines is late fall through early winter when leaves are falling and vines are starting to go dormant. If you harvest vines in late winter or early spring when the sap starts to flow (think maple syrup season), then your vines are likely to snap instead of bend.

Wild grapes are a wonderful choice, but you can use any kind of vining plant you have on hand to create natural fall wreaths. Willow, honeysuckle, kudzu, and raspberry canes are all good for weaving. Using foraged vines keeps unruly or unwanted plants, like honeysuckle and kudzu, from taking over your yard and garden. Yet another benefit of making a fall wreath yourself! 

If you don’t have any vines in your yard, ask your neighbors if they might let you forage from theirs. Never cut vines or any plants from someone else’s property without their permission. Most people will be happy to be rid of overgrown vines, just be sure to ask first! Once you find a good patch of vines, get your pruners and start cutting. 3 to 5 foot lengths work best for wreath-making, but you can always trim them shorter if you need. 

How To Make A Grapevine Wreath

If your vines are still covered in leaves, the next step is to remove them. Be sure not to cut off the curling tendrils. They will help hold plant material in place as you shape the wreath, plus they add lots of character. You will need at least 10 to 12 vines to create a wreath, but of course that number can vary depending on the size. A bigger wreath will require more vines. 

Once your vines are free of leaves, it’s time to gently place them in a tub or bucket of water to soak for at least one hour. Depending on how woody your vines are and how long you wait between pruning and weaving, this process could take from one hour to overnight. As soon as your vines are soft and bendy, they are ready to weave. 

Weaving With Vines

Start with the longest and thickest vine. Create a circle in your desired size. Wrap the thin end over and through the looped vine to create the base of your wreath. Pick up the second thickest vine, insert under the base vine, and weave over and through until you reach the end of the second vine. 

It’s around this step you start to realize why you don’t want vines that are too long. They can be quite unwieldy! If any of your vines are too long or too stiff at the thick end, cut them shorter to make them easier to weave. Keep wrapping each vine until you reach the end, then pick up the next thickest vine and repeat. Do this over and over until your wreath reaches the desired thickness. 

Each time you add a new vine, insert it about a hand’s width away from the previous vine end for a consistent and even look. You can weave vines either over or under, it’s a matter of what is more comfortable for you. Try to be consistent and stick with whatever direction you choose. You can alternate under and over every other vine for a more nest-like appearance, but if this is your first time weaving it’s easiest to pick just one direction.

Tuck in any unwanted pieces that are sticking out. It can be a bit tricky to weave when there are lots of little tendrils, but they are so cute and add so much character they are worth the trouble! When you are happy with your wreath, hang it or lay it flat somewhere dry and breezy and dark for a few days to weeks. Your wreath will shrink as it dries, so it’s always better to make wreaths larger than you think you need. 

Foraging For Fall Wreath Decorations

While your wreath is drying, you can continue foraging for flowers and greenery to decorate it. You can use fresh flowers or make a longer-lasting dried fall wreath. Pick your favorite fall flowers and greenery. Sunflowers, asters, black-eyed Susans, dried seed pods, boxwood and other evergreen cuttings all look great. You can also add acorns, pinecones, gourds, leaves, or twigs to your wreath. It all depends on what you can find. Every foraged wreath is unique!

How To Decorate A Grapevine Wreath For Fall

Gather your foliage and flowers, scissors or pruners, and some zip ties or floral wire. Add the biggest, boldest decorations first. Secure flowers to the wreath with zip ties. You can also use zip ties to help shape the flowers, so they bend with the curve of the wreath. Add in some green with clippings of evergreens. Weave the stems into the wreath frame or secure with more zip ties. Trim any flowers and greens that are too big to get the look you want. 

Keep adding and arranging and if you don’t like how your wreath looks, stop and start again! Play around with the arrangement before securing it. Then once you are happy, come in with the zip ties or floral wire. 

Trim any long stems and clip the tails off the zip ties. Make sure to leave some wreath exposed so everyone can see your gorgeous woven grapevines. Now the final step, it’s time to hang your wreath!

Laura Walters
Content Editor

Laura Walters is a Content Editor who joined Gardening Know How in 2021. With a BFA in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati, a certificate in Writing for Television from UCLA, and a background in documentary filmmaking and local news, Laura loves to provide gardeners with all the know they need to succeed in an easy and entertaining format. She never thought when she was growing vegetables in her college dorm room, that one day she would get paid to read and write about her favorite hobby.