How to Make a Cork Wreath + Food-Related Gift Ideas

Cork Wreath

Greetings! It’s that time of year again. Somehow I find myself just as I did last year, with Christmas rapidly approaching and without a single gift purchased. Yipes. I did, however, finally find a home for all of the corks I have been collecting this past year. This cork wreath is now hanging in the little cafe where I work.  

Interested in making a cork wreath? I found everything (with the exception of the corks) I needed at Michael’s Craft store:

corks (a ton … couldn’t tell you how many I used)
18-inch or 12-inch straw wreath*
pins (you know, sewing pins)
glue (I used clear craft glue … there are one million choices at Michael’s. )
a decorative berry garland (optional, but I think it adds a nice touch)
red wire (thick enough and strong enough to hold up the wreath)
2.5-inch wide red ribbon
thimble (optional, but helpful)

* I used an 18-inch straw wreath. The next time I make one of these, I might try using a styrofoam wreath instead. The problem is that the styrofoam ones I saw at Michael’s were white (naturally). I think the texture of styrofoam might hold the pins better but I think it would be necessary to spraypaint the wreath a light brown color. Might be something to consider. Styrofoam wreaths are oddly much more expensive than straw wreaths, too. Interesting. 

I basically followed the method outlined on the blog Daily Inspiration. Truthfully, I doubted the wreath would come together the entire time I spent making it. Not until I wove the berries through the corks, tied the big red ribbon around the top and saw it hanging in the cafe where I work did I accept it had all worked out.

Here is what I did:
1. Lay newspaper across a big table. Put in a good movie or turn on some good tunes.

2. With your thimble on thumb, insert pins about halfway into as many corks as you can before you get bored.

3. Working with 10 to 20 at a time, squirt some glue onto the exposed portion of the pin. Begin inserting corks at a slight angle into the wreath as tightly as you can. This is harder than it sounds. I felt like I couldn’t get the corks packed tightly enough together, but just trust that it will all work out in the end.

4. Repeat until the wreath is completely filled with corks. Carefully weave the decorative berries through the corks and around the wreath.

5. Make a big loop with the red wire. Cover the wire with the wide red ribbon.

6. Hang your wreath, step back and admire your handy work.

Please email me if you have any questions about this. I wish I had better photo-documented the process but alas I have not.

UPDATE 11-14-2012

I just received a nice email from a Reader, Janice, who shared her method, which sounds better than the way I made mine. I am going to make one this year using her method:

This is what Janice does: I use double pointed wooden toothpicks. (AK’s Note: I just purchased some double-pointed wooden toothpicks, however, and am having a hard time getting them into my corks without breaking. They were from the Dollar Store, which could have something to do with it, so I am going to try another brand as well as plastic double-pointed toothpicks.) I push the picks in the corks first and then I put glue in a small bowl and dip the end in before pushing them into the wreath. I have use the straw wreath forms, they seem to be the easiest to work with, for me anyway. I have a friend who used a floral foam wreath form. Her’s looked great too. She wrapped the form with untwisted raffia paper.

Also: If you are looking for some ideas for food-related gifts this holiday season, here is a little list I put together last year. If you have any other good ideas of your own, food-related preferably, let me know and I’ll add them to the list:

Gift Idea Header

Also, I’m refining a recipe I have for flourless chocolate cake. The recipe I have is pretty good but the quantity is so large — it’s written in restaurant proportions — so I need to scale it back and tweak a few things before I can share it with you. I made it for Thanksgiving and it was well received. My brother polished off two of these mini cakes in one sitting. He’s such a good boy.

Now, I also am wondering if any of you have a good recipe for homemade sticky buns? I really want to make them for my family over the holidays and I have about five or six different recipes on file that I have been comparing. I’m starting to get overwhelmed. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them. 

mini flourless chocolate cake

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Cork Wreath

30 Comments

  1. great idea, alexandra, and wonderful execution. i wish i was crafty. i also wish i had a go-to sticky bun recipe. as it is, i’m always let down. do tell if you find a good one!

    Reply
  2. How strange! I just took a break from working on a cork wreath very similar to yours! I even have the little red berries to stick here and there. Great minds think alike ;)

    Reply
  3. You are the most talented amazing cook blogger in the world. Every time I read one of your posts I think, ahhh, my life has improved exponentially.

    Reply
  4. I’ve never made sticky buns before (shocker!) but I would love to see how you figured it out. The cake looks beautifully crispy on top!
    I love the wreath, it looks like you spent forever making it!

    Reply
  5. Love your wreath! I am saving up the corks as of today!
    If you go to wholesale flower markets ( in Portland,Or it is where all the florists go to for the floral supplies ), you can get the brown-colour foam wreaths.

    Reply
  6. Other than decorating the tree, I haven’t done much of anything festive for the holidays. I’m going to pull out my recipes books this weekend in search of inspiration.

    I love the wreath! If only I could find enough corks. I wonder if I could make a wreath out of match books. Lord knows I have plenty of those.

    Reply
  7. I’ve been saving corks from wine bottles for a while now and was just going to fill vases with them to decorate our bar, but this is a great idea. Lovely wreath … Happy Holidays!

    Reply
  8. Oh man, I just threw out all the corks I’ve been saving for months and months (a result of watching that show called Hoarders….)This wreath is gorgeous! I’ll have to put it on my list for next year.

    Reply
  9. Love your cork wreath!

    As for sticky buns how much do you want to work? Try this link it
    gives 113 recipes. I always stick with the ones with more reviewers and all stars! Good luck.

    Reply
  10. Hi! Love your blog. Saw this wreath and had to make it. Great for Christmas gifts for my wine enthusiastic family :) … although I just wanted to know how you made everything so “tight” on the outside. Mine is very tight and together on the inside but as it fans out it gets looser and looser :-/ … any tips??

    Reply
    • Heather — I haven’t made one in a couple of years, but I just got an email from a reader with some tips re cork wreath, and I am inspired to make another one. I think I struggled with the same issue as you, and my only solution was to just keep packing the corks in as best as possible. I know that is kind of vague, but read this email from Janice, which I think (hope!) will be helpful:

      Just wanted to let you know I have made several cork wreaths. I looked at your tutorial to see if there was a different way to put the corks on. I think my way is a little easier, and I thought I should share in case you ever wanted or needed to make another. I use double pointed toothpicks. I push the picks in the corks first and then I put glue in a small bowl and dip the end in before pushing them into the wreath. I have use the straw wreath forms, they seem to be the easiest to work with, for me anyway. I have a friend who used a floral foam wreath form. Her’s looked great too. She wrapped the form with untwisted raffia paper. I have had the same wreath for about 12 years and it seems to be going strong.

      Reply
  11. What a great wreath! I have the material to make it. I just have a question, do you push the toothpick/pin from the top or side of cork to push into the wreath?

    Reply
    • Victoria, hi! I am so sorry, but I’m a little confused by the question. Let me see if I can explain what I have done in the past: I take pins (though if I get around to making one this year, I plan on using the double-pointed toothpicks per Janice’s suggestions) and stick them into the corks (through the center of the flat circular end) about halfway. This year, too, I will dip the exposed toothpick into glue before sticking it straight into the wreath. Does that make sense? Please write back letting me know your question. I’m sorry I am not understanding but I would love to help further if I can.

      Reply

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