If you saw my post over the weekend about how THE MIDSUMMER’S COUNTDOWN IS ON, you know that I’m pretty excited. One of the things I’ve been most excited about are the head wreaths.
My Swedish friends would probably laugh at me if I called them exotic, but to be honest, there is something so old-fashioned and nostalgic about creating flower head wreaths that they do seem foreign, enchanting, and even, well, even exotic to me.
That said, it’s all good and well to want a flower head wreath of your very own, but I had no idea how to make one.
“Oh, if only I were a Disney princess,” I thought to myself, wistfully, while standing at my window and gazing out over my
kingdom courtyard. “Then all I would have to do is stand here and absent-mindedly sing as I gaze, and a host of forest animals would come bearing flowers, and then probably some remarkably humanoid mice would assemble them for me, and a team of birds would assembly to carry it to me and place it on my head, whistling industrially all the while. If only! If only.”
And then I sighed and gazed out at the courtyard again, longing for an answer to my plight.
Fortunately, I was jarred out of my reverie by my friend Anna calling, reminding me that we had already discussed the head wreath situation and had decided to meet today to do a pre-Midsummer’s trial run. Phew. Thanks to Anna, magical woodland creatures are not a necessary part of the head wreath process. Anyone can make them in five simple steps.
5 Steps to Making Your Own Midsummer’s Head Wreath
1. Collect flowers… lots of them
You need a serious amount of flowers—way more than I thought would be necessary. For the two of us, we probably used one full grocery bag of assorted wildflowers, grasses, and clippings from bushes. I thought that maybe we needed only flowers with long stems or with big petals, but even small, short flowers can be woven into your wreath. Just go for what you think will look good.
One small caveat: if you can, look for flowers that look like they won’t wilt right away, although it’s not always easy to tell what will hold up and what won’t. The jasmine bushes are in full bloom right now and the flowers look and smell amazing, but Anna told me that the flowers start to lose their petals almost immediately. Perhaps the best thing you can do is collect a wide range of flowers the first time around so you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t as you do it.
2. Start with a small bouquet and a long thread
Choose one large flower to act as sort of an anchor, then group 4-5 flowers around it. Tightly wind a thread around them a couple of times. Take a few more flowers, repeat. You’re on your way!
Alternately, you can start with a frame made out of wire or a tree branch. This might make it easier because you can measure your head size ahead of time, but it’s also an added step that you don’t really need. We made ours without frames, but if you really want to make sure that you end up with a wearable wreath, it might be a good idea.
3. Build down and out
Continue adding flowers, grasses, leaves, and whatever else you find to your wreath, wrapping the thread tightly around each batch of additions to secure it in place. You can make a really thick, fluffy head wreath or a thinner, more delicate one. I went for the thick and fluffy effect, but it was really hard to bend it into a circle by the end. Anna made a thinner one and had a much easier time making it into a wearable wreath. Next time, I’ll probably go for the thinner wreath so that it’s easier to shape and lighter to wear.
4. Loop back towards the beginning and tie the ends together
As you’re working, start bending your garland of flowers in a ring shape. When you get to the point at which you want to finish your wreath, use your thread to attach that long anchor flower that you started with to the base of your flowers. The long flower should mostly cover the stems at the bottom, and if it doesn’t, don’t worry too much—that can be the part that goes at the back of your head!
5. Smile! (and spritz)
You’re done! Place your flowers on top of your head and smile! (No whistling birds necessary.) Lightly spray your wreath with water throughout the day to make it last longer and brighter. Depending on how big and into what shape you make your flower wreaths, you can also use them on the table as decoration, as a temporary wreath from your door, or as a hanging decoration from your tent. As they say in Swedish, “Det är bara fantasin som sätter gränser!” In English: the only limit is your imagination.
Now onto the aquavit…
There will be more Midsummer-themed posts coming this week! If you missed the introduction and background to Midsummer celebrations, check out my last post, THE COUNTDOWN IS ON. (Like I said, I’m a little excited about this…) And if there’s anything you’re curious about or would like to see covered, be sure to leave me a comment letting me know!