Oh, how I love tillandsias! After making off with a boatload of them from my recent trip to Reno (thanks again, Sierra Water Gardens!), I knew immediately that I wanted to make a wreath with some of them.
It would be very easy to start with a craft store grapevine wreath. Very easy, indeed. But I feel like I have used too many of those lately–and I was thinking I wanted something a little less chunky. So I decided to build a more slender wreath form, using raffia-covered craft wire and a length of store-bought grapevine.
I began by measuring out three lengths of raffia wire (I measured approximately 54″ lengths, which by the time you twist and bend and shape, etc., gives you approximately a 17-18″ wreath form). Twist these together into a single piece, twist the ends together, and bend and shape the wire to create a circle. (The more lengths of wire you twist together, the sturdier the form will be–go ahead, do four, five–get crazy).
Next, cut a length of grapevine to fit exactly on the form of the wreath.
Every so often along the length of the grapevine, you will find little bits of wire lashing it together. One by one, undo these, and lash them back around the grapevine and the raffia wire to secure the whole thing.
Now we are ready to start attaching some air plants! There are a couple of ways of doing this: fishing line, thin wire, or non-toxic glue. I prefer (and happened to have on hand) wire. You want to carefully thread the wire (or fishing line works, too) through some of the base leaves the plant and then twist (not too tight, just enough to be secure).
Now place the plant where you’d like it, wrapping the wire around the backside of the wreath form and twisting to secure. I also like to put a dab of hot glue on this back twist (being VERY careful not to get any on the plant itself), just to give it a little extra hold. Try to attach your plants so that they hang horizontally, as this is how they would attach themselves in nature, and this will help prevent water from collecting in their armpits (where the leaves join the plant–I’m so scientific), which is not good for them. If you must attach them so they sit upright (which a few of mine are), you may need to lay the wreath flat when you mist or rinse the plants (this is how you should water them).
Add plants to your heart’s content! When you are happy with the arrangement, tuck some bits of moss in and around, securing with a bit of hot glue when necessary (again, being SO careful not to get it on the tillandsias).
For some reason, I had it in my head that I wanted a couple of tiny floating air plants in this thing. So I selected some small specimens, threaded them with wire, and then attached them to the top of the wreath (twisting and securing with hot glue there). I then applied bits of sheet moss at random to the rest of the naked wreath using plenty of hot glue (also covering the spot where the hanging plants’ wires attached to the top of the wreath).
Hang your wreath in a protected area with bright, indirect sunlight, and be sure to water regularly by misting or running under water, depending on climate and plant type. For a great article on how to care for your tillandsias, check out this post on FloraGrubb.com.