Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Holiday Decor Ideas - Festive Front Door Swag

One of the reasons we love decorating for the holidays is that holiday decorations can be just about anything to fit just about any style.  From ultra modern to minimalist to gilded lusciousness to vintage technicolor to rustic country and [insert your personal aesthetic here], a festive flare can be added to bring cheer and fun to end of the year celebrations.

Since we love decorating for the holidays, we wanted to share some the ways we like to bring a welcoming touch to our front door decor.  As there is no "right" way to decorate for the holidays, we hope you'll take these ideas and make them yours by using a your favorite bow color, materials or accents. 

Holiday Front Door Swag Ideas

 The first step for all festive front door swags is to gather the materials. You will need:

  • green floral wire
  • clippers
  • base foliage
  • accents
  • ribbon

For our base foliage we usually use fir, cedar, yew or pine.  Anything that is sturdy and dense will create a good base for a holiday swag.

Accents can be botanical and decorative.  They are used to bring extra visual interest and depth to the swag.  Botanical accents could include eucalyptus, holly, ivy, small lichen covered branches, fern, salal, dried flowers or seed pods, decorative grasses, dried citrus slices and anything else that tickles your creative fancy.  Decorative accents might be holiday ornaments, spray painted magnolia leaves or small branches, tinsel, wooden beads strung on twine, spray painted pine cones, etc.  Your imagination is your only limitation.

Your choice of ribbon is also entirely at your whim.  We recommend a sturdy, wide ribbon so that the bow size will be in balance with the overall size of the swag.  Wire-edged ribbon is also very helpful for making large bows.  (We'll show you how to make a big, beautiful bow below.)  What if bows aren't your style?  That's ok.  Practically bows help to obscure where everything is bound together at the top of the swag, but this can be achieved by tucking in a sprig of holly or securing more of your decorative elements at the top of the swag over the floral wire wrapping.

The options are practically endless.  We'll show you some of our favorite combinations.  You can use them as inspiration to select materials that appeal to you.  Whatever you choose to put together will be perfect!

To make the base of your holiday swag, select several largish branches that are relatively flat.  We usually use fir as the base for ours.  Lay the branches on top of each other with the largest on the bottom to create a tapered look that is wider at the top than the bottom.  Wrap the ends of the branches securely with floral wire.  Trim any errant branches as needed to maintain your "upside down tear drop" shape.

If your branches look a bit sparse or if you have a hole in your base, you can add smaller branches as needed by wrapping floral wire securely around the top of the branch you are adding and tying it to branch above the hole.  It's a good idea to add in smaller branches to the backside of the base to keep the cascade affect on the front side.  Don't be afraid to use plenty of floral wire to keep everything securely attached.  It's green so it will disappear into the foliage.

The next step is to curate your botanic accents.  Create small groupings of accents to add to the base.  In this example we are using dried lavender (perhaps you have some lavender that you harvested from your own garden and dried this summer!) and dried poppy pods.  Cut down the stems of your accents so they are easier to work with and wrap the ends securely with floral wire.  Leave a long tail of wire to secure it to the base.   
Tip: When arranging the grouping of accents, stagger the lengths so that the dried flower heads and seed pods (or whatever you are using) are positioned at slightly different points rather than being two uniform.

Create 3-5 small groupings (odd numbers are more visually engaging than even numbers) and position them throughout the base.  Keep an eye on the overall visual balance.  Are the groupings placed evenly through the base — side to side and top to bottom?

Tuck the ends of the grouping of botanic accents into the base so they aren't visible and secure them with the tail of floral wire you left when creating the grouping.

Add whatever other natural accents you wish at this point.  Here we added a few moss and lichen-covered branches to ours and secured them at the top with floral wire.  If needed, tuck a few small branches of the base material into open areas or to cover the ends of your accents, and secure with more floral wire.


Next add any decorative accents you are using.  For this example we used wooden ornaments and secured them into the base with floral wire.

Let's make a big bow to finish it off.  We recommend having about 4-6 feet of ribbon to make a statement bow.  We'll show you how to make the bow we used for this example and then you can tweak it to suit your tastes.

How to make a big, statement bow

Step 1: Allow yourself 6 feet of ribbon.
Step 2: Turn the end of the ribbon away from you.  Grasp the ribbon 2 inches from the end and the ribbon in front between your thumb and fingers so that you create a 4-5 inch loop on the left side of your hand and the end of the ribbon leaves a 2 inch tail on the right side of your hand.


Step 3: Continue looping the ribbon away from yourself (this will cover up the end of the ribbon) until you have 3 loops on each side of your hand that are approximately 10 inches across.  It can get a little cumbersome to hold all of this in one hand.  Think of it like holding a bunch of playing cards in your hand.

Step 4: After your last right side loop, bring the ribbon to the center and add it to the ribbon you are already holding (as if it was one more playing card in your hand).  Leaving an 8-9 inch tail, cut the ribbon with your free hand.

Step 5:  Draw the ribbon loops you have been holding in your hand together so that loops gather and scrunch together and your tail is hanging off the back.

Step 6: Using the trusty floral wire, tightly wrap the center of the loops where you have been holding them together.  Wrap it a bunch of times to ensure it is secure and leave a long tail of floral wire to secure the bow to the top of the swag.

Step 7: The tail of ribbon can now be wrapped around the center of the loops a couple times to cover the floral wire.  Tuck the end of the ribbon into the back of the bow and secure with the tail of floral wire before attaching the bow to the top of the swag.

Step 8: Fluff the loops of ribbon if they became a bit squashed (this can easily happen when assembling a wired-ribbon bow) and gently tug the top loops up slightly and the bottom loops down slightly to create full appearance.

To hang the swag we suggest attaching a loop of, can you guess? — floral wire to the back where the base branches are secured together.

Another holiday front door swag combination we particularly love, because it uses materials common around our San Juan Island, WA farm, is fir and cedar for the base with lavender, salal and madrona branches for the accents and finished with a simple gold bow.

For a different take on a festive combination we also like cedar as the base with eucalyptus, gold painted branches and lavender as the accents and topped with a green and metallic bow.

We use a lot of lavender because, well...we're all about lavender.  But this is where your creativity and personal holiday style should come into play.  Choose a base material, accents and ribbon that suits your preference.  Anything goes!  Just have fun, that's the most important part.



    1. Wonderful! Do share an image of your creation. We LOVE seeing the beautiful things others make.

  2. Hello. I am a customer of yours and have purchased your products for many years. I need some advice.
    I planted some lavender plants about 5 this spring and they are already flowering. Do I cut the stems on first year plants? Or leave to die and then cut back in spring for the first year of the plants life?
    Thank you in advance for your advice!

    1. We are always delighted to hear from a fellow lavender enthusiast! Thank you for your ongoing patronage and love of lavender!

      How wonderful that you’ve added lavender to your garden. Yes, you will want to prune your plants this year.

      This blog about pruning (https://blog.pelindabalavender.com/2020/09/how-to-prune-lavender-for-winter.html) is pretty comprehensive. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate. We want to help you get your lavender plants started off on a happy, productive tenure in your garden.