I made a DIY rag wreath and not only was it fun and easy, but this craft is also sustainable.
I love the process of making these wreaths. There’s something quite therapeutic about making something artistic out of fabric you already have. If you’d like to create your own easy rag wreath, then follow my 11 top tips.
1) Save your old fabric ahead of making your wreath
I’d advise that you spend 3-6 months saving old fabric before you attempt to make your own rag wreath.
We use the term ‘rag’ but actually any fabric can be used as a rag. It doesn’t have to be a piece of material that has seen better days. It could be clothing, or anything else you have lying around. It is about giving new life to something that was heading for the recycling bin, by reusing it. That doesn’t mean that you have to use any old rag which is dirty or full of holes. Of course, if you do have a rag pile and you want to use them, then feel free. But don’t feel that your fabric has to be worn, full of holes and dirty in order to be useful.
That said, I personally wouldn’t buy new fabric especially for this craft, as I don’t think that’s very sustainable and actually, most of us have plenty lying around the house that we’d love to reuse. If you are drawing a blank, then ask your friend, or a family member if they have any old clothes that you could use.
You can also add fabric to your wreath that has a special meaning to you. For example, when I made a seasonal wreath, I incorporated fabric offcuts from my son’s personalised Christmas sack and stocking. I didn’t add much, but enough for me to notice it within the design. I love that it’s there, within the other pieces of festive fabrics.
2) Your rag pile – wait until you have a load of fabric
I was shocked by the amount of fabric it takes to create a fabric rag wreath. I used a 10 x 10 inch wire frame and I went through a lot of fabric to create it.
This isn’t a project that I’d like to leave half finished, so to avoid being forced into that position, make sure you have a lot of fabric and offcuts that you can work with. I also love that feeling, or turning a pile of unused material into something I can hang and enjoy in my home.
3) Consider colour and texture of your fabric rag wreath
There are no rules when it comes to creating a rag wreath. You can use cotton, polyester, netting, silk, anything. But have think about the combinations before you start, to ensure that you’ll be happy with the finished piece.
You can put different fabrics and colour combinations alongside each other, to see how they’d look. This will help you work out what you prefer and which combinations will help you to achieve the look you’re going for.
4) Map out your rag wreath before you start
You don’t have to create a plan, but if you want an element of symmetry, it makes sense to have a rough idea before you start. This will also mean that you don’t overuse a particular fabric in one section.
When I make a rag wreath, I like to approach it in quarters and I benefit from having a rough idea about which fabric I want to use and where. I take a pencil and some paper and I map out where my colours will go. It only takes me a couple of minutes, but I find that having a rough guide is useful.
5) Experiment with your rag wreath layout
The thing I love about this craft is that you can experiment. I created a rag wreath with netting and I was told it resembled a tutu. But I thought it was great and looked utterly fabulous. I wouldn’t have made it if I wasn’t open to experimentation though.
My mother in law once created a Christmas wreath wreath too. But instead of using reds, greens and whites, she used black, maroon and forest green. She also added some lights to the finished product.
6) Make a fabric rag wreath for every season
Rag wreaths are a lovely way of bringing the seasons indoors. You could literally make a fabric wreath for every season, so this is the craft that keeps giving!
In Autumn, I’ve made wreaths with browns, reds and yellows. A pastel-coloured wreath with yellows and light greens would work for Spring and if I was to make a wreath to display in August, I would incorporate colours that reminded me of Summer holidays; sea blues, bright yellow like the sun and white sand. I love the thought of creating a new wreath to welcome in the season.
You could also make one to match your home decor; to match your furniture or wallpaper.
7) A Christmas rag wreath is a must make
I loved creating my Christmas rag wreath. This is a really easy DIY craft and it’s a great December activity. You could make a wreath whilst watching a Christmas film, or listening to Christmas music. Its also really easy to do, so you can get the kids involved.
You can pop your festive rag wreath on your door to add some Christmas cheer. I wouldn’t put it outside though (unless you have a porch), because the wind and the rain may damage your craft.
If you wanted you could even make one of these wreaths for a family member as a gift. I’d imagine that grandparents especially would love a design made by one of their grandkids. Also, if you’re making one, you may as well make two, as you usually buy the wire wreath frames in packs.
8) Find your rag and cut it into strips – do this before you start your wreath
To make your rag wreath you will literally tie pieces of fabric around your wire frame. So sit down with your fabric and spend some time cutting strips before you get on with crafting!
It is up to you how big your strips are. Some people keep it very uniformed, but I prefer to make my strips rough and wild. You should do whatever you feel will work the best for your design, but I’d recommend that you make the strips around two inches wide and six inches long. You can always trim them later if you feel they are too big for your design. But cutting is much easier than adding!
9) Add the ribbon tie to your wreath when you’re halfway through
At the halfway point, you can add your ribbon. To do this, you need to work out which side is the front and where the top and the bottom is. This can be a tricky call. I would recommend stepping back and taking a picture of the different angles before making a decision.
I’d use a thick ribbon for this, so that it’s durable and lasts. You do need a piece of chunky, fat ribbon, because the material makes these wreaths pretty chunky.
10) Reinforce the wire if you need to
If you are going to use long strips of heavy fabric then you may find that your frame becomes weighed down. If it splits, don’t worry, you can reinforce the joins with fabric. Keep your eye on this, so you can firm up the structure sooner rather than later. I find it quite tricky to do if there’s already a lot of fabric on the frame.
11) If you don’t want to make an easy rag wreath – buy one
If you don’t feel as though this craft is for you, but you like the idea of having a rag wreath your home, then why not buy one? That way you could enjoy a pretty rag wreath and support an independent creator. There are lots of beautiful ones for sale on Etsy.
Turning a rag into a thing of beauty!
If you have been considering trying this craft then I hope this article has inspired you. This rag wreath craft really does warm my heart, it’s great fun and I’d recommend it to anybody.
If you decide to try making your own, I predict that you’ll catch the wreath making bug too! It’s just such a lovely craft that anybody can turn their hand to. These wreaths should also bring you joy for years to come.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2021 and has been completely revamped for accuracy and comprehensiveness.