It seems like I often miss the beginning of Advent…
When Advent starts the last Sunday of November I’m always scrambling to dig out something to make an Advent Wreath. I know, you aren’t supposed to, but I make a new one each year, and it’s usually not a wreath at all, but a collection of candles that hang out together because, I have just never been fond of pink and purple tapers in a circle of fake grassy-looking greens. All of his means I am often a few days behind and end up in a rush. We integrate an Advent Wreath with a Jesse Tree, which is a daily activity, not merely weekly like a traditional wreath. (If you don’t know what one is, there are great ideas for a homemade Jesse Tree and DIY ornaments over here at RCA’s site.) But… Back to Advent…
Imagine then my delight when I realized that my usual rush was not necessary this year.
Saturday night, my momentary panic was cut short as I realized: I have another week to get ready!
So early Monday I raided the candle cupboard, found some greens, and my really great cake stand that I use for all-the-things, and devised a plan. Then, in one part of one afternoon, I pulled everything together for our 2017 Advent Wreath. And I must say, I think it turned out fabulous-o.
And just in case Advent has caught you by surprise…
I have written up some quick directions and included some FREE printables so that you can have a little less stress and a little more joy this Advent season.
First off, the supplies for your Advent Wreath…
This post contains affiliate links. More information on that here.
The goal was to make up a beautiful “wreath” with what we had on hand. With a little ingenuity I think you can to do the same. In case you can’t find something in your cupboards, I have included ideas for alternatives, and links so that if you must you can let the post office bring the supplies to you.
A Cake Plate or dish of some sort to put the candles on. I picked up my 12″ cake plate years ago, who knows where, and have never for a second regretted the red! If you have nothing, you can use a square of wood or cardboard. Maybe just paint it or make sure to use plenty of greens to hide it. The purpose is to contain the candles and greens and protect the surface below from wax.
Five Candles Traditionally, the four outside candles are colored and the middle candle white. I had white candles and only white candles, so that is what we used. I am all about reducing trips to the store. Mine are 3″ across.
Scrapbook Paper in neutral colors, or some scraps of card-stock.
Greenery If you have greens outside your house, grab them and use them. My sister happens to be dreadfully allergic to many evergreens, so in order to ensure she visits us during the holidays, and leaves alive, I used fake greens that have been left over from past projects. I also found a few pine cones and applied a bit of whitewash.
Twine I think raffia would also look pretty here if you don’t have twine. Or perhaps even some yarn. If you have none of the above, here is a link for twine similar to, but a different brand than, what I used. Regency Baker’s Twine Cone red and white
Stamps You could just paint or draw the numbers on the candle labels if you have no stamps, but I used these from my friends over at Iron Orchid Designs. They are incredibly easy to work with and this set is ridiculously useful. I have gobs of their stamps and use this set more than any other. A note about IOD. I know the sisters personally and have been given many supplies for free. That said, they are high quality and I would spend all my hard earned money on them in a heartbeat, except my kids and husband would complain if I didn’t feed them anymore. Yes. They are that good.
Red Ink (if you are using stamps.) I have no idea what brand of ink I use, because it is left over from our wedding invitations many moons ago. I do know it is archival quality.
Copper Metallic Wax for antiquing. I love this one called Prima Marketing Art Alchemy-Metallique Wax-Rich Copper Art Alchemy. But if you have one you love, use that.
A Stamp Block is not required, but if you use repositionable stamps like IOD makes you will agree that it’s practically magic. This is the one I use for most projects. Prima Marketing Prima Stamp Holder Block, 6-Inch by 8-Inch
And finally these free printable candle wraps.
Putting the Advent Wreath together…
- Begin by cutting out your wraps. Depending on the size of your candles, you may have to trim the edges. Wrap the bands around and glue in place. I used hot glue.
- Using a stencil (or the can of metallic wax, like I did) cut five circles, about 2″ across, from your scrapbook paper.
- Stamp the numbers 1-4 in the middle of four of the circles, or paint or draw them on. These are the four candles of Advent and are lit the four Sundays before Christmas.
- The 5th circle is stamped with a “C”. It is the “Christ” candle and is lit Christmas eve or Christmas morning, depending on your tradition.
- Using a very dry brush, brush a small amount of the copper metallic wax along the edges of the number circles to add a bit of texture and patina.
Traditions can vary among family and church denomination, but in our house the order of the candles are:
1: The Candle of Hope and Expectation ~ the band for this candle has “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” on it.
2: The Bethlehem Candle, the Candle of Preparation ~ the band for this candle has “O little town of Bethlehem” on it.
3: The Shepherds’ Candle, the Candle of Joy ~ the band for this candle has “Joy to the World” on it.
4: The Angels’ Candle, the Candle of Love ~ the band for this candle has “Angels from the Realms of Glory” on it.
5: The Christ Child Candle ~ the band for this candle has “Away in a Manger” on it.
- Glue the numbers onto the correct candles and tie a piece of twine around.
- Arrange the candles on your plate or board and fill in with your greenery.
- Relax. You are on your way to a beautiful season of Advent. Wreath and all.
Does your family use an Advent Wreath…
And if so, do you have one that has been used a long time, or do you make a new one each year? How do you incorporate Advent into your traditions? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear. And don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with all the shenanigans going on over here at Naturally MandaRee.