My Eco-Friendly DIY Advent Wreath

DIY advent wreath (eco-friendly!)

As regular readers know, I’ve slowly been trying to incorporate observances of the Liturgical Year into my life, to help bring more consciousness to the Holy. (As a Mennonite/Evangelical, it’s been a challenging undertaking.)

This year, I was really eager to start using an Advent wreath during the season of Advent. (For newbies like me: an Advent wreath sits on a table — usually your dining table — and holds four candles, for the four weeks of Advent. You generally light them before dinner, along with a prayer.)

Starting out, I knew I wanted a few things.

First off, I wanted to use beeswax candles. Conventional paraffin candles are always problematic, as they fill the air with toxins as they burn; but I especially wanted to use something safer when it came to candles we’d be burning near our faces and our food. I didn’t like the thought of inhaling carcinogens as we prayed and meditated on the coming of our Lord.

I was delighted to discover Toadily Handmade Beeswax Candles (via Carrots for Michaelmas. Thanks, Haley!), a small business that also makes Advent candles. I purchased a set of the Advent Tapers.

Yes, they cost way more than dollar-store candles. But beeswax is known to emit negatively-charged ions and actually clean your air of allergens and toxins (rather than further pollute your home). Plus they smell nice and aren’t made from petroleum, a gross, non-renewable resource. Moreover, the rest of my wreath was basically free, so I don’t mind the extra cost for the candles.

homemade advent wreath

(If you’re curious about the symbolism behind the candle colours, read more here.)

Second, I knew I wanted to make my own Advent wreath. In part, because I don’t even know where you could get an affordable Advent wreath; and second, because it seemed like a fun and easy project. (Random side note: isn’t it a little strange that we could probably all name a dozen places from which we could buy a Christmas tree in the month of December, but probably not a single place where we could get an Advent wreath? Lame. Our traditions are kind of messed up.)

Anyway, I searched the internet (especially Pinterest) for some DIY ideas, and found a bit of inspiration.

I came across a lot attractive wreaths that had a styrofoam base. Others used plastic foliage or flowers. I didn’t love the idea of using nonrenewable resources like that. Again, it didn’t feel right worshiping the Prince of Peace using a tool made from materials that contributed to the destruction of the world he came to save.

I went to Hobby Lobby to look for materials and candlesticks, but wasn’t totally satisfied. I only came home with a $4 10-inch grapevine wreath (which I could have made myself, because I have wild grapes growing in my back yard. If I could do it over, I would take that route — I’m slightly unhappy with the realization that the one I bought was probably shipped over from China. Totally unnecessary.)

I decided to get creative and use as many natural, recycled, and/or scavenged resources as possible. Besides, I remembered that Advent wreaths were originally made from things like evergreen branches, and in fact there’s a lot of symbolism attached to using greenery. (Evergreens symbolize continuous life. The circle of the wreath represents the eternity of God and the everlasting life found in Christ. Together, the wreath is meant to remind us of eternal life.)

Since I couldn’t find any candlesticks to my liking, I found an old glass honey jar and anchored my candles in it with Epsom salt (to give it a snowy effect). I decorated it with some unbleached cotton cooking twine.

I went into my back yard with some pruning shears and gathered some greenery — some juniper and holly branches. I didn’t need much.


Then I just wove the branches into the grapevine base to create a full, green wreath.

It looked a little plain, so I dug out my stash of autumn stuff — pine cones and acorns I’d gathered on our nature walks — and hot-glued a few here and there. (Pine cones and other seeds also symbolize immortality).

I set the candle jar in the middle, and voila. My very own Advent wreath!

advent wreath

This year, we’re using the prayers I found here. They’re very short and simple, which is perfect when you’ve got a hungry toddler present at the table. These prayers also use language we’re used to, so we don’t feel like imposters trying to be Catholic.

And while I’m bragging about my crafty accomplishments (because that’s SO Jesus), allow me to show off the wreath I made for my door:

Christmas wreath made from all-natural materials

For this one, I did use grapevines from my back yard, as well as more juniper and holly branches. I hot-glued a few pine cones and acorns, and tied on a wooden letter Q with some raffia that fell off my autumn wreath. We ran out of branches with red berries, so I walked down the street and stole some berry branches from a neighbour’s yard. Just like Jesus would do. Wait, what?

*Please note that I am not an especially crafty person. Anyone could do this, I’m sure.*

Do you use an Advent wreath? Where did you get it, or did you make yours, too? What prayers do you use?

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  1. The daily prayers you linked to are just four of the O Antiphons, which are traditionally prayed December 17 through 23, aka, the last week before Christmas. Which is great, but in case you wanted something else to look up. ;-) Oh, and that’s where the verses to O Come, O Come Emmanuel come from.

    I am jealous of your wreaths. Weaving branches into an existing form sounds hard, much less making the form itself from scratch! They look lovely, and I love the thought you put into the materials you used. We don’t have many around here, much less all those pretty red berries! But I’ll keep my eyes open and see what I can find.

    I’ve actually never done an Advent wreath at home, just at church. I would like to, though.

  2. well done!!
    tacy recently posted..Advent: How it’s goingMy Profile

  3. Lovely! The pine cones and acorns are a beautiful finishing touch.
    I’ve wanted to do the different colored candles but I make my own beeswax candles and haven’t exactly figured out how to color them yet!
    This year our wreath is an old enamel bowl that we found and the candles are held in place with chicken grit (sounds lovely right?) and that is covered by moss from our forest. We like unusual around here that’s for certain.
    Marissa recently posted..The Practice of Advent: 5 Ways to Embrace Hopeful AnticipationMy Profile

  4. So beautiful Kathleen! And you convicted me of my cheap store bought votive candles. (Also they smell dreadful), so I’m making up some beeswax “votives” in silicone muffin trays with cinnamon and clove essential oils. They’ll all be honey yellow, and a bit fat, but they’ll smell nice and I’ll feel good about them burning. Hooray for foraged wreaths!
    Amy Rogers Hays recently posted..Engaging Advent: Reflections on Preparing for ChristmasMy Profile

  5. I love the wreath on your door especially.

    Really greenery on the table is so much nicer than plastic. :)

  6. I think you’re craftier than you give yourself credit for. Those wreaths look nice. We have a few indoor cats so we can’t actually light anything on fire here. There is a beautiful advent wreath at our church. I know at least in our tradition, the candles go on the wreath itself and the inside is saved for the white Christ candle that gets lit on Christmas Eve night (traditionally midnight so technically Christmas Day).

    I teach 3 & 4 grade catechism class at our church and one of the things we go through is the church year. During advent I make paper advent wreaths with them and we “light” (glue paper fire to to paper candle) a candle each week in class. They have fun with it and as they cut out their pieces in the proper colors, we get to discuss what each thing symbolizes. Hmmm, maybe it would be a good how-to for my blog…

    Anyhow I love that you are getting into the observation of Advent. It is one of the most special times of year.
    Michele recently posted..Night Weaning – The Key to Sleep?My Profile

  7. Your wreaths are absolutely lovely!

    Advent Blessings~
    juanita recently posted..Advent ~ Some PerspectiveMy Profile

  8. I love your wreaths! Our family has also been slowly learning to celebrate advent over the last few years, and it’s become one of our favorite seasons. We’re not very traditional: our “wreath” is woven in between our everyday taper candle holders, and we have yet to order purple candles (we’ve just been using white). It works. :)
    Melissa Camara Wilkins recently posted..The Whole Family Gift Guide #3My Profile

  9. Yes! Those Advent prayers you linked to are awesome for young kids. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Another idea for another year: what we had growing up for our Advent “wreath” was a thinnish slice of tree trunk that my dad had cut from some tree somewhere that someone had felled. He drilled four holes around the diameter for the smaller candles, and then a larger pillar candle that was only lit Christmas Eve and until Epiphany (if I remember correctly) just sat in the middle. If you get a slice of a decent diameter, there’s plenty of room for decorating with greens between the centre candle and the outside ones. Now I need to go get a tree slice for my own home!

  11. Thanks for the shout out. You did an awesome job on your Advent wreath! Happy to be apart of your Advent season.
    Toadily Handmade recently posted..DIY – Create Your Own Fall Themed Candles With Simple MaterialsMy Profile

  12. I love this! I meant to make one last year but time got away from me because we all were sick on and off at the start of the season. Praying I get to make one this year. So far so good in the sick department. Thanks for the inspiration! Only wish we had all that beautiful foliage in our yard! :)
    Amanda recently posted..Currently: Museum Mondays and moreMy Profile


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