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Short lengths of dowels or moldings make up these wreaths.

Short, crosscut slices of dowel or wooden molding are the building blocks for these holiday wreaths. They make easy projects for the whole family. You need only glue--no nails--to hold the parts together. And you can make wreaths big enough to hang on a front door or small enough to adorn a tree.

We selected simple wooden shapes: circles (dowels), half- and quarter-round moldings, and triangular chamfer strips.

Cost and amount of wood depend on the size of the completed wreath. The large front-door wreath started with 6-foot lengths of 3/4-, 1-, 1-5/16-, and 1-5/8-inch softwood dowels (about $20). For the random-length triangles of the centerpiece, we used two 80-foot pieces of 3/4-inch chamfer (about $6.50).

The candle wreath has "leaves" made of half-rounds that measure 1-3/4 inches. This molding may be hard to find, so you could make it by gluing two pieces of 1-inch quarter-round together. You'll need 4 feet of the half-round, and an additional 2 feet each of the 1-inch quarter-round and 1-5/8-inch full-round. Cost should be about $12.

Most molding is pine, but as size increases, cost rises dramatically--especially in doweling. Look for less expensive fir or even mahogany doweling.

The front-door wreath and the centerpiece have backing boards for the wood. Use 1/8-inch plywood or tempered hardboard, and cut slightly less than the wreath size you want so it doesn't show.

First you slice and arrange the pieces.

The most time-consuming step is slicing The moldings or dowels. Except with the chamfer strip, each piece should be the same thickness so successive layers have a uniformly flat base. A radial-arm saw is fast and easy for making repeated same-size cuts; you could also use a table saw. A miter box would help make controlled cuts with a handsaw, but this takes longer.

After all parts have been cut and lightly sanded, cut the backing board or draw an outline of your wreath on scrap paper. (Waxed paper will make glue drips easier to clean up.) Experiment with the placement of the individual pieces to develop your own patterns and textures.

For the candle wreath, we added brass candle holders above 1-5/8-inch dowels, but you could also choose other types of holders, like glass votive candle bases.

Then come glue and paint

Remove all pieces but the bottom layer and start to glue on the overlapping pieces. Make sure glue bonds each piece to its neighbor or at least one upper piece.

Let the wreath sit overnight, then remove dribbles of glue and paper and seal or paint your wreath as you like. Add bits of greenery, satin ribbon, or shiny glass ornaments as counterpoints to the wood.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1985
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