Last Updated: Oct 18, 2020 @ 11:34 am

Back in the fall of 2013, Hawk Hill had large but modest gates across the driveway at the front of the property. At the time, I kept these gates closed most of the time, while I let our pony, Deb, wander and mow the property to earn her keep. As a century-farm turned suburban relic as the cities on either side of the property grew and merged, suburban neighbors loved my horse, and it wasn’t unusual to see Deb hanging out along the front gates interacting with people who were walking by.

That fall, I decided to celebrate the property’s most popular feature- our horse- by making two horse wreaths. At the time there weren’t how to videos, tutorials, instructions, or patterns for making a horse wreath, but- as I love to do- I worked with it till I figured it out- and I created these instructions below in January of 2014- which have since spread far and wide. In the article below, you’ll find my original 2013 instructions for how to make a horse shaped wreath- plus new resources added in 2020 to include a video tutorial,  free PDF pattern download, and updated instructions. 

 

Keep reading for instructions build your horse head shaped wreath, or check out our related articles on making a wreath out an old horse harness collar, decorating a chicken coop for Christmas,  making decorations with old horse halters, or decorating your home for an equestrian Christmas

 

One constant in my outdoor Christmas decorating plan is wreaths on the front gates. Since many of my neighbors know Hawk Hill for the pony that grazes in the front lawn all summer, this year I decided to make wreaths with an equestrian theme.

Most people see our gate decor from 45mph, so I knew I needed to go big! I had no luck finding instructions for constructing this kind of wreath, so I decided to post instructions for those who might be curious in the future. These instructions should work for any sort of shape- It would be fun to see the same style wreath done in other interest-specific shapes.

Update 2020: In response to so many requests to buy my wreaths, a local small business is making these wreaths to sell. Order yours now or use these instructions to create your own!

 

Materials you’ll need for your Horse Wreath:

EITHERprecut horse head wreath form, OR these

 

Supplies to make your own wreath form:

1. Chicken wire, hardware cloth, or other flexible wire mesh
2. Wire cutters or Tin Snips
3. Horse Head Pattern to use as a template (see below for a free downloadable template)

 

Supplies needed for Wreath Construction:

1. Coated Green Twist-Tie Wire – You can make your own with floral wire but twisting tiny uncoated wire is frustratingly fiddly and will leave your fingers mangled after a few dozen, so get the coated wire or pick up a pack of Garland Twist Ties to make this project even easier.
3. Horse halter (optional, front-door sized wreaths will need a foal or pony size halter)
4. Green floral wire (for shaping bushy greenery into defined ears).
2. Evergreen garland – In 2014 & 2015, I made and sold a few hundred of these wreaths(!), and my best results came from using a combination of high-end faux pine greenery with cheap garland as a filler.  The cheap garland adds a nice bulk while the nicer stuff gives the finished wreath an expensive look.

 

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:

Fluff your greenery before starting, so your wreath will look full and natural. To fluff garland, begin at one end, grasp each wire one by one and bend back out from the central core at a 60-90 degree angle. With fluffed greenery, you’ll be able to use less materials and still create a wreath with a full look. Just trust me, it’s worth the extra step!

 

Wreath Making Tools Needed:

1. Thick work gloves (making 100’s of these wreaths is when I discovered and fell in love with Simply MUD work gloves, which protect without removing my ability to feel my way around for wires)
2. Pliers
3. Sharp scissors (to cut garland)

Supplies for Final Touches:

1. Red Velvet Ribbon
2. Premade Red Rosette Horse Show Ribbon 

Download My Free Horse Wreath Template: 

Grab the simple 8.5×11 if you are comfortable enlarging, or purchase the poster-sized template (tiled and in light-grey, to save ink) which you can tape together to create a wreath-sized template. 

Purchase
 
 

INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE YOUR HORSE HEAD WREATH:

 

INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE YOUR HORSE HEAD WREATH:

Time required: 45 minutes

Print or Draw a Template

Download my free PDF template above and adjust size as needed. Find or make the outline you’d like to use. I spent most of Junior High practicing my skills at doodling horses, so I just laid out a horse halter to provide proportions and sketched in the shape of the head.

(Note that if you want your horse wreath to be standard front-door sized AND have a real halter on, like mine, you’ll need to base your measurements on a foal or pony-sized halter instead of a horse size). I had so many requests I actually located precut forms for sale, so if you want to skip this step, grab a horse head wreath frame by clicking here.

Fold Wire Mesh into Horse Head Shape

Lay out a panel of wire mesh over your outline. Wearing work gloves to protect your hands, begin folding the edges inward, conforming to the shape of your outline. You’ll have to cut a bit to make the wire fit. To form the sharp corner at the throat, (for non-horsefolks: it’s called the “throatlatch”) make a cut straight up from directly underneath that point and fold each side up to reinforce the chin and neck.

Modeling with chicken wire requires a bit of rough handling, so don’t be gentle with it! You may need to add pieces or layers to get a full, rigid head. When you are happy with your shape, smash it flat.

Aquire Greenery Garland or Fresh Evergreen Boughs

(looking like a bag lady with the spoils of your Black Friday shopping, like me, is optional!)  

I mix two kinds of garland for these wreaths: Cheap basic garland purchased in bulk for filler and more authentic faux evergreen garland to make the wreath look at first glance like I used real evergreen boughs.

Add Garland to Create the Horse Wreath

Lay out your garland on the wire frame, and double it back and forth to cover the frame, securing the garland every 6-12 inches. Don’t try to make your garland go farther– a fuller look comes from packing the greenery pretty densely.

Fill Wreath Frame and Fluff Garland

 
The contours of your design may be different than mine, but this is the actual shape the garland took as my horse head wreath came together:

Secure Garland with Wire or Garland Ties

Use the folded wire pins or garland ties to anchor the greenery to your mesh frame. Start with a few very spaced out wire ties to help get the greenery under control and the end product easier to visualize, then keep adding wire ties until the greenery is completely secure and cannot be shaken loose. Continue until your frame is covered and your wreath’s shape complete.

Cut off any excess garland, then cut those pieces into 4″ to 6″ lengths. Use these short bits to add fullness anywhere the wreath looks sparse.

Wire twisted in this configuration will solidly anchor your greenery.

“Groom” Your Horse Wreath

“Grooming” your horse wreath: you may find that your horse head looks a bit untidy and un-horse-like when done. Don’t worry! With the garland well anchored at many points, you can now fold, bend, and even snip portions of greenery to clean up your horse head shape.

Tip: For the ears and any fine points of your design: green floral wire can help your ears go from bushy to neat: simply grasp the ear in a fist, forcing the sprigs to face one direction, and spiral wrap floral wire down the length. The green floral wire will disappear against the green branches but leave a distinct and neat edge.

When I was finished, my wreath seemed too bushy- smashing under a board flattened and neatened the overall appearance.

 

Decorate your Wreath

I really think these wreaths look better with horse halters on them! You can decorate them with old halters like mine, pick up a few cheap red halters, make your own with ribbon, or inexpensively build a “halter” using real halter hardware from LuckyPony.com. Most recently, we’ve started displaying ours with bright red rosette ribbons, for an extra-horsey version of a holiday bow. Pick up the rosettes here.

Add a red horse show ribbon for holiday charm and equestrian authenticity. This entire project from sketch to final hanging took me about 45 minutes for my first wreath, and about a half-hour for my second-  an outstanding value for very large wreaths that should last several years.

My favorite part about these shaped wreaths is that they are so unique! In a world where most Christmas decorations come from big box stores that sell identical items by the hundreds-of-thousands, it’s fun to have decorations that are totally unique to you!

For a reference of how the backside of this wreath should look, here’s a shot of the back of one of mine:

 

It’s been fun to see this post travel far and wide each Christmas since I originally made and posted these in 2013! So many of you have provided feedback and thank you’s, and I read and appreciate each one! If you take-on this project this year, please share a photo in the comments- I’d love to see your results!

horse wreaths on hawk hill's front gates

Step by Step Instructions for making a Horse Head Shaped Wreath - Hawk-Hill.com

 

Related Equestrian DIY Projects:

Outdoor Christmas Decorations outside of horse stable entrance- saddle and package decorated with snaffle bit

Styling an equestrian Christmas

How to DIY your own Custom Shape Wreath Forms

At first, creating an evergreen wreath from scratch can feel intimidating, and you may be tempted to purchase a wreath frame. Wreath frames can be a time-saving shortcut, but sometimes cost as much as a finished wreath! By making your own wreath frame, you can create a custom wreath in a completely unique size and shape.

Since creating this horse wreath in 2013, I’ve seen versions of evergreen holiday wreaths in sports and dog breed shapes– telling me that people are getting creative and making their own weath frames. The above instructions outline how I made custom wreath frames for my original front gate horse wreaths back in 2013.

After I posted this tutorial in January 2014, by the next holiday season that tutorial blog post had gone viral- modestly- with hundreds of hits coming in from Pinterest everyday. As a tack store owner at the time (FYI: a tack store is basically an “equestrian pet supply store”), I couldn’t skip the opportunity to start making and selling both horse wreaths and horse holiday weath forms to sell in my shop and on my website.

The next two years (until I sold my tack store in mid-2015), I would start making horse wreaths and horse wreath forms each October, and by mid-November my hands would be raw from garland wire twisting. When I made shaped wreath forms to sell I did so by using heavy gauge hardware cloth (the same mesh wire often used in small animal cages).

To make my reforms I followed the following steps:

 

Design a custom shape (refer to how I created the shape of the horse head above) and draw or transfer it on to your working surface. In my case, I used heavy magic marker to draw the horse head directly on my countertop-height plastic folding table. (If you want to protect your work surface, put down sticky contact paper first, and draw the pattern on it)

Next, I’d unroll my hardware cloth and give it a little bit of a counter bend on the side of the table. This helps prevent it from curling back up into the role that its ships in.

Working swiftly, I placed my hardware cloth over the shape drawn on my table, and use a big chunky magic marker to “draw” the design on my wire. I found that regular sharpies were not robust enough to make a mark easily visible, so I switched to using Chisel Tip magnum sharpies, which left a very clear mark on the silver metal wire mesh.

Once I had transferred my pattern to the fencing material, it was time to cut out my wreath form. I cut the first several dozen or so using simple tin snips– which is basically a type of scissors for metal and are the tool I recommend if you only need to cut a few of these wreath forms. However, with orders for more wreath forms pouring in and my hands aching from cutting out horse wreath forms by hand, I had to search out a better option.

That’s when I found out about electric tin snips. I had some expedited to me and they immediately upped my productivity by double. But then, to make things even easier, I tried clamping my electric tin snips to a workbench. That, my friends, was magic! If for any reason you find yourself working on a project where you have to cut massive amounts of fencing material, electric snips affixed to a sturdy surface (so you can manipulate the material rather than the cutting gun) is the way to go!

After my wreath forms were cut out of the fencing material and I had a horse head shape of mesh to ship to someone to build a wreath with, there was just one step left: preventing cuts from the now sharp and exposed wire edges of the metal material, Initially, I tried just folding over the edges to create a blunt outer rim. This worked well but took forever, so back to the drawing board I went.

After some experimentation – and even shipping a few finished wreaths with their frame protected by simple duct tape (which is not a professional look, even if it was hidden from the front!), I found my solution: Plasti-Dip. Plasti-Dip is a plastic-type liquid that goes on thick and dries soft and cushy- it was developed for making those soft dipped handles on tools. Poured into a shallow container, Plasti-Dip was the perfect material for coating the exposed ends of my wire horse wreath frames. Once all edges of the frames were dipped in this plastic coating, each had a soft, blunt, cushioned tip, safe for kids and adults to handle during wreath making, hanging up, or storing.

86 thoughts on “How to Make a Horse Head Shaped Horse Wreath for your Home or Farm”

  1. this is adorable! Can you tell me the cost of the materials to make it? How much chicken wire does it take to make one horse head?

    1. Hi Kathy! Thanks for your question. I used 2 garlands which I got on sale on Black Friday for $10 each, less than $1 worth of wire, and some scrap chicken wire (gosh, maybe originally a 4 foot by 4 foot section, that I scrunched up)

      1. Lindsay, this is a fantastic idea. I just love it!!!! Thank you so much for sharing it!!! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!!

        saddlebrat

  2. these wreaths are just the greatest!!!! I train racehorse and I would like to make some for Christmas gifts! what exactly is the semi-rigid wire? I hope I can do this for friends!?!?!? I make jewelry so I hope I can pull this off! Lol! and if you have any other tips, please tell me as I am a first timer! you’re the best for sharing how to make the wreaths as some people just cannot afford to purchase them. you are truly a very good person.
    Cynthia Milano
    p.s. I live in Saratoga springs, new York…..truly horsey town. : )

    1. Hi Cynthia! Thanks for your comments! Actually I think for this project I may have used wire from a roll of electric fence wire. 😉 You can also just go to a hardware store and tell them what you are making and they should be able to set you up with a small roll of wire for under $5.

  3. hi again lindsayanne! im a bit confused. ok…I know what electric fence wire is, as my dad and I had a farm. but what part of this project is it used for? thank you! cynthia milano

  4. actually I have another question…..am I supposed to weave through every square of the chicken wire? Cynthia milano

  5. Have you ever done this with balsam boughs? I make wreaths and people want me to make these for them with balsam Could it work thanks

  6. lindsyanne, I apologize for bothering you but I am having trouble getting this horse head wreathe making down pat. question…..when I weave the greenery, what lengths do I cut the greenery into as it doesn’t seem I can weave the whole 9 feet as one long piece. thank you sooooooo much. Cynthia milano

  7. Just wanted to thank you for the instructions, I live in northern Minnesota, so of course I want to try this with fresh pine. Can’t wait, on my way our to get chicken wire right now:)
    We raise miniature horses, so this is soooo perfect. If it works out, all my horsey friends will get one!

  8. This is totally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks so much for the instructions. I too am going to try this. I love horses and my family is into horse racing. I sure hope I can pull this off. Yours looks great!!!

    1. Yes! I am making a few to sell this year, you can order via the links below:
      Large Horse Head Wreath (sized for barn sides, fences, gates, etc)
      Medium Horse Head Wreath (sized for front doors)

  9. Thank you so much for your step by step instructions!!!! It is such a fresh breath of air to see a talented woman who is willing to share the instructions. Thank you very much!!!

  10. oh my attempting to make one for my daughter thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talent so freely given one happy daughter if I succeed

  11. These are absoltutely awesome Lindsayanne~! Thank you so much for sharing the instructions. Can’t wait to have one hanging on our barn- 😀

  12. Hi Lindsayanne, I am in the middle of making a wreath, but I am having 2 problems: 1. When I try to feed the florist wire over the garland and tie it on the back of the chicken wire, I can never see it coming out on the back side. Pathetic, I know. But do you have a secret on how to use the wire or twist ties? 2. I also may be doing it wrong. (I probably am). When looking at your wreath, it is 2 sided. I have been laying the garland on top of the chicken wire and [trying to] tie it down. But this results in a one sided wreath (which is all I need for the barn doors). But, should I be weaving the garland in and out of the chicken wire to make the finished product look thicker?
    THANK YOU so much for being so kind and considerate to us newbies. I am not crafty, but I am trying hard. 🙂
    Pam Mahony
    Southern Pines, NC

    1. Hi Pam! Thanks for your questions! My wreaths are not double sided! The chicken wire actually just blends in really well once it’s all snugged up together. Regarding your question about getting the wires through- I would NOT use floral wire for securing the greenery to the frame- it’s just too thin to hold up well long term AND it tends to bend rather than poke through the greenery- making everything harder. Originally I used plain heavy wire to secure greenery to frame, but having made lots more now here’s what I’d advise- get to the store and find wrapped floral stems (a heavier gauge wire with a grippy wrapping that makes it much easier to tie) and get the package of 20 or 22 gauge wire- cut into 5″ lengths, and use that to tie your greenery onto the frame. Also, be sure you are working in a very, very well lighted area- it makes a big difference!

      1. You might try zip ties to anchor it, I use it to put garland onto metal wreath forms. Would love to try this, thanks for the instructions.

        1. Zipties can help stabilize the garland while you add wire ties, but the plastic in zip ties begins to break down when exposed to UV light (outdoor display) and extreme temperatures (storage in attic/garage/etc). If you’re making this wreath for outdoors I definitely recommend floral wire or garland ties.

  13. Hi Lindsay, I finally figured out a method that worked for me! Since I have needlepointed countless pillows and belts, I treated the wreath like a needlepoint; 4 forward, 1 back. This way I can do wreaths that are full on both sides. It takes about 3+ garlands and about 90 minutes, but I love them! (PS: I am selling them cheap to get lots of orders. No one on this FB group would pay what they are really worth. (And I do not ship.) 😀
    Thanks a MILLION for showing us how to do it!
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/253718777990721/

  14. I will try this with real pine tree branches for my own use. I have a very inexpensive source (a tree that is dying on our farm & another that I can trim off some branches) Once the pine dies, I’ll save the form for next year & use it again. Thank you for the step by step directions! I was trying to figure out how to make a form, that might be the biggest challenge for me, as well as drawing a horse head, but with your directions, I’ll give it my best shot!

  15. thanks for sharing the step by step instructions – these are truly brilliant I think I could be busy over the next few weeks making these for the girls at the stables 🙂 Thank you again from England.

  16. Hi Lindsay, do you have any more horse head forms for purchase for the wreaths? I would love to try to make one but I think using your pre-made form would be easier.

    Thanks for sharing the instructions. Thanks!

  17. What a blessing you are to share instructions. Some of us have to make our own, because of financial circumstances. I hope you are very successful in your sales. This is a delightful design.

  18. Like many of the others, I want to send a big thank you out for sharing your method and pattern with all of us. You can bet I will be making one (well ok, at least one! 😉

  19. Thank you so much for the great instructions, I can’t wait to get started. I think I may have purchased the wrong size halter though. I just noticed that you mentiond a cob sized halter….is this what you recommend? I went ahead and ordered a horse size before I read it through and I’m not sure if it will fit properly.

    1. Thanks so much for your interest! Unfortunately no, we’re having so much trouble keeping up on orders for these that I’m not able to do any discounts. My slightly numb snips-holding hand insists on it. 😉

  20. It might help some to spray the chicken wire with Fix All green spray paint for wood or metal. If making more than 1 horse head wreath, just stack forms together and spray all at once to conserve paint. Using 18 or 22 gauge floral tape wrapped wire cut into about 5 or 6 inch pieces bent into a “U” shape might help, too. Hope this helps.

  21. I am so happy to find your site! I am a DC for a US Pony Club and I think we may make these as a fund-raiser for our club!!! You are so wonderful to share all of this info!
    Thank you!!

  22. Would like to know what size halter to get for the medium horse head wreath – is it COBB or PONY? My frame should be arriving today – can’t wait to get started. Thank you

  23. Received your form and the ends are all enclosed in black tape. I started to take it off and noticed there are sharp edges in places. Am I supposed to remove this prior to adding the greenery? I think I should but am awaiting reply – thanks

  24. I bought a colt/yearling size halter and it was too big. Not wanting to spend any more money on a halter if I didn’t have a horse, I found red velcro and used the fuzzy strips to make a halter. It was fastened with eyelets and split rings and worked great.

  25. Lindsayanne: Couple of ?s here. I’m a handicapped/disable male in So. IL and also currently fighting stage 4 cancer in the abdomen. I have four families that I would love to make these for. My concern is I cant draw(1) and mine would look horrible; would I be better off to purchase the form pre-made. Is there any discount for ordering more than 1 of the same? Im talking a pony size wreath.2) I want mine to have the long mane as well. I thought I saw it on here but couldn’t find it again. Hard for me to see the computer sometimes too What do I need to make the long mane and how much of it for 4 pony horse heads? 3) What if I wanted to make the ‘inside’ of the ears look more ‘natural’ and what would one use for the noses, eyes, etc? Would putting some kind of greenery or grass in the mouth make it look like it was eating, maybe even hay??? Or would it look to ‘corny” 4) Can you put white lights on it too for some flair? Maybe a set of 50 or so? Let me know what you think. What price could you offer for four of the horsehead (pony). We have a Rural King nearby where I think I could pick up some pony halters for cheap and we have a Hobby lobby close by as well. Pine cones added anywhere? Just FYI …Years ago I dated a lady who’s sis had a flower shop and at busy times during the year we would help make things so that’s where I learned how to do some of this stuff. Do you ever use a glue gun on any of these. Sorry for sooo many ?’s. I’ve added your site to my favorites list so I don’t ‘lose you’

    1. Hi Scott- thanks for reading! I actually don’t sell any of these (wreaths or forms) anymore, just refer out to companies I know that do- they might be able to do custom designs for you. I love all your creative ideas and I would just say give them a shot and see what happens! I’d use dark green floral wire for any special details you want to create- or works great, can be bent and moved after it’s added, and if you don’t like the final result you can pull off the wire and start from square one!

    1. Thanks Virginia! I’m not sure if you read the whole article but I do include step by step instructions. You can print them out if you need a print copy to refer to while you build your own.

  26. Great idea. Maybe I’ll make a reindeer version. I’ve put this link on the Starcross News page on Facebook. Maybe you could add a Facebook share button to this page?

  27. Hi : I’m making horse head wreaths for my gates. I’ve used cedar for the head and body, but I don’t know what to use for the mane. Is it pine or fir? I want branches that will provide a “flowing” look. Can you help? I live in Western Canada

    1. Hi Sue- it sounds like you are using live greenery? I’m really not sure- as you can see I did not detail mine and didn’t add pinecone eyes or a mane to my horse wreath, I like the simple outline and have not experimented with details, so I couldn’t say.

    1. I added garden stakes for stability, which could help flatten- but first try rolling the wire loosing in the opposite direction that it wants to roll- you might be able to cancel the bend in the wire that’s making it want to roll.

  28. ok so i have a question im 13 and a bit poor but my gma loves horses she use to own some when she was younger so i want to make her one for Christmas but i can afford garland right now so would real evergreen work i live in the country and plenty of evergreens

    1. Hi Chasity, Yes- live evergreen would TOTALLY work and look lovely. To create the wreath with live evergreen you’d use a similar process, but wiring individual small boughs to the frame. I bet your grandmother would love it!

      1. thanks i hope so to im doing the frame out of chicken wire like you because thats all i had found it in the woods left over from my fish trap but looking for the right pine tree to hack some branches off with my hatchet and use some red ribbon for the halter and thanks for the idea

  29. I took your instructions and made a Yoda head for my son with his son’s help. We made it fit into a box I already had so he’d have a way to store it and I could gift wrap it. (I would post a picture but I don’t know how to do that here.) He loved it.

  30. Hi. I may be a little late to the party here, lol I just saw this. I was wondering if you had tried it with all natural elements? I have those trees all over our property. I will buy the form. We just moved to a new house and my craft room is a disaster! But I’m thinking if I tried to use greenery probably best to do outside anyway. Any advice you have would be appreciated. Thanks!

  31. Hi!
    Thank you for posting instructions for the horses head wreath. I’m a miniature schnauzer lover and saw a picture of a wreath done like the head of a miniature schnauzer and loved it. Could never find instructions and I’m not knacky enough to venture into wreath making without guidance, that’she where your instructions came in. I played all afternoon in the basement putting the wreath together and rereading your post to guide me. So, just wanted to thank you for posting & let you know that you inspire others to create. Happy holidays!

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