In August, we launched a new Craft Project with Diana Ching who will set a series of creative projects every Thursday on our website and social media to give you ideas of things you can work on at home to build your own piece of art over a period of weeks.
This week’s project is called: Poppy Wreath
We’re approaching the time of year that we associate with that very poignant occasion – Remembrance Day, or Poppy Day – when we remember and pay tribute to those in the Armed Forces who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The concept of “Poppy Day” began after World War One, during which much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. The countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over repeatedly, turning previously beautiful landscapes to mud. These were bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow, with one notable and striking exception – the bright red Flanders poppies that flourished in their thousands in the midst of chaos and destruction.
The humble poppy was adopted as an official symbol of remembrance, and artificial poppies began to be produced in their millions to raise money for service men and women – a tradition that is still thriving 100 years later.
Poppies to be worn on the lapel are on sale almost everywhere at this time of year in the lead-up to 11 November. You can also make your own tribute using simple materials. The following project, a craft poppy wreath, might be quite time-consuming so I’m posting this now to give you time to gather what you need.
To make the base for the wreath, find a piece of sturdy cardboard (corrugated is ideal). Draw round a circular object (7-8 inch diameter is about right) and cut out the shape. Within that, draw a circle 1-1.5 inches smaller, and cut that out. This will give you the basic “ring” onto which your poppies will be attached.
For the poppies:
- Gather whatever oddments of red paper, fabric etc you can find and cut out lots of similar, not necessarily identical, poppy shapes. You’re going to make quite a few so vary the materials you use to give an interesting effect. Patterns are fine in moderation – you can use some artistic licence here!
- If you’d like to incorporate some painting, paint poppy heads onto a piece of watercolour paper and cut them out.
When you have a good handful of these, start arranging and sticking them onto your cardboard circle. Overlap two or three to give variety and dimension. Craft /PVA glue is fine, or a glue gun if you have one. Make sure all the poppies are securely stuck down. Carry on sticking until you’re happy with the look of your wreath. You may need to make more than you think for the best effect – less is not more in this case, we want to see a riot of poppies!
If you have any small black buttons, glue these to the centre of some of shapes to give that distinctive poppy look; if not, just colour a small circle in the middle with black felt tip. You could also cut out some leaf shapes from green card and add a few of those.
If you enjoy crochet or knitting and have some remnants of red wool, here are some poppy patterns:
This might take a while but it’s worth the effort. When you’ve completed the wreath, find a piece of ribbon, wool or similar. Red, green or black would be ideal. Tie it to the top of the ring and then tie a knot and a bow with the ends – this gives you a loop to hang over something. If you like, you could also write out a short quote and attach it to the wreath – “We shall remember” or “In remembrance”, for example.
Of course, you don’t have to make a wreath – you could make a garland of poppies, or scale things down and draw/paint a simple picture (I’m planning another poppy project next week which will include painting). Whatever you choose, you’ll end up with your own unique tribute.
Don’t forget to share pictures of your creations with us so we can admire them! If you’re happy for MFT to share them on social media too to inspire others to take part, email them to Connie Ridout, Communications Lead at MFT, at firstname.lastname@example.org