A card wreath is a festive way to display cards on Christmas, birthdays and special occasions. I made this Sputnik card wreath to match my mid-century modern Christmas decor.
The pretty cards add to the holiday ambience, and it’s fun to watch the wreath fill up.
And it’s easy to make! The hardest part is just waiting in between coats of Gorilla Glue and spray paint. Gather your materials, and you can create this modern card wreath in 10 steps.
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Modern Card Wreath Tutorial
- Paper and pencil
- 12-inch wood circle
- 10-pack of wood dowel rods, 0.25-inch x 12-inch
- Wood circle cutouts, varying sizes
- 12 alligator clips, 1.75-inch
- Heavy objects for weighing down clips while glue dries (we used little paint cans)
- Joining biscuits
- Wax paper
- Sandpaper, any coarse grit
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Gorilla Glue
- Disposable knife
- Small paint brush
- Spray paint, metallic silver
- Spray paint, silver glitter
- Ribbon, silver
- Staple gun and staples
- Felt fabric cut into 11-inch circle
1. Find the center of the back of the 12-inch circle.
Mark it with a pencil. A quick way to do this is to place the circle on a piece of paper, trace the circle, cut the paper and fold it in half twice. The center is where the folds meet.
Cut a tiny hole in the center of the paper, place it over your wooden circle and mark the center of the wood.
2. Lay out where you want your dowel rods to go.
Point each rod toward the center dot you marked. You could space the dowel rods evenly along the circle with equal lengths, but that’s no fun.
To give your wreath a mid-century modern atomic look, space the rods at different distances from each other. Make them different lengths by placing them closer to or farther from the center dot.
Make sure the rods aren’t too short or too long. You want them long enough that they still show up when you hang your cards on the wreath later on. But you also need to make sure they don’t extend past the width of your door or space where the wreath will hang.
My door is 36 inches wide, and my wreath is 32 inches at the widest point, including the little circle cutouts on the tips of the rods.
3. Attach the dowel rods to the back side of the wooden circle.
Start by using a little dab of hot glue just to hold each rod in place so you can then apply the stronger, slow-drying glue. When the hot glue is set, use a paint brush to apply water around each rod, and then apply the Gorilla Glue.
The water activates the glue to help it foam up and provide a strong bond. Use a disposable knife to help push the Gorilla Glue under each dowel, and then put your wreath somewhere warm to dry.
Important: Don’t skip the Gorilla Glue. Hot glue alone won’t last.
4. Attach a small circle cutout to the end of each dowel rod.
Each rod tip will be hidden behind a circle cutout. Mix up the different sizes of cutouts combined with the different lengths of dowel rods.
Use the hot glue and Gorilla Glue combo described in step three to attach the cutouts. Make sure the cutouts lay flat on the rods when you hot glue them, not angled down in any direction. Let that dry.
5. Flatten and sand the bottom of each alligator clip.
The lower piece of an alligator clip is usually curved. Carefully straighten it to a flat position and sand the bottom of the clip to help it get the strongest adhesion to the wreath. We put joining biscuits wrapped in wax paper in the clips to keep them flat during the gluing process.
6. Arrange the clips on the front of the wooden circle.
Evenly space them along the perimeter to maximize your display space. Alternate the clips so that every other one faces outward, and every other one faces inward, so you can display cards in both directions.
7. Attach the alligator clips.
For the clips, don’t use hot glue. Just apply water to the wood circle, add Gorilla Glue to the bottom of each clip, and set the clip in place on the wreath. Go light on the Gorilla Glue; it expands, so you don’t need too much.
Place a heavy object like a small paint can on top of each clip to prevent it from rising while the glue dries. You might need to glue half of the clips first, let them dry, and then glue every other clip, depending on the size of the weights you use.
Once dry, cut away any excess glue that is sticking out from under the clips.
8. Spray paint the card wreath.
My wreath has two coats of this metallic silver paint followed by two coats of this silver glitter paint. The glitter helped hide some of the imperfections in the wood, and of course it’s magical. But pick the color that works for you.
Other metallic colors or fun pastels like mod pink or turquoise would be pretty. I painted mine silver to match my house year-round and tie in with my mid-century Christmas decor.
9. Attach a ribbon loop.
Decide where you want the top of your wreath to be. Loop a piece of ribbon, either in a matching or contrasting color, and staple it to the back of the wreath with a staple gun. Make sure your staples won’t go through the wood.
10. Glue a piece of felt to the back.
Use hot glue to attach the felt circle over the dowels on the back of your wreath. This will prevent scratches on the door or wall.
Hang it up and add your holiday and special occasion cards any time. I keep this modern card wreath on display year-round.
Styling Your Card Wreath
The Retro Christmas Card Company gave me the perfect cards to dress up my wreath. Designed by Diane Dempsey, these cards showcase mid-century houses, aluminum Christmas trees and festive mod cats.
Diane has a huge selection of cards to give your wreath a boost of mid-mod style, or to send some nostalgia to your loved ones this Christmas.
Find more holiday decor ideas:
- Everything you need for a mid-century modern Christmas
- Easy modern tinsel wreath DIY
- How to make a retro Sputnik tree skirt (stencils included)