A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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Make: A Watercolor Peace & Love Paper Wreath

PEACE & LOVE. I’m sending it your way on the wings of butterflies and doves for Craftmas with these lovely DIY watercolor peace & love paper wreaths! The magic upcycling Susie from Handy with Scissors and I are sharing handmade treasures today, and if you haven’t seen the holiday loveliness she’s made out of spare bits, take a peek at her beautiful DIY baubles here ASAP.

Wondering what on earth this “Craftmas” is all about? Every year, a few of our favorite maker friends get together to celebrate the winter season with some kid-friendly holiday and winter-themed creative art + craft ideas. This year there are 24 of us (woohoo!) and you can follow the #Craftmas hashtag on Instagram to catch them all!

A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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For last year’s Craftmas celebration I made a modern patterned pine tree DIY garland (catch all the 2019 projects here). This year, it feels like what the world needs now is love sweet love, so in lieu of the typical holiday symbols, I opted for a more retro vibe. These peace & love wreaths are a perfect collaborative family project. Pick your palette, bliss out on zen watercolor washing, and meditative cutting, then work together to build your wreaths. Painted cardboard circles + watercolor butterflies = decidedly good vibrations.

A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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We made two sizes and a few variations for inspiration, so this project has a little something for everyone, and ideas for all ages! Feeling iffy about watercolors? All these pieces can be colored in with markers to speed up the project and keep the mess to a minimum.

For a large peace and love paper wreath you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

BASIC SUPPLIES:

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

  • Glitter
  • Crayons, salt or other watercolor process art supplies (more info in the post!)
  • Sequins or small pom poms to add decoration
  • String and/or tape to add hanging elements

TEMPLATE PAGES PRINTED:

  • 1 page of doves on watercolor paper
  • 2 page of flowers and/or butterflies on watercolor paper
  • 2 pages of leaves on watercolor paper
  • 2 pages of leaves on green card stock (or watercolor paper/white cardstock to paint your own)
A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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For a small peace and love paper wreath you’ll need:

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • An 8″ cardboard round with a 5-inch circle cutout for the wreath base
  • Watercolor paper or heavy cardstock
  • Our Peace & Love Wreath Templates Printable PDF
  • Acrylic or tempera paint to paint the wreath base color
  • Watercolors or gouache (gouache is an opaque watercolor that is a little more saturated)
  • Scissors
  • A glue stick
  • A hot glue gun or craft glue

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

  • Glitter
  • Crayons, salt or other watercolor process art supplies
  • Sequins or small pom poms
  • String and/or tape to add hanging elements

TEMPLATE PAGES PRINTED:

  • 1 page of doves on watercolor paper
  • 1 page of flowers and/or butterflies on watercolor paper
  • 1-2 pages of leaves on watercolor paper and/or green cardstock
A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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This is a project with a lot of room for interpretation, so remember as you go through the steps that there isn’t one right way to do it! You can model your wreaths to look just like ours, use the inspiration to create a variation on this theme, or even print the templates for a totally different kind of craft.

DIY Peace & Love Paper Wreath Instructions:

  1. Print our templates or draw your own holly leaf and dove shapes

    Download and print the desired template pages or our peace & love wreath printable PDF. Printing these on watercolor paper works best, but in a pinch, a heavy cardstock will work too (heavy paper is the key!).

    Note: Most watercolor paper comes in 9″x12″ pads – don’t forget to trim the pages to fit your printer before you send them through it!

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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  2. Cut a circle out of cardboard for the base of your wreath

    To prep, you’ll want to cut out and paint your wreath base. I found a bowl and a plate with the diameters I wanted, tracing the large circle on to cardboard first, then centering the smaller circle inside. Using a craft blade or box cutter, cut the middle of your circle out first, then cut the other circle.

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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  3. Paint your wreath base

    Use a nice thick acrylic or tempera paint to cover the cardboard wreath base. Let dry while you move on to the watercoloring!

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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  4. Paint your templates or hand drawn shapes with watercolors

    Time to watercolor! Break out the paints, set out a few bowls of water and paper towels, and let it flow. A handy tip for watercoloring with kids: use strips of tape to hold your paper down along the entire edge of bottom and top. This will hold the page in place and keep the water warping to a minimum.

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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    This is a great opportunity for kids to experiment with different ways of using watercolors. Try some easy watercolor resist techniques, making marks with a crayon first, or sprinkling your washes with salt. Experiment with putting a wash of water down first, adding color with an eyedropper, or using a dry brush. The possibilities are endless, and remember – you don’t have to stay in the lines or just use one color!

  5. Once dry, cut out your leaves, doves and butterflies

    Once your watercolored pages have dried, it’s time to channel your zen and get your meditative cutting on. The holly leaves are going to be a challenging shape for younger kids, so parents may want to cut these out while watercolor washes are happening.

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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    Note: We added some biodegradable glitter to a few of our butterflies – if you want to add some to your own pieces, this is the time. You can use a paintbrush to cover your piece with a little school glue, sprinkle glitter over top, let dry and shake off the excess.

  6. OPTIONAL: Make a few two-tone leaves…

    For our large wreath, we thought we’d add a colorful touch by making two-tone leaves. I found the easiest way to do this was to print a couple of pages of leaf templates on green cardstock. Cut out the green cardstock leaves and leave them whole.

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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    Once you’ve cut out your watercolor leaves, cut each in half lengthwise.

    Use a glue stick to glue a colorful half-leaf on to a full green leaf – lining them up at the center. Now you have a two-tone leaf!

  7. Arrange a composition on your wreath base

    Layout a composition on your wreath base (you can use ours for reference or create your very own!). If you’re going to bend your holly leaves and try to add some dimension as we did, a glue gun will be the best way to attach your pieces. You can gently bend and shape your holly leaves, flowers, or butterflies as you build your wreath to make it feel a little more life-like.

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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    For younger kids building their own, keeping pieces flat may be an easier option, and a regular craft glue will work just as well for that.

  8. Glue your elements into place with a hot glue gun

    To add a little height to pieces you want to stand out in front, you can hot glue a small square or tab of cardboard to the back of your piece.

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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  9. Glue a simple hanger to the back of your wreath

    You can hang your wreath by hot gluing a loop of ribbon to the back, or creating a simple hidden cardboard hanger on the back as we did. Bend a thin strip of cardboard (roughly 2″ long) into a table shape and hot glue the legs to the back (centered at the top) of your wreath. Add another small V-shape at the bottom to hold the whole wreath off the wall evenly.

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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  10. Add details with craft supplies or metallic markers

    Once you’ve glued down all your pieces, you can add small details to your wreath. We added eyes to our doves by making a dot with a gold sharpie. I cut a simple olive branch of paper to make our dove a symbol of peace. Tape a pieces of string to small butterflies to hang from your wreath. You could also add sequins, pom poms, stickers, or anything else you can think of!

    A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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Love this idea but not sure you have time for a wreath? You can

  • Make a handmade holiday card using only a few of the cutout elements.
  • Print on sticker paper, cut out and stick on to free-painted pages.
  • Make handmade holiday pins by gluing together 2 or 3 holly leaves, adding a red pom-pom “berry” and affixing a pin back.
  • Make one GINORMOUS wreath as a collaborative art classroom project
A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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However you decide to enjoy this craft, I wish you endless peace, love, and art this season! For more kid-friendly winter and holiday crafts, try making a set of *nearly* no-sew bean bag gnomes, a pinecone & twig holiday hanger, or a warm and festive felt garland.

Looking for something that’s heavy on the PEACE? Take a break from the craziness and zen out with a DIY mini winter sensory garden, or  download a set of free printable winter playdough mats for effortless kids holiday entertainment.


*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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Make a lovely peace dove paper holiday wreath. A perfect art activities for kids and adults to make together and beautiful handmade holiday decor you can use over and over. | via barley & birch
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A DIY peace and love paper wreath. Use watercolor washes on our free templates to create this lovely handmade holiday keepsake. | via barley & birch
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About Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.

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