October 28, 2011

When good ideas go bad.

A few weeks ago, I read about a blogger who used inexpensive pipe insulation as a wreath form. I had also seen the idea on Pinterest, so I figured I'd try it out. It seemed pretty fail safe, right? You take the insulation, make a circle, tape the ends together and you have your form!
Ha! Yeah right. This was not as easy as everyone had made it out to be! In fact, this project went south pretty quickly! But did I stop when I started seeing the signs?? Of course not. But I'll get there....for now back to the project.

I swung by Home Depot and after roaming the aisles a bit, I found a long piece of the stuff for just $1.28...score!
My goal with this project was to make a yarn wrapped wreath with felt rosettes in purples, grey, and black. So I gathered my materials and started wrapping the form with a thick yarn. One of the perks of using the insulation was not having to keep moving the bundle of yarn through and around the wreath with each wrap. That much was true. It was really easy and quick to wrap the straight piece of foam.
But that's where the ease ended. Because as soon as I started to shape the foam into a circle, it started doing this...
It buckled! I should have known this wasn't going to work, but I kept going anyway.
And don't get me started on how difficult it was to tape the ends together! I tried keeping both ends flat but it would just buckle more! So I tried cutting each end at an angle and fitting them together, but that wasn't working either. I finally just settled and taped the stupid thing together as best I could. Ha!
It wasn't pretty but I figured I would just cover this lopsided mess with rosettes and it will be fine.  
And it was. For the most part. Once the rosettes were on, I thought it looked pretty good! I loved the colors and it helped even out the shape of it.
But because the wreath was heavier on the left side and the form was so misshaped and buckled, I had to hang it off center for it to hang straight! The above picture is using the hook on the back of my bathroom door since I needed to figure out if it would hang straight. Of course, the hook on my bathroom door is centered, which means the wreath is not. Ugh. And anytime I tried to move it so it would be centered, the thing thing would swing down due to the weight of the rosettes and the buckled part of the wreath would show even more! You can see the beginnings of the buckling there in the right hand corner.

It was a mess.

Again, I should have just stopped there, but of course, I didn't. I hung it on my front door anyway. I had to MacGyver it with a little tape and managed to get it somewhat decent. I don't have any pictures of it hanging on my front door, but it looked similar to the picture above. At least in the beginning.

It hung for a few days but started drooping more and more and was slowly becoming a jagged oval! It looked awful (at least to me) so the wreath came down last night and in a fit of frustration very calm manner, I decided to just chuck it and start over but salvaged my rosettes, which were hot glued to the yarn.
I was able to save most of them, but I can't say the wreath form or yarn were as lucky.
You can see what became of the form after hanging a few days...it was a total disaster!

So what's the moral of this story, sometimes the cheaper option will cost you more in the end! I wasted yarn, hot glue, a little bit of felt and A LOT of my time in order to save a few bucks on the wreath form. Never again!

Of course, I accept that this disaster may be operator error since it seems that other folks have been able to successfully use pipe insulation as a wreath form. Or perhaps, they're just not telling you the whole story. Either way, it was a learning experience.

So with that wreath in the trash, I need to make another one. Off to Michael's...


  1. I would assume you'd need to put something rigid in the center of the insulation to keep it's form, like copper tubing, but then you're spending quite a bit of cash to make it.

  2. I totally tried the same thing and of course failed! It seemed like a great idea. Thanks for blogging about it- it made me feel better about throwing my foam tubing away.

  3. I had the same problem with my foam wreath! Gotta go make a comment on the pinterest board so more ppl like us don't waste our money AND time!
    The colors are fantastic!

  4. I'm sorry that happened to you, especially after all of your time and effort! It really was pretty!

  5. It was gorgeous! I've done the foam wreath a few times and I agree, it's not easy schmeezy like it would seem. It definitely took a few tries to get it to keep shape. I twisted and turned and in the end was able to get it to work. (Here's one of mine: http://thisdiylife.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/challenge-completed-argyle-style/) Our garbage can also got it's fair share of pipe insulation. I ran into the problem of it wanting to move all over too. I glued a magnet to the back of mine so it would stay in place on my (metal) front door and not blow all over. If you try it again, maybe try some white sticky tack or a command strip to hold it in place. The felt rosettes you still have would look cute in a topiary too!

  6. I have used a foam pipe as a wreath form and what saved me was inserting a few pieces of shish kabobs sticks in a couple of places to keep it from "ovaling" out. Those sticks also helped with keeping the ends together when taping it up. But, I agree with you, there are many other things to use besides foam pipes that don't have the frustration!

  7. So sorry the tip caused frustration. It was the first wreath I ever made using a "form". I saw the foam tubing and gave it a try. Oddly enough, it worked great the first try with no "ovaling", buckling or bending. I didn't add anything to stabilize it. So when I posted the tip, I thought it would work the same for everyone. Not the case! I'm guessing this foam tubing will only suite wreaths that are smaller in diameter and have "chunky" decor. I covered mine in coffee filters (http://www.thepennyparlor.com/2010/09/coffee-filter-wreath.html). It's been indoors and has held up great since I did it a year ago. Wrapping it yarn will definitely require a more sturdy form, as some are unfortunately finding out the hard way. Sorry again! I guess I need to post some type of disclaimer that this tip will not work for all wreaths.

  8. Also, another crafter posted this comment on the post....
    "I think the issue with not being able to get the pipe insulation round has to do with the diameter of the insulation used. At least that's the issue I had. At first I used 3/4 inch diameter tubing and it was bulging and wouldn't get very round. Then I got 1/2 inch diameter tubing and it bends into a beautiful circle without any issues. Hope this helps some others!" (I'm pretty sure mine was 1" in diameter)


  9. I had the same "oval" results from my first foam tube wreath(it was a yarn wrap). The 2nd attempt, I wrapped it generously with some cotton material I had on hand for a Halloween wreath, the material seemed to re-inforce and stabalize the tubing and it worked great! I went back to Home Depot and bought more tubing, and as I was inspecting and pondering the bending issue, I noticed that the tubing comes in different sizes, so I bought 2 different diameter sizes so that the smaller fits in the larger. I get 2 wreaths, totally stable for heavier decor, out of two tubes, the smaller nested inside the other, a total cast of about 1.50 per wreath (.97 for the smaller tube and 1.97 for the larger diameter tube). I did use the helping hands of my son to help duct-tape the ends together, though.=) I hope this helps in your future wreath making adventures!

  10. Those are some great tips! I just might have to try yours, Mandy! Thank you, ladies!

  11. When I also experienced the same results...I just stuffed my tube with strips of newspaper. As I stuffed it in the ends, I would roll it against my work surface to 'guide' it down into the center. Worked like a charm and was CHEAP!!

  12. I made mine work by reading up on it (a lot!) before making one... and still made it my own way haha. I got the 1/2" insulation and cut the ends at 45 degree angles to make a PERFECT circle. I then cut out a backing from cardboard to reinforce it, making sure it was slightly smaller than the foam tubing and hot glued it on. This makes the back flat but when you cover it, you can't tell. Slightly more work but cardboard is free, so it's still cheap. Hope this helps someone! :-)