“Onions were made into long ropes, braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads.”
It was common to hang herbs, peppers, onions, and garlic to let them dry for long-term storage. Garlic and onions were often braided. Herbs were often cut, tied into small bundles, and hung upside down to dry and keep throughout the winter. And peppers of many kinds were strung on twine or twisted into wreaths, as described by Laura in her first book. This is an old-fashioned DIY that has continued to be popular because of how beautiful it looks!
In the garden, peppers are prolific, and it’s not always easy to know what to do with all of the extras that you inevitably end up with. You can only pass so many off to friends before they start to avoid you. If you have some peppers and you need or want, to do something a little bit different, why not try a pepper wreath?
You can make your own pepper wreath very simply. Whether you’re creating a decorative piece for rustic home decor or preserving a farmer’s market bounty, this is a Little House on the Prairie-inspired craft anyone can do.
Supplies to Make a Pepper Wreath
- Peppers, various shapes and sizes. You can use one kind of pepper or many different kinds. It’s up to you!
- Wire cutters
- Needle nose pliers
- A round container that’s the approximate size you’d like your finished wreath to be.
How To Make Your Pepper Wreath
First, wrap the wire around your container of choice, twice, to help form the wreath’s circle. You can use an oatmeal container or coffee can. Now, add an extra 6 inches to this and cut the wire. I do this so that I can make the first round lay perfectly flat to the wall, and then wrap a second strand around the first with additional peppers on it.
Next, take one end of the wire and using the needle-nose pliers, bend the end into a looped clasp to be used for securing the wreath later.
Now you just start stringing the peppers in whatever order you wish. Pierce the wire through the peppers, near the top of the pepper. The skin is tough so don’t be afraid to just push the wire through the peppers. Add peppers with the stems in the middle of the wreath, and the pointed ends facing out.
Once you have filled the first loop with peppers you’ll notice that there are natural gaps between the peppers. This is the reason I add a second loop — stringing additional peppers onto the second wire and placing them in front of the first loop. By doing this, your pepper wreath will look more full and robust. Every 3-4 peppers, secure your second loop around the first loop of wire to keep them close together and help keep the wreath’s shape.
To finish the wreath, take the end of the wire that’s still straight (the one you used as a needle) and hook it through the clasp we made first. Twist it around with your needle-nose pliers, and then flatten the loops to the two ends together.
Make a loop of wire in order to hang your wreath, and add a bow if you’d like. Isn’t it cute? If you have very heavy peppers, or a lot of them, you may need to use a pretty hefty wire. You can see that I was pushing it a little with this wire, because my wreath isn’t exactly perfectly circular anymore. That’s ok with me, I like things to look a little rustic and handmade, but this may not be the look for everyone.
Let your wreath hang in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. You’ll want to check it periodically for signs of mildew or rot and remove those peppers immediately. Your wreath will give you plenty of dried peppers to use to spice up your menus all winter long!
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Charley Cooke is a wife, mom, blogger, and aspiring homesteader. She spends her days chasing kids and cows in beautiful Southern Oregon. She loves a good book, a crochet project, and excellent cups of tea.
Love your wreath! I’m from the East Coast & first saw a red chili pepper wreath when I visited the famous fish market in Seattle, Washington. Your wreath is simply beautiful. Thanks so much for the wonderful & simple directions!!!
I have the small peppers that have turned red, orange and yellow. Can I preserve them and their colors by spraying them with a clear polyurethane spray?