ANZAC Day is a day we remember those Australian and New Zealand troops who gave their lives fighting for our country; not just at Gallipoli in 1915, but all the troops before and after who have served our country. ANZAC Day is highly regarded as one of the most significant national days on our calendar, and thousands of people join together to commemorate our soldiers. Luckily, there’s an easy way to do this; with a wreath specially made with love for the occasion.
Used widely in memorial events and unlike store-bought flowers, an ANZAC day wreath shows a labour of love and devotion. Traditionally the laurel wreath is used to commemorate ANZAC Day in Australia. Laurel is a commemorative symbol and was used by ancient Romans as a symbol of honour to crown victors with. Similarly, poppies are a small red flower with a black centre and have always been symbolic of ANZAC Day and remembrance.
However, it’s becoming more and more widely acceptable to use a round wreath and other leaves and flowers in ANZAC Day wreaths, or use poppies alongside other red flowers or native Australian flora. This will allow you to add your own unique flair in your wreath creation.
Find out how to create a specially-made ANZAC Day wreath with the simple steps below.
Things you will need:
- Laurel Chaplet Ring
- Wreath Wrap
- Mossing Pins or Hot Glue Gun
- Laurel Leaves or Camellia Leaves
- Artificial Poppies
- Lest We Forget Ribbon
- Florist Wires
- Wire Cutter and Scissors
Step by step:
Step 1. Start with a ring
The easiest way to create a homemade wreath is to start with a polystyrene laurel chaplet ring. The chaplet will give your ANZAC Day wreath a nice rounded shape and ensure it’s not too flat. It will also give you a structured base to work from and ensures that the shape of your wreath is never compromised. The chaplet shape is traditionally what has been used to commemorate soldiers on ANZAC day in Australia, however you could also use a more standard round shape to create a simple floral wreath in the same way.
Step 2. Add wreath wrap
To cover the polystyrene, add some green wreath wrap around the ring. The wrap will provide the perfect background to add greenery and foliage to, and will ensure that you cannot see any of the polystyrene chaplet. To use, simply wrap the wreath wrap around the ring, securing with glue or mossing pins. The mossing pins can be pushed down deep into the polystyrene, until you can’t see them.
Step 3. Add leaves
The next step in making your ANZAC Day wreath is to add your laurel leaves. Laurel leaves are used traditionally on ANZAC day in Australia, but alternatively you could use Camellia leaves. The wreath is designed to sit with the flowers at the bottom; the rounded side. Therefore, ideally the leaves should wrap from the top; the pointy side, and all be facing the same way, with the pointy ends of the leaves facing upwards towards the pointed end of the wreath. Secure the leaves with glue or mossing pins.
Step 4. Add poppies
Next, add your poppies to your ANZAC Day wreath in a small cluster at the bottom of the wreath. Traditionally, three red poppy clusters are used to symbolise each of the armed forces: army, air force and navy. The middle poppy should face centre, and any accompanying poppies should be facing away from the centre, heading outwards towards the sides. Simply cut the poppy stems down to about 5cm long and place the poppies in the wreath. If the flowers are moving, you can use mossing pins or glue to secure them into the body of the wreath.
Step 5. ANZAC Day sash placement
Finally, a “Lest We Forget” sash will add the finishing touch to your ANZAC Day wreath. Your ANZAC Day sash placement is important to get right. The sash (or ribbon) should be placed high in the left corner, across the wreath, and finishing low in the right corner to symbolise the sun rising in the East and setting in the west. Pin the sash firmly across the side of the wreath. Ensure that it is secured tight across the wreath or it will sag!
If you want to add a curl on each side of the sash, it’s much easier to do this before you add the sash to the wreath. Create your curl at each end of the ribbon by pre-rolling and tightening it securely together using florist wire, then, using the loose ends of the wire, pin it to the wreath.
The ANZAC Day sash placement might be more difficult to achieve on a round wreath, but the sash can be placed on a slight diagonal with some careful positioning.
And there you have it! Your completed ANZAC Day wreath. These wreaths are typically given to soldiers, or lain at memorial sites or graves as a mark of respect for the dead.
Add laurel leaves with traditional Australian native flowers, or poppies with purple flowers to match a purple sash through the middle of the wreath. White lilies are sometimes also used on funeral wreaths, as they symbolise innocence and sympathy. These also work well with laurel leaves and a sash. Alternatively, you could create a wreath of red poppies. This has been more commonly associated with Remembrance Day in the past, but can work well for either day.
Rosemary stems that symbolise remembrance are sometimes added at the bottom of the wreath, just under the poppies.
If you’re making the wreath for someone else, or for an organisation, always ask their preference in terms of size, style and flowers. Some organisations have traditional flowers or abide by a certain style. If not, then ultimately, it’s up to you how you’d like to create your wreath to commemorate the ANZAC Day heroes; we all celebrate and grieve in our own unique ways, but always with respect and admiration.