Holiday DIY: Wagon Wheel Wreath

Get your decor on for Thanksgiving!

As I mentioned about a year ago when I went all Martha Stewart on you the first time with my horseshoe wreaths — I do not craft very often (horses eat up most of my time and my budget). Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I was hit with yet another surge of holiday crafty cheer — I blame the colder temperatures for awakening some nesting instinct I never knew I had.

This craft is ideal for the holiday season because it’s relatively easy to swap out between autumn/Thanksgiving, Christmas, and various spring or summer iterations. Especially if you’re already a draft horse, combined or fine harness driver, this is great way to add a little horsey decor to the exterior of your barn, house or garage for the season.


  • An old wagon wheel*
  • Wire — I used 19 gauge because it’s what I happened to already have lying around; I would imagine floral wire would work as well but use your judgment here
  • Ribbon, if desired
  • Various autumnal accoutrements: I used a sheaf of imitation wheat I found on clearance at a craft store, plus some Indian corn and autumn leaves that I literally picked up off the ground

*I went to the local carriage shop which keeps old/broken/otherwise unusable wheels sitting around probably to sell to craft people or folks looking for yard decoration. The wheel I bought was a legitimate Amish buggy wheel, and it weighs quite a bit thanks to the steel rim and center. My helpful husband pointed out after watching me awkwardly slinging this thing around the house that a fake wheel from a hardware store might have been easier… but in my mind, I’d rather have the real deal, no matter how heavy and awkward it is.

Authentic, storied, the real deal!…and super heavy and kind of awkward. Don’t care, it’s still festive. All photos by Kristen Kovatch.

Admittedly, it was so heavy and awkward that I opted to not roll this thing all the way to the dining room table where I would normally work on such projects, but opted to finish this right here by the door so I could roll the whole thing right back outside when I was done.


I used wire to anchor each of these festive autumn-y pieces around the wheel. As last year’s crafters may remember, I have a soft spot in my heart for asymmetry, and in my mind’s eye I had a vision of this faux wheat and Indian corn sort of climbing up one side of the wheel from the bottom. By anchoring with wire instead of permanently gluing or otherwise affixing the decorations, I can easily remove these pieces and store them for next year — rather than make a brand new wreath with a brand new used wheel every few months.

Yeah, kind of like that.

Once I wrestled the wheel back outside, I decided it looked a little plain, especially since it would be hanging up fairly high over the garage door. I gathered a few big beautiful leaves from the sycamores in my front yard and added a big red bow — if nothing else, I could probably recycle the bow for the Christmas edition of this thing.

Look closely and you’ll find my patient husband kindly hanging the hooks on the front of the garage.

Depending on where you’re intending to display your wheel and how heavy the final product is, you’ll want to make your own decisions on hooks or brackets. My husband found two self-screwing wall hooks that he was able to attach right to the front of our wood-paneled garage.

Then came the fun part — physically hanging the thing. I recalled again while passing this big, heavy wheel up to my husband perched on the ladder (his idea, I swear, not mine — I offered to climb to the top) how a fake wheel would probably be a good deal lighter and easier to manipulate… but there was no turning back now. Despite a bit of swearing and a few dicey moments on the ladder, we got the wheel centered the way we wanted it, just in time for Thanksgiving. The wheel is hanging by two hooks so we can “easily” (I think) lift it back off and redecorate for the next holiday.

SO festive.

Hey, perhaps not my best work — but stick around for Part II of this craft adventure closer to Christmas. I’ve got some good ideas for that version.

Go riding.

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