• Imagining History

Make A Greek Wreath Headdress – Information and Craft For Kids


Modern recreation of an Olive Wreath

Greek wreaths are a type of circular or horseshoe-shaped crown or headdress made from branches and leaves. The Greeks would make many different wreaths made from many different plants. Greek people were awarded with and wore these wreaths for a variety of reasons:


Nike with a wreath in her hand.

1. Victory:

Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory, was often shown crowning people and gods with a wreath. The Greeks loved competitions and hosted four major games events called the Panhellenic Games; these were the Pythian, Nemean, Isthmian and, of course, Olympic Games. Winners at the Pythian Games were awarded laurel wreaths (the most well-known of all the Greek wreaths), winners in the Nemean Games received wreaths made from celery, winners in the Isthmian Games got wreaths made from pine and winners of the Olympic Games were given olive wreaths.


2. Honouring the Gods:

Certain plants were associated with particular Greek gods. Wearing wreaths made of these plants would honour these gods. Zeus was linked with olive, oak and celery (this last plant was also connected to Poseidon). Apollo was associated with the bay laurel plant (used to make the laurel wreath). Aphrodite was linked with myrtle and Dionysus with ivy and grapes.


A golden funerary wreath.

3. Celebrations:

Greek people would wear wreaths at a range of celebrations and festivities, including dinner parties, weddings, religious festivals and funerals (in fact dead people were often crowned with celery wreaths). Parsley wreaths were said to stop people from getting too drunk!


4. Wealth & Status:

Laurel wreathes were often worn by important people to show power and authority (this idea was adopted by the Romans whose Emperors would wear laurel wreaths for this same reason). The symbol of a laurel wreath was associated with Apollo, one of the most popular and powerful Ancient Greek gods. Later, the rich elite would wear expensive wreaths made from gold to show off their status.


Learn how to make your own Greek wreath headdress with this fun and simple craft for kids:


Make a Greek Wreath Headdress:


You Will Need:

1 Sheet of Card

Coloured Paper (We used yellow, light orange, dark orange and red)

Pencil

Scissors (Always get a grown-up to help with scissors)

Old Headband

Glue Stick

All Purpose Glue (we used Bostik All Purpose)


Step 1 – Create a Leaf Stencil:

  • Grab your sheet of card and use your pencil to draw 2 leaf shapes (one slightly smaller than the other).

  • Use your scissors to cut out your 2 leaf shapes to use as stencils. You can grab a grown up to help with this step.

  • Tip: Our leaves were approximately 7.5cm x 3cm and 6cm by 2cm.

  • Tip: If you struggle drawing a leaf shape – draw an oval then add a pointed tip to one end of the oval. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfectly symmetrical – every leaf is unique.




Step 2 – Draw & Cut Out Paper Leaves:

  • Grab a sheet of coloured paper and place one of your leaf stencils onto it. Hold your leaf stencil still with one hand and draw around the leaf stencil using your pencil.

  • Repeat this step until your piece of coloured paper is covered in leaf shapes.

  • Use your scissors to cut out your leaf shapes. Again, you can get a grown up to help you with this.

  • Tip: Don’t forget to use both of your leaf stencils so that you have lots of different sized leaves.

  • Tip: Make sure you leave a gap between each leaf shape so you have enough room to cut them out.

  • Tip: You can choose any colour you like for your wreath. We chose red, orange and yellow but you could choose green to look like real leaves or gold to show wealth and status.


Step 3 – Create More Paper Leaves:

  • Repeat Step 2 with more sheets of coloured paper.

  • We created 100 coloured leaves to cover an adult-sized headband. This was made up of 22 red leaves, 34 dark orange leaves, 22 light orange leaves and 22 yellow leaves.

  • Tip: Once you’ve got the hang of drawing and cutting out leaves, you could cut out more at once by layering 2 or 3 pieces of coloured paper on top of each other. When you cut out your leaves, make sure to grip the paper tightly together (maybe even tack the corners together to keep them in place) and cut through all 3 sheets of paper at once.


Step 4 – Create a Band of Leaves:

  • Split your paper leaves into two equal piles. Make sure you have equal numbers of each colour of paper in each pile. We had 50 leaves in each pile (11 red, 17 dark orange, 11 light orange and 11 yellow leaves in each pile).

  • Using one pile of leaves (place the other pile to one side for later), layer your leaves on top of each other to create a band of leaves.

  • Tip: The tips of all of your leaves should be seen sticking out from the sides of the other leaves. Some leaves will point straight, others will point diagonally out from the side of other leaves.

  • Tip: Start with the leaves at the front of your headdress (in our case the yellow leaves) and layer leaves on top of each other as you work backwards towards the back of your headdress (in our case the red leaves).

  • When you’re finished with your design, the layering effect should mean the tip of every leaf can be seen but only the base of one or two leaves can be seen on the section that will be at the back of the headdress.

  • Tip: We created a gradient with our colours – going from lightest at the front of the headdress to the darkest at the back. You can experiment with your coloured leaves here to create the look you want on your headdress.


Step 5 – Glue Your Leaves:

  • Using the design you created in Step 4 as a guide, glue your leaves together.

  • Grab your glue stick and your first 2 leaves from the back of your headdress (in our case this was the top two red leaves). Taking the top leaf, turn it over and pop a circle of glue on the base (widest end) of this leaf. Flip it back over again and stick it down on top of the second leaf. Make sure you follow your design here, the second leaf should stick out of the side of the first leaf with that fun layering effect we made earlier in Step 4.

  • Now your top two leaves are stuck together, turn them both over and pop a circle of glue on the base (widest end) of the second leaf. Flip them back over again and grab a third leaf (the next leaf nearest the top of your band of leaves – in our case another red leaf) and stick the first two leaves to the third leaf. Again, make sure to follow your design - the tip of the third leaf should be seen out of the side of the first two leaves.

  • Continue this by turning over your glued leaves, popping a circle of glue on the base, flipping them back over and sticking them to the next leaf at the top of your band of leaves. Repeat this until all of your leaves in your band are glued together.

  • Tip: You don’t need to put glue on the back of the whole leaf. Just glue a circle at the base of each leaf to stick them together.


Step 6 – Create a Second Band of Leaves:

  • Repeat Step 4 with your second pile of paper leaves to create a design for your second band of leaves. Try to make sure it is about the same length as your first band of leaves.

  • Repeat Step 5 to glue your second band of leaves together.

  • You should now have 2 nearly identical bands of glued leaves.


Step 7 – Test Your Headband Length:

  • Grab your headband to make sure that both bands of leaves will fit nicely along it.

  • Test this out by laying one band of leaves along one side of the headband, starting with the back end at the midway point of the headband (the part that would normally be in the middle on top of your head).

  • The front section of your band of leaves should reach out beyond the end of the headband (the section that would normally go behind your ears) by 5-6cm. If not, cut out some more leaves and glue them onto the end of your design.

  • Do this for both bands of leaves on both sides of your headband.


Step 8 – Glue Your Leaves To Your Headband:

  • You might need a grown up to help you with this bit.

  • Grab your all purpose glue and your old headband. Carefully squeeze out a line of glue onto your headband, running from the midway point (that would normally be in the middle on top of your head) to the edge (that would normally go behind your ears).

  • Tip: The glue should be on the outside edge of the headband (the flat surface that faces away from your head) not the section on the inside (that touches your head).

  • Next, grab one band of leaves and carefully stick it to the line of glue with the back of the design starting at the midway point (that would normally be in the middle on top of your head) and the front of the design ending at the edge of the headband (that would normally go behind your ears).

  • Repeat this for the other half of your headband and your second band of leaves.

  • Tip: Be careful not to get any all purpose glue on your fingers, it can be very hard to get off! You could some old rubber or disposable gloves here to keep your hands glue free.



Step 9 – Show Off Your Greek Wreath Headdress:

  • Tip: Make sure all of the glue on your headdress has dried before popping it on your head!

  • Pop your headdress on your head with the section that is normally at the top of your head instead at the back of your head. Strange we know, but that was the style and whatnot.



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