Holiday Wreath: Coloring Outside the Lines

9 Comments 07 December 2010

Gil Mendez is a wonderful interior designer who continually shares his talents for the benefit of others. For the past five years, he’s used that creative brain of his to come up with a unique Christmas wreath for San Francisco Children of Shelter’s Annual Jingle and Mingle Designer Wreath Auction.

“In terms of design, this is an opportunity to create a piece that explores the use of unconventional materials in a decidedly inventive manner,” says Gil. “The crayon is uncomplicated and reminiscent of simpler times, when all a young artist has to worry about is whether or not to remain within the lines. Grouped together in hundreds, I think the overall effect feels like holly berries.”

Before he delivers the wreath for the December 9th auction, we asked Gil to share his how-to hints:

1) I ordered 3,000 bulk red crayons from a wholesaler. (We found single color bulk crayons on

2) I purchased a pre-fabricated 16″ diameter round canvas stretched over and attached to a rigid MDF form.

Example of a Fredrix Round Pre-Stretched Canvas

Gil drew this illustration to help you visualize steps 3 through 5.

3) I drew concentric 6″ and 8″ circles at the center of the canvas. I cut out the 6″ diameter circle. I then divided and cut the 8″ circle into 24 evenly spaced tabs (Do NOT cut out the 8″ diameter circle.)

4) I adhered a round cardboard disk with an 8″ opening to the back side of the canvas and sized it to fit just inside the MDF frame. I folded and glued the canvas tabs to hold it in place. This is reinforces the canvas to better support the crayons.

5) On the front of the canvas, I glued three layers of 1/4 inch foam core disks which measured 16″ in diameter with an 8″ diameter clear center. This completed my wreath base and I was ready to add the crayons.

Gil used full-sized red crayons for his inner- and outermost rows and then cut the crayons for the interior rows (hence the reason for the building up with foam core–got it!). He made sure that all of crayon tops were in alignment. Here are some further notations from Gil to guide you:

6) I carefully pre-selected the crayons for outermost ring as the paper sleeve does not always fall in the exact same spot for all of the crayolas. I was careful to align and position for consistency. This way I could maintain a more even pattern where crayons were “full-height.” This was a non-issue for the rows of crayons placed inside of the the outermost rings.

7) I used Aleene’s tacky glue to attach the crayons to the form and each other. I only glued the paper, not the actual crayon as that does not allow for the desired, stable bond strength.

8) I first glued the two outer layers of full height crayons and then proceeded to work inward. The crayons were cut roughly in half ( the height taken up by the thickness of the foam core layers). This allowed me to reduce the weight of the completed piece (estimating about 20 lbs).

9) I used a cigar cutter to cut the crayons to the desired length. Again, as the paper sleeve does not align exactly in the same place for each crayon, I measured (eye-balled) each one individually so that the tips were fairly evenly aligned once glued in place.

In the process of doing the concentric circles, Gil realized that the small imperfections or misalignment were what made the piece charming, transcending a machined look.

The finishing touch? Gil turned to Paulette Knight, owner of The Ribbonerie in San Francisco, who fabricated a custom and luxuriant satin bow.

Every year Gil looks forward to making this particular pilgrimage to the Ribbonerie as Paulette has an exquisite selection of ribbons to choose from…just take a look for yourself!

A little outside the lines thinking produced this whimsical, chic holiday wreath!

Image by Kathryn MacDonald

From the mind of
Gil Mendez
Gil Mendez Design

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Your Comments


  1. Now THAT is awesome! Love it. :-)

  2. Kevin Peters says:

    Genius, as usual! Great job, Gil. Very festive.

  3. Judy McBride says:

    Dearest Gil,
    As usual, your abundant energy shows through in such creative ways and with humor and humanity.

  4. Mrs. McCarthy says:

    Gil: I love this to pieces (you, too)!!!!

  5. Ok…that was incredible and so very time consuming. What a work of love!

  6. Toni says:

    This is absolutely breathtaking! I love this so much!

  7. Crystelle says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    It’s fabulous!


  1. FULL CIRCLE - 07. Dec, 2010

    [...] color crayon wreath, from nesting newbies [...]

  2. Tweets that mention Holiday Wreath: Coloring Outside the Lines | Nesting Newbies -- - 10. Dec, 2010

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