Wreaths to make


Making wreaths to present at a commemorative service is a lovely way to involve children in a local ceremony.

Symbol of commemoration

To the ancient Romans, a wreath of laurel leaves was a symbol of bravery, strength and triumph. Its meaning can be traced back to Greek mythology.

Since the Victorian era, wreaths of flowers woven into a circle have been laid on graves to represent life and resurrection.

In 1915, Australian Signaller Ellis Silas sketched an angel with a wreath who appears to an Ottoman soldier on the Gallipoli battlefield.

A drawing depicting a man encountering an angel
Fame, Ellis Silas, 1916
Fame - "These are Mine", Gallipoli, December 1915

Since World War I, wreaths have been laid at memorials to remember those Australians who died in service during wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

On Anzac Day (25 April), we often call them 'Anzac wreaths'.

Wreaths laid at a local war memorial on Remembrance Day, 2019

An Anzac wreath is usually shaped like a tear, called a 'chaplet'. This shape signifies the tears that we shed in grief. You can also use a simpler circular shape.

In a professionally made wreath, florists often use:

  • laurel - for glory and victory
  • rosemary - for remembrance
  • purple - for mourning, spirituality and ceremony
  • red poppies - for sacrifice of shed blood (usually one poppy for each of the armed services: navy, army, air force)

Make a wreath

Follow these instructions to make your own wreath.

You'll need:

  • wreath shaped polystyrene (chaplet or ring)
  • leaves of laurel, camellia or 'Little Gem' magnolia (or paper leaves)
  • green wreath wrap or ribbon
  • purple ribbon
  • artificial red poppies
  • sprigs of rosemary
  • glue
  • cardboard
  • black pen

What to do:

  1. Cover the base shape with wreath wrap or ribbon and secure it with glue.
  2. Add the leaves in layers, starting from the top, with the pointy ends of the leaves pointing upwards (all in the same direction).
  3. Add the three poppies in a small cluster at the bottom of the wreath.
  4. Add the sprig of rosemary.
  5. Place the purple ribbon on the wreath. It should start high on the left side of the wreath and finish low on the right side. This symbolises the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.
  6. Add a small card with the words 'We will remember them' or 'Lest we forget'.

IDEA: Gather flowers that are native to your local region to decorate the wreath.

Last updated: 4 March 2020

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2020), Wreaths to make, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 22 January 2021, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/commemoration/event-planning/wreaths
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