Wouldn't you love to have a designer Christmas garland hanging on your mantel or cascading down your stairs this Holiday season? You can and I'll show you how to make one with your own personal home decor style.
Do you wish you could make a beautiful Christmas garland for your mantel? I did too! So I studied lots of my favorite embellished garlands and discovered some important designer secrets that helped me create this year’s Christmas mantel. I’m sharing lots of tips so you can make a WOW statement garland for your mantel and it’s easier than you think!
This year our home is decorated with lots of white and beautiful soft greens! And the mantel plays a big role in supporting the color palette, style, and feel of our Christmas home!
I’m sharing lots of tips and tricks for putting together and hanging the prettiest Christmas garland for your mantel.
This is a big post with lots and lots of information to help you make your best Christmas garland yet!
Ready? Let’s get started…
WHY TAKE THE TIME TO CREATE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS GARLAND
One of the best things about making your own personalized home decor like garland and arrangements is they can be reworked over and over again to show off your creativity and style at the moment.
So one garland can take on lots of different looks over time! That means you are not stuck with the same thing every year!
Garlands you make yourself can also be more economical because you can use what you have to create new and beautiful home decor!
Today I’m sharing how to create a beautiful garland using what I already have. Yay! Oh, I love recycled home decor and seasonal decor!
MAKE A SHOW STOPPER CHRISTMAS GARLAND FOR YOUR MANTEL
Beautiful garlands may look hard to make but they really are not!
When I peruse Pinterest or Instagram or visit blogs with Christmas home tours I love many of their beautifully dressed up Christmas mantels. Especially, the garland! And I study decor I love! And look for ways I can recreate those things in my own style!
I just love Christmas mantels! So I’m I find myself studying them with a critical eye!
Because our fireplaces are usually a big focal point at Christmas it is important to make them extra pretty with the most bespoke decorations!
So, this year I decided to try styling my own designer looking garland for the mantel.
It was actually, much easier than I thought!
I’m breaking down the garland process and I’m so excited to share it with you!
REAL OR ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS GARLAND?
Hmmm… there are pros and cons for using both real and artificial garlands.
Real garland looks absolutely gorgeous! I don’t think there is anything more festive than real greens!
And this is a big, HOWEVER… Real Christmas greens on a fireplace mantel are a bit of a mess! They dry out very fast if you use your fireplace and they can be a fire hazard.
And real greens can be quite finiky to work with.
Sorry to yuck your yum, my friend!
So although real greens look so so beautiful in magazines and on blogs they really are impractical!
Now, let’s talk about artificial Christmas greens.
I am a big fan!
I think faux greens can look so lifelike. And they are so much easier to work with than the real thing.
And bending the branches so you can coax them into perfect place is one of the biggest benefits of faux greens.
Here are more benefits of using faux greens and garlands…
- they are economical over the long run
- they look almost real
- they are easy to work with
- you can collect greens and garland to creat a fabulous stash to work with year after year
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A MANTEL?
Great question! A stunningly decorated garland will make a big statement on other flat surfaces like a buffet, tv stand, credenza, or console!
And think about adding garland to stairs or lamp posts or around your front door! This garland is not just for mantels!
The steps are basically the same no matter where you want to add a pretty Christmas garland to your home!
HOW LONG SHOULD MY CHRISTMAS GARLAND BE?
This is the first question you should ask yourself when creating a beautiful holiday garland for your mantel or other flat surfaces.
If you want a garland that sits on top of your mantel then measure the top of the mantel and choose garland at least as long. I think a Christmas mantel garland looks best if it spills over the end of the mantel at least on one side.
I have two 6-foot garlands that I use for many types of Christmas decorating. I usually tie them together with floral wire when I use them on the mantel.
If you are thinking about draping your garland, then you will need more.
Err on the side of more when it comes to garland. It can always let the excess fall off the ends of your mantel.
INVEST IN A BASIC BUT FULL CHRISTMAS GARLAND
My best advice is to invest in a basic and somewhat full garland so you don’t have to add lots more greens to it.
My garland is rather thin so so I add lots more faux pine to it every year.
You can go to the StoneGable Christmas Shop and see all beautiful garlands. Many on sale!
USE THE GARLAND YOU HAVE
If you are like me, you just might have a few plain garlands on hand. Yay! Plain garlands are an excellent start! Really! Although I wish mine were fuller, the ones I have are both the same. So they make a nice base.
I start with two very old garlands and lots of bits and pieces of a few more cut apart garlands.
THINGS YOU NEED TO CREATE A CHRISTMAS GARLAND
There is really not much you need to create a pretty Christmas garland for your mantel.
Here are the basics…
- Christmas garland
- Command Hooks and cup hook
- extra Christmas greens
- unbreakable Christmas ornaments
- florist wire
- wire cutters
- other garland embellishment (see below)
- hot glue and hot glue gun (optional)
HANGING A GARLAND ON THE MANTEL
Before I embellish my garland I like to hang it on the mantel. This year I decided to drape or swag my garland across the front of the mantel.
I tied two 6-foot garlands together to make one garland long enough to swag on my mantel.
Because we use the fireplace I put a small cup hook in the center of the mantel and hooked the center of the garland on the hook.
I know it will leave a small hole in the mantel when the cup hook is removed but we will use it again and again. I am a huge fan of Command Hooks, however, the heat from the fireplace makes the glue on the Command Hook soft and if there is enough weight on the hook the Command Hook could detach.
I used 5 lb Command Hooks on either end of the mantel to hook the garland. The fireplace is not under the ends of the mantel so there is no problem with the Command Hooks coming loose.
I worked with the garland and got it centered and the swags even and then bent the garland on the Command Hook and let the excess fall off the end of the mantel.
You can see my poor old garland! So if I can make a full, ornament-filled Christmas garland out of that old ratty stuff so can you!!!!! My decorating toolbox is open on the coffee table! LOVE my toolbox!
HOW TO FLUFF A CHRISTMAS GARLAND
It’s important to “fluff” the garland. Separate the branches, fan them out and arrange them so they look realistic. Don’t skip this step. This is so important!
ADDING MORE GARLAND OR BRANCHES
If you have a thin garland like mine you might want to add extra greens to your garland. Think of the garland as the base for your beautiful mantel decoration!
While the garland was hanging on the mantel I used floral wire to attach more bits of pine branches to the garland where they were needed. I wanted this garland to be full! In the picture below, you can see I’m in the middle of adding more greens.
The garland I used for the mantel is well over a decade old.
I bought three garlands that were identical. Over the years I cut one garland up and used the bits and pieces in arrangments and other Christmas decorations.
So I had lots of small sections of pine garland branches to attach to the mantel garland.
DO YOU WANT THE GARLAND TO BE LIT?
I do not have prelit garland. A basic pre-lit garland with warm white lights would look very pretty on my mantel! Hmmm… I just might invest in a garland now since there are so many sales going on right now!
You can find garlands with plug-in lights or garlands that are battery-operated. And some even have a timer! I think I might be ready for an upgrade!
HANGING THE ORNAMENTS
The next thing I did to embellish the Christmas mantel garland was to add ornaments to it.
I tried attaching them to the garland while the garland was on the mantel and it was clumsy! So I took the garland off the mantel, covered my table with a drop cloth, and easily attached the ornaments.
I stretched out the garland, facing up, the length of the table, and placed the Christmas balls across the garland without attaching them. Then when I liked how they were arranged I attached the ornaments with floral wire.
Here’s a little tip: I used all plastic ornaments and I hot glued the ornament caps onto the ornaments so they would not come apart when I was working with them. No broken Christmas balls and no caps springing off either!
TUCKING RIBBON INTO YOUR HOLIDAY GARLAND
Ribbon can look beautiful tucked into a garland hanging on a mantel!
I did not use ribbon in my garland this year. In past years I cut about six or seven lengths of ribbon that were 3-5 feet long and tucked and looped them into my garland just like I added ribbon to my Christmas tree.
Other years I made big bows from ribbon that worked with my Christmas color palette and added them to the ends of the mantel. I really love this look.
But this year I had so much embellishment on the garland I did not want to over decorate it with ribbon.
HANGING THE GARLAND BACK ON THE MANTEL
After I attached all the Christmas balls to my garland I hung the garland on the mantel starting in the center. The center of the garland carries the most weight so the cup hook worked perfectly to hold the garland in place.
Then I hung the ends of the garland around the Command hooks at each end of the mantel.
After the garland was hung and tweaked so it was centered and the drape on each side was symmetrical I began fluffing and greens again and making sure I liked the placement of each Christmas ball.
I think this is the most important part of styling a garland. You can have the prettiest and most beautifully embellished garland but unless all the greens are fluffed and the other things in place it won’t look right.
What a difference a good bit of fluffing will make!
OTHER GREENS AND ORGANICS
There are other things that can fill out and make a garland beautiful.
For our garland this year I did not add much because the Christmas balls made such a big statement. However, I tucked soft golden/green velvety leaves here and there on the garland. The leaves added another texture and a depth of color to the garland.
Here are other pretty things to add to a mantel garland…
- sprays of Christmas berries ( white berries and red berries are my favorite)
- juniper berries
- aritificial fruit like apples, oranges, pomegranats and pears
- velvet or gilded leaves
OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS FOR THE MANTEL
There are so many gorgeous things you can hang on a garland and put on the mantel.
Because the garland was symmetrical I also kept the mantel symmetrical too.
Two white urns filled with Christmas greens and ornaments flank the ends of the mantel. The greens filling the urns mimic some of the greens in the garland.
Goldtone lanterns with battery-operated candles on timers sit next to the white urns. And I just added gold candle holders with little votive candles in them.
Here are some other things you might like to use…
- little houses
- urn and arrangements
- Christmas flowers
- small wrapped gifts
- a strand or two of beads
- Christmas signs
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT…
One big lesson I learned this year is to be careful how low you hang your garland if you are going to use your fireplace while the garland is hanging!
I have actually melted a few faux branches from the heat of the fireplace. Just so you know!
I said this earlier, but it is worth repeating… use unbreakable ornaments and other unbreakable items on a garland. There is so much peace of mind knowing that if something happened there would not be any broken ornaments.
Remember, you can use this same technique to embellish garland for your stairs, around your door, or other places in your home.
I hope you will create your own unique Christmas garland for your Christmas house this year!