12 Christmas Garlands to Deck the Halls in Merry Style
Garlands—in their grandeur adorning doorways, mantels, and staircase banisters—add seasonal cheer to your home during the holidays. When choosing the type of garland for your home, consider it as complementary to your other holiday décor. What colors do you want to bring out? Do you like sparkle and shine or a more matte, subdued luster? Are you at home with fragrant evergreens and spiced citrus or metallic foil and bright bauble ornaments? Incorporate some of the elements that you used in your Christmas tree and ornaments, wreaths, and decorations, to deck your halls in the style of your choosing.
Garlands come in a whole range of natural colors, scents, shapes, and textural materials. Winter greenery, of course, is always a classic choice. In addition to leaves and sprigs, try crafting with ribbon and fabric, metallic foil, heavyweight paper, or brass hardware. Our editors demonstrate different ways of dressing up a garland with some of their favorite resources as well as readily-found items that you may already have on hand like candy. Deem it a new family tradition: Enlist your little helpers in stringing them together. After all, what child doesn't love playing with candy? Just know that they might sneak a sugared gumdrop or two (or five).
Our garlands also take a detour around expected forms: they serve as curtain tiebacks, for instance, or as a table runner. Hang them up to adorn a cabinet or hutch, the living room mantel, stair banisters, or a decorative doorway. Guests will admire them as they enter your holiday home.
Metallic Cedar Garland
Embellished with birds and silver picks, this atlas-cedar garland makes the entrance to the dining room subtly sparkly. To start, use a drill and 3/16-inch bit to sink pilot holes in ends of branches for screw eyes (measuring 15/8 inches) and hooks (measuring 2 3/5 inches). Screw in hardware and connect the branches as shown. (The top screw eye is used for hanging the garland from molding.) Trim the branches and place them along the birch frame. Once you reach the desired fullness, wrap floral wire down branch to connect to the birch. (Work in pieces.) Fill in sparse spots in similar fashion as needed. Make the picks: Bunch together 5 or so bay sprigs and ball picks, and use wire to connect floral pick. Repeat as desired. For birds: Snip wire off a floral pick and hot-glue it to the back of a bird. Plant the pick into the garland (wiring to edges, if needed). Screw hooks into the top edge of molding to hang the garland.
Shop Now: Ashland Wired Wood Picks, 6", $3.59, michaels.com. Panacea 26-Gauge Floral Wire, in Green, $8.47, amazon.com. Jamali Garden Shiny Glass Balls, 80 mm, in Silver and Gold, from $20 for 12, jamaligarden.com. Dresden Paper Crafts Mixed Birds and Butterflies, in Gold, from $4.50, dresdenpapercrafts.com.
Plaster Magnolia-Leaf Garland
Delicate plaster magnolia leaves are the showstoppers in this display. Craft one of your own by dipping silk ones in plaster of Paris, then twist them into clusters with floral wire and secured them to a pre-made bay garland dotted with ivory velvet bows. After the holidays, remove and store the leaves carefully in tissue paper, and you can use them year after year to elevate your fresh greenery.
Silvered Magnolia and Holly Garland
A traditional green-and-brown magnolia garland goes from graceful to glam with the addition of shiny silvered magnolia leaves and holly branches. Start by wiring a pre-made magnolia garland to your banister. Then, spray-paint the holly branches and single magnolia leaves both silver. Insert magnolia leaves into garland (wire them if necessary). Wire together holly branches, then wind around garland and banister.
The best material for stringing cranberry or popcorn garlands is inside your medicine cabinet. For this, use one of our classic Good Things: Waxed floss is strong and slick, so cranberries and popcorn will slide on easily. Knot one end of a piece of floss, and thread a needle onto the other; just pierce through items, and slip them on.
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This just might be the ultimate decorating project for kids. We first dreamed this up as gumdrop garlands for a tree, but that's only the beginning. Any candy you can pierce, you can make into a garland: Try Swedish Fish, Lifesavers, and gummies of all sorts. Let little ones arrange the candies and hang their creations where they like. But watch out: They might gobble more than they string. Try wrapping a candy garland around an evergreen-draped banister for a land-of-sweets look, or swag it on a mirror. Just avoid the fireplace or other heat sources, or the treats might melt. Dental floss and waxed twine are both great for stringing.
Foil Poinsettia Garland
Decorating a mantel in these happy reds and pinks anchors a room—and serves as an ample stand-in if your space (or holiday travel plans) doesn't allow for a large trimmed tree. Evoke this cheerful, sparkling look with something as simple as foil candy cups on pink mini lights, poinsettias made from metal sheets. Note: Cutting the metal will dull your scissors, so use an old pair.
Sparkling copper-mesh tubing, sold online in 100-foot rolls, simplifies garland-building: Cinch it at intervals with thin ribbon and small bunches of bay leaves. To start, open copper-mesh tubing and add fruit one piece at a time. Move pieces of fruit down the tubing, twisting the mesh between fruit to separate them. For a natural look, add fruits in random order. Continue adding fruits until the garland reaches a desired length. With floral wire, attach small bunches of bay leaves and kumquats in between citrus; add ribbon. Tie finished garland to banister with cord or twine.
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To mimic icy branches, use a saw to cut clear acrylic tubing into three-inch pieces, then string them on gray cord with crystalline chalcedony beads.
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Pine, Magnolia, and Mesh-Wrapped Silver Ball Garland
Playful garlands of pine boughs, magnolia leaves, and mesh-wrapped silver balls hung loosely around a doorway work like party streamers, setting a festive tone for holiday merrymaking. To start, create strands three feet longer than the height of the door frame. Connect pine branches with floral wire. Use glue dots to attach overlapping magnolia leaves. String beads onto silver wire, then slide them on mesh, twisting the mesh around each bead. Knot eight- to ten-inch lengths of silver ribbon at random intervals. Attach the strands to a door frame using monofilament and nails, then weave them together.
Shop Now: Northlight Silver Shiny and Matte Christmas Glass Ball Ornaments, $11.14 for 24, homedepot.com. Removable Glue Dots, $5, michaels.com. The Container Store Metallic Silver Mesh Ribbon, 1" , $7 for 10 yds., thecontainerstore.com.
Triangles of thin brass tubing—commonly used for home details such as curtain rods—hang like modern icicles among the branches of a tree. To make this garland, start by using a permanent marker to mark two-inch intervals on round tubing. Place tubing into the pipe cutter, aligning its blade with the first marking on tubing. Tighten the pipe cutter until its blade just touches the tubing. Rotate the tube to score it, tighten the cutter slightly, and rotate again. Repeat until tubing is cut. Continue cutting more tubing. Thread mason's twine through 3 tubes, then thread back through first tube to form a triangle. Repeat this until the garland reaches a desired length.
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These garlands, made from ribbon, can be displayed year after year. To make one, measure the length of your mantel, and multiply by 1 1/4; cut ribbon to that length. Using a ruler and a pencil, mark ribbon at regular intervals. (We marked the ribbon every 6 inches for the larger garland.) To create swags, mark a second ribbon at regular intervals, with spaces at least an inch greater than that of the first ribbon; leave several extra inches on ends. Make creases on the second ribbon wherever marked. Apply hot glue to the top of the first crease, and attach it to the first ribbon where marked, holding the crease at a 45-degree angle across width of the first ribbon; hold in place just until glue sets. Repeat. (For additional swags, repeat step 4 with more ribbon, and use hot glue to attach swags at creases.) Trim the ribbon ends at an angle.
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Save scraps of holiday gift wrap, and put them to work in a festive greeting-card display. Using a glue stick, coat one side of a clothespin; press firmly onto gift wrap. Cut around the clothespin with a craft knife to trim excess paper; repeat on other side. To hang a series of clothespins, clip them to a length of ribbon, and hang along a banister or above a mantel or entryway. Pin cards along ribbon as they arrive.