How to Make Christmas Garlands and Swags

Decorating Your Mantel

Already the focal point in the room, the mantel is an excellent starting point for your holiday decorating. Treasured heirlooms, holiday cards, and stocking holders are a given when it comes to decorating the mantel. But why not spice it up a little this year? Here are some suggestions:

decorating your mantel
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
An assortment of beautiful candles
is always a festive way to decorate
your mantel.

  • Pretty up poinsettias by buying six terra-cotta pots and saucers and spray-painting them with metallic chrome paint. Pot poinsettias in each, and space evenly across your mantel. Fill in the gaps with bits of greenery.

  • Create a natural scene by bringing the outdoors inside. Gather sturdy sticks, pinecones, magnolia cones, and large leaves from your yard. Rub with gilding rub, wiping off excess as needed. Tack the leaves together to create a garland that is twice as long as your mantel.
    Arrange the items on top of the mantel, draping the leaf garland over and around so that it falls naturally off the mantel in places. For color, place candles in an assortment of sizes and shapes on pedestals throughout the arrangement and tuck pieces of thick-skin fruit such as lemons, limes, and oranges into the foliage.

  • For a more traditional look, purchase several small artificial Christmas trees and wrap the bases with colorful holiday fabric. Checked taffeta, a rich damask, delicate lace, even quilt batting can be used with success. Decorate the trees with tiny Christmas balls and ornaments or leave them bare and top with a single gold or silver star.

Food is one of life's simple pleasures, so it's only natural that wall hangings designed with food provide a pleasant look in any home. See the next page for a variety of food-themed garlands and swags.