...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Our decor is mostly simple and light, so it should come as no surprise that I decorated our holiday mantel as such.

And I only spent about $8.

The metal star, green ribbon, 2 ceramic pillars, woven balls, leafy {faux} branches, silver icicle garland, clear and ceramic votives, rippled wood pillar {actually a back massager I think?} and silver bells are all things I’ve had for many years.  The only things I spent money on were the 3 mercury votives and paper garland.  The mercury votives were 99¢ each from Target.

The DIY paper garland was an idea I *borrowed* from Belinda over at The Happy Home.  {I’m telling you.  She’s great.} It ran me about $5.

The silver bells are Handy Hubby’s from when he was little.  {They really need polished.}  He got one each Christmas as a child.  I sat them atop clear glass votives to keep them from rolling around and to give them some height.

To keep things from feeling too stark, I tried a little layering:  the star/ribbon over the mirror, the green leafy branches & icicle garland in the background, the pillars & votives & paper garland in the foreground. Notice how a few of the leaves reach up to the mirror, curve around the white ceramic pillar and brush the paper garland.  I also like how just at the right angle the metal star rests atop the mirrored reflection of our Christmas tree {across the room}.  A happy accident.

So do you want a DIY paper garland tutorial?  If so, keep reading.  If not, stop reading.

DIY PAPER GARLAND TUTORIAL

There are several versions of paper garland tutorials out there in the blog world.  I used Belinda’s and tweaked it a little.  Staying true to my celery, lavender and eggplant color scheme, I bought 10 sheets of scrapbooking paper. {5 sheets of lavendar polka dot and 5 sheets of celery polka dot} This cost me roughly $5.  As far as paper goes, that’s expensive.  But as far as garland goes, that’s cheap.  Then I used a 2″ circle cutting tool {try Fiskars} to cut out a buh-zillion 2″ paper circles. {You could do this by hand but I wouldn’t recommend it.} I used up all 10 sheets of paper.

With all my circles cut out, I took 2 of each color to make 1 paper bauble.

I folded each circle in half, wrong side out.

I applied glue just to the outer edge of 1 circle, wrong side out.  {Be sure to leave the folded edge free of glue…this comes in handy later when stringing the baubles together.}

I attached a folded circle of the opposite color to the glued circle.

I continued gluing and adding the folded circles, alternating colors, until all 4 circles were glued together.  {Layne said the baubles looked like little Saturn planets.}

Then I repeated this over and over and over

…or to be exact 75 times.  It does take a while {hence the change in lighting – from natural daylight to artificial evening light} but it’s very easy and I found it quite calming.  I let the baubles dry completely.  I threaded a needle onto my trusty spool of twine.  You could use string, thread, yarn, etc.

Then I pulled the twine through the center of each bauble.  {That’s why you only use glue on the outer edges of the circles.} I did have to gently pull some of the baubles to open up the middle and make way for the needle.  I could have used a longer needle but I didn’t have one.

I knotted each end of twine to reveal a very pretty garland.

It’s playful, colorful, even a little textural.  I taped mine to the mantel but it could be just as great on the Christmas tree, around doorways, on a dining table or traipsing along a wall.  Oh, and what about a party decoration?!

I’m definitely saving this paper garland after the holiday season is over.  Who knows where it’ll end up next?  What about you?  Are you making any Christmas decorations?  Do you prefer store bought or handmade seasonal decor?  I like both.  Obviously.

images: all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

16 Comments

08.December.2010

Can you tell me where you got the log-like stool in the first photo (in front of the fireplace)? I’m guessing West Elm, which is usually out of my price range, but since it seems you find such great deals, perhaps it’s more affordable that I think….

Thanks!

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08.December.2010

You have way too much time on your hands! I don’t see how you have time to work 2 days a week! It does look good though. Keep up the good work!

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08.December.2010

Alix – The scalloped wooden stool is from my local Frontgate outlet. I bought it for less than $80 – which is quite a steal considering they normally go for more than $200!

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08.December.2010

Love that! I kind of like the idea of doing one on a smaller scale – say 1 to 1.5 inches – for garland on the tree. I would have had to start last summer to get it done in time, though!

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08.December.2010

Neighbor Dave – That’s why I count on you to prepare meals for me every now and then!

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08.December.2010

so i bought the mercury votives last week but mine were $2.99 a votive! were they on sale or is it just cheaper in a different part of the country?

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replied on December 9th, 2010

Alli – I don’t recall the votives being on sale. Prices can vary in different parts of the country. I bought mine a few weeks ago. $2.99/votive still isn’t too bad!

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08.December.2010

Love the simple elegance of your mantlescape. Really, really love the DIY garland! :) Thanks so much for the tutorial.

Your blog awesome! I always look forward to reading your new entries.

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09.December.2010

I love the look of the paper garland! I might set the kiddos to work on the weekend making one (or 6 :) I used our tree garland to decorate the chandelier this year, strange but true.

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10.December.2010

I just finished a similar garland. I machine stitched through paper layers from an old book. Really, really fast. Like, maybe 10 minutes for an 8 foot string.

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14.December.2010

I really love the silver bells. Do you have any idea if they are still available as a yearly collector’s item?

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replied on December 14th, 2010

Oona – I’ll have to ask my mother-in-law. She got each of a our sons a silver bell for their first Christmases. I’ll let you know!

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14.December.2010

Excellent. Thanks!

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15.December.2010

Oona, the sleigh bells are from Wallace, and they have been making them since 1970. I know this because my dad starting collecting them when they started because that was the year I was born! He died in 2005, and I took over the collection. They are a lovely gift too, especially because the price is right around $30.

http://www.smythjewelers.com/occasions/christmas/wallace-2010-sleighbell.html

Dana – Love your house in the every day, but the holiday festiveness is just wonderful!

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replied on December 15th, 2010

Dawn – Thank you for your comment and link to Oona! And you’re right! Small world. On a side note, I think my mother-in-law had Layne and Everett’s names engraved onto their 1st Christmas silver bells at an added cost to make them a little more personal.

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10.February.2011

Love it! I hope I can find my circle punch in time to make a garland for my daughter’s party! (I am still not completely unpacked/organized from moving, otherwise it would be somewhere I could easily find it!)

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