So you want to buy that gorgeous, standout, freeze-dried boxwood garland you happened upon in this month’s West Elm catalog. You’re dreaming in LED twinkle lights, on the verge of adding that garland to your cart, when your heart sinks in your chest: Ninety bucks per six feet. And you know, deep down, 60’’ of fresh Christmas garland isn’t going to get you very far.
Fret not, my West Elm-lovin’ companions; there is a way, and it’s virtually cost-free. 💸
Four years ago on this exact mission, I sought the World Wide Web for alternative means of decorating my home gloriously for the holiday. With a few supplies and foraging time in a primo rural spot, I had myself the perfect arsenal for assembling the most breathtaking, aromatic, and fresh Christmas garland.
What You’ll Need
– Large Worktable
– Freshly cut evergreens (20 – 30 branches per 6-feet of garland)
– Decorative greens–pine cones, juniper berry branches, wheat grasses, etc. (optional)
– Leaf Bag
– Gardening Shears / Pruners
– Needle Nose Pliers
– Green Floral Wire
– Measuring Tape
– Twine (for hanging)
– Hammer & Nails (for hanging)
– Hairspray (What?! You’ll see!)
Let’s Get Foraging
Find yourself a nice pair of garden shears/pruners, don warm attire, and allot time to go on the hunt. The best fresh garland features an array of evergreens and a little creativity in ornament and swag. Once you’ve got your evergreen stock, get ready for sticky and prickled fingers. Find a large surface and gather all your tools. You’re about to have the hottest Christmas mantel in town.
Where’s it Going?!
It’s important to decide in advance where the garland will be placed. It’ll present differently draping around your front door versus a mantel versus a wreath. Consider this before designing your piece. The garland might need some propping, but I’m sure you’ll have something laying around to hold that baby up.
Make That Garland
Use a wire cutter or scissors to cut your wire into 4’’- 6’’ pieces. Start with a malleable twig foundation – such as white pine or arborvitae – to easily mold into whatever shape you desire (wreath or garland). Determine your length and connect the branches with floral wire intertwining sprigs in each branch. Wrap two or three times taut in each spot. For stubborn spots, use needle nose pliers to twist tie nice-n-tight.
Add your base evergreen to your aesthetic. I prefer a bushier, fuller garland—it fans out SO nice. Pick up the garland from time to time to ensure it’s secure. Once the base is secure, collect your decorative features (pine cones, juniper berries, etc.) to pump it up!
Put that Baby on Display
It’s time for your garland to shine! Drape your garland on a flat surface such as a mantel, console, etc. When hanging over a doorway, use a piece of twine attached to a nail, then tie to secure. For wreaths: find high quality ribbon, make a knot at the top and hang! Add a bow for extra flare.
Tips to Making Fresh Garland
- Pre-cut your wires! This will save you a boatload of time when building your garland.
- Pick up your garland from time to time to ensure it’s holding together. Secure floppy spots with more floral wire.
- White pine is devilishly sappy and therefore sticky! Expect to find brown marks all over your hands. Use the rough side of a sponge to remove grit.
- To conceal wire on pinecones, circle the wire underneath the uppermost woody scales and lightly pull up until hidden. Twist tie and leave several inches to secure onto your garland.
- Certain decorative pieces shed everywhere! Wheatgrasses are one of them. Spritzing with hairspray keeps nature at bay and looking in tip-top shape.
- Garland tends to dry out (especially in a home with warm-forced air like ours!!). Have a handy dandy spray bottle to douse evergreens with water every so often. It’s basically your Christmas air plant.
- Handmade wreaths can be floppy. Solve this problem by buying a Grapevine Wreath from a crafts store. Finagle your evergreens in between branches. No wire necessary.
In Christmas Conclusion
That’s it! You’re done!! Are you proud? Ya should be. Making garland isn’t an exact science! You’re going to learn along the way, which is A-OK. And if you follow these tips, your house will be scenting like a Christmas Wonderland forevaaaah. Aside from $5 dollars for 100’-feet of floral wire, everything else needed for this project very well exists in your toolbox. Can’t beat that with a stick (oh yes, pun intended 🌲).