I made a “real” garland for the first time last Christmas and was super happy with how it turned out. I was really looking forward to making another one this Christmas, but to be honest, I’m not 100% happy with how it turned out. It’s way bushier than I intended it to be, but I also don’t care enough to redo it, haha. I’m learning how to be less of a perfectionist. There’s a time and a place to be relentless, and a time and a place to accept things and move on.
I still think it looks good, and anyway, the process was still super satisfying, as DIYs tend to be. Here’s how I made my Christmas fireplace garland from real evergreen branches!
-(optional) various pieces of fake berries, acorns, holly, winter greenery, etc.
1. Prep the branches
I got a mixture of pine, cedar and fir branches at my grocery store, but you can do this with any type of evergreen branches. You’re supposed to soak your branches in water for about 24 hours, which helps to keep them “fresher” for longer. I didn’t do that just because last year, I didn’t do any research before I started making my garland and found out too late that that’s what you’re supposed to do. But my garland still looked beautiful until the holidays were over, the branches were just kind of dry and brittle after a while, which I don’t mind since I don’t really touch or disturb it after I hang it. But it’s not a bad idea to soak the branches before you begin!
2. Lay out your branches in the shape and order you want
Our fireplace is in the corner of the room, so there’s not enough space to hang it actually on the mantle and have it drape off the sides nicely or even stay on without falling. Instead, I hang it sort of right underneath the mantle, against the brick face, with a bit hanging down on both sides of the fireplace. You can, of course, just make it hang horizontally or however you want.
3. Tie the branches together with floral wire
I recommend wearing gardening gloves for this part. There’s a lot of maneuvering of parts and manhandling of branches that might cut up your fingers/hands. Also, there may be sap dripping out of the branches and it’s a pain to clean off your hands. If your garland ends up being really bushy or heavy, you might have to make two different pieces that are not connected, just so it’s easier to carry and hang. My garland this year wasn’t very heavy so I made it in one complete piece.
4. (Optional) Attach more holiday touches to the garland
You could totally keep your garland bare or attach more holiday odds and ends as you see fit. Last year, I used only cedar branches, so the extra stuff helped to bring in more colours and different textures. This year, I used three different types of branches and I thought that was enough variety and left it just at that. It’s up to you!
5. Apply heavy-duty hooks to your hanging surface and attach the garland
I used command hooks that you’re supposed to use with double-sided foamy tape, which I find to be pretty sturdy. The garland I made last year was pretty heavy and I had no problems with it falling down or not being able to support the weight at all. One thing to note is the hooks I got have a really small hook part, so the garland is too fat to fit into it. I just wrapped some more floral wire around the garland and attached the floral wire to the hooks. It works just as well.
6. Adjust the garland as necessary
Once you’ve hung up your garland, you may find it doesn’t look as nice or put together as it looked while you were building it on the floor. This is easy to fix! Shape the branches however you need to fix the shape or make it hang nicer and tie it in place with more floral wire. You can also take this opportunity to fill the bald spots you didn’t notice before or do any trimming you might need to do.
This is a pretty simple process that takes just a couple of hours. Let me know if you try making your own garland. I’d love to know how it turns out!