Written by: Stef Reid | Designer at Courtney Turk Interiors
Quick background: my partner and I purchased our townhome 2 years ago, and as soon as our first Christmas rolled around, we were hit with the harsh reality that the Holiday Season is expensive… really expensive.
The snowy season brings with it a whole slew of new bills to pay: presents, food, holiday decor, great holiday shopping (for myself), the list goes on. At the time, my partner and I, like any new homeowners, were still getting used to the cadence of all the expenses that come with a new home.
So, I set out to decorate my house on the cheap.
This meant dressing up my stairway with beautiful garland made from things I could find in nature (and around the house). The project costs next to nothing, along with hands full of tree sap for days, and pine needles everywhere *cue Dyson investment that came shortly thereafter*.
Safe to say, despite the mess, the end result was so worth it.
…and so began my love for decorating my home each Holiday Season with natural elements. If you were to walk into my home today, you would see natural garland around my front door, draped over my mantle, and crawling up the banister. To say I’m obsessed is an understatement. Plus, the house smells amazing!
So, I am going to share with you the easy step by step process of how to create a beautiful natural garland yourself. This process remains the same no matter where you choose to decorate, so, simply rinse and repeat.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Floral Wire (you can get this at Michaels)
- Garden Shears, like these
- Pine or Cedar Boughs
Step 1: Measure
First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out how long you want your garland to be.
Be sure to account for a little extra if you want your garland to drape down over the ends of your mantle, or if you are choosing to do a drooping garland on your staircase, similar to the photo above.
My rule of thumb is to collect 2-3 large branches per foot of garland. You’ll likely have extra, but this will be used to bulk up the garland at the end and fill any gaps.
Step 2: Forage
This is an easy one.
Your next step, and the most labour intensive, is to head out to a forested area to cut down the greenery you’ll be using.
If you choose to skip this step, you can find pre-cut branches at your local garden centre.
Another great hack (and my personal favourite) is to stop by a Christmas Tree farm and ask to collect any boughs they have in their scrap pile.
Step 3: Create a solid base
In order to build the foundation for your garland, you will want to affix a single piece of wire all along the banister (or mantle, or doorframe). Get creative! You can wrap it around the spindles, or around the railing itself.
This is what you will attach the branches to, so make sure it is secure.
Step 4: Bulk it up
Now for the fun part.
The beauty of natural garland is that it doesn’t need to be perfect, in fact, the best garlands are the ones that look as if they came right from nature.
Take your time building the garland by snipping pieces of the floral wire and using them to attach branches to your base wire. I personally like to start by making a single row of branches that overlap one another along the entirety of the base wire. Then, I use smaller branches to fill out the garland until I’m happy with the finished product.
Step 5: Trim
This last step is how you can add a bit of personality to the garland. I personally keep additional decorations to a minimum, but you can add whatever you want to spice up the final product.
In the past I have added pinecones and ribbon to my garlands. You can also add small Christmas ornaments or lights!
… and that’s it! Now you have a beautiful, natural garland to admire for the Holiday Season.
Tip: mist your greenery with water every second day to keep it looking fresh! Or, if you want to get real fancy, you can purchase Wilf Pruf from your local hardware store.
Have fun, and be sure to tag us in your creations!