How to Create Your Own Custom Garland
Crafting with wood is especially popular right now and you just need a few scraps of it to complete this project. It will only take a few minutes and a little effort to make a custom garland for your fireplace mantle or anywhere else you may wish to use it.
Switching out a garland is another easy way to change out your décor for the holidays and seasons. I always have a festive one ready for the next season and you can too.
First, gather your supplies. You’ll need a few scraps of wood cut into squares between 2-3 inches. I used wood cubes I bought from the Dollar Tree. I like them because they’re hollow and I don’t have to drill all the way through them to string them on my garland.
Grab some wood beads – I used a total of 11 on mine. Four smaller beads and seven large ones. I think they’re 20mm and 50mm but use what you have on hand. Part of the joy of crafting is using your supplies in a variety of projects and improvising when you don’t have exactly what someone else is using. I used a double length of twine to string all my elements together. There are a lot of ways to place your letters on the blocks so choose your own materials according to the method you want to use. When we get to that step I’ll have some ideas for you.
I started out by choosing the word I wanted on my garland. My word has six letters so I drilled holes in the top sides of my blocks then I stained them with Waverly Antique Wax. Walmart sells this wax and I love the color it gives without the smell and messiness of actual stain. I water my wax down quite a bit and add a little olive oil. It makes the wax less sticky and it makes the application much smoother. It dries a lot faster than stain too. While I’m waiting for the blocks to dry I paint my beads. There are several ways to paint, stain or dye your beads. This time I used a skewer that I keep in my workshop just for this purpose. I chose this method because I spray painted them matte black and I don’t have to chase them to get the job done. I place the ends of the skewer over an open box to let them dry. If I had opted to stain them I would have loaded a few on a skewer and used a stain pen to color them. That’s a great way to do a few beads at a time.
There are quite a few options you can use to letter your blocks. I cut a stencil using my cricut. I used stencil vinyl and just spaced my letters far enough apart so that when I cut them apart I had a border for my individual stencils. Once my stencils were on my blocks I dipped a stiff brush in my paint then off loaded most of it. I apply a couple light coats instead of one heavy one. This keeps the paint from bleeding under the stencil. I used Linen White chalk paint by Rustoleum but use what you’ve got handy. Oh! Let’s talk about this font! it’s called Milk and Wild I got it from Creative Fabrica and I think it’s perfect for this project. If you don’t have a cutting machine you could use graphite paper to trace your letters to the blocks and fill them in with a paint marker. Alphabet stickers are another option or if you have great handwriting skills you could freehand your letters.
Putting it all together
Once all your beads and blocks are dry get ready to bring it all together. I use twine. Double it up so that your twine is tight when you pull it through the holes you drilled. You want to do this so that your blocks won’t twist and turn once you’ve hung them. I tape the end of my twine so that I can thread it through my embroidering needle. You could probably find another way to string your garland but needles are cheap and if I’ve learned anything from my husband it is to use the right tool for the job! And just to drive his point home he regularly adds to my collection of power tools. I think I’ll keep him!
Decide the pattern you’re going to want and arrange your pieces in the order you’ll need them. My needle is only about ¼” longer than my cube so when I get it all the way through I grasp it with pliers to pull it the rest of the way. I used three beads on each end and a spacer bead between each block. Before I put my first bead on my twine I tied a knot because I don’t want my garland to move along the string. But leave enough string on the other side of that knot so you can have plenty of room to hang your garland. When you’re finished stringing everything together tie another knot and cut your string so there’s an equal amount of string on each side of your garland.
To give my garland a more finished look I loop the ends and wrap the string round itself a few times. I use hot glue to hold it securely. This step also creates loops to hang your garland.
You could also make a vertical version of this garland and drape it down your farmhouse blanket ladder. Switch out the elements to change up the theme according to your décor preference. Burlap is a great option if you like a more rustic look. If modern is your vibe then incorporate some metal. The sky is the limit for this simple project but next time you’re cutting wood – don’t throw those small scraps into the woodpile just yet. Make a garland. Happy crafting!
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