Updated: Dec 7, 2018
POMP Rating: 🌵🌵🌴🌴🌴
FACTORS INFLUENCING RATING:
· Husband will not be bothered with this project. 😊
· It’s always great to make stuff for FREE – especially when it’s this beautiful. 😊
· Christmas tree lots are always happy to unload the scraps – and the sap. 😊
· Wife could get frustrated with sap and blame husband for this for no reason at all. ☹
· If compliments are not given at project completion, wife could feel unappreciated. ☹
Making Beautiful Christmas Garland - FREE
I think garland is so pretty at Christmastime, don’t you? I like to use it inside the house and outside. I can get overwhelmed with all the garland I need because I have porch railing, a pretty little white picket fence, stair railing inside, a fireplace mantel, and it goes on and on and on. This is one of those things that could easily get out of hand with my meager budget! So, what I do is go to the Christmas tree lot and ask for their scraps. They are more than happy to get rid of them, and they have way more than I need. I use the scraps to make garland by attaching pieces to one another with florist wire. The downside: it takes time, hands definitely get cramped, and there’s the sap- lots of sap.
How to Get Started
Once you’ve got all the scraps you think you’ll need, set up a table somewhere nice. I usually ask my husband for help with this – not that I can’t do it myself, but I want him to feel a part of the Christmas decorating spirit. You will need a work table because you’ll be there for awhile – like I said, it takes time. I enjoy being outdoors so much that I set up my work station outside somewhere, plus there’s the sap I mentioned. You don’t want that on your kitchen table. You’ll need good scissors or garden shears, florist wire, a good staple gun, and maybe some gloves. I can’t work well with my hands when I wear gloves, but some people can. If you do wear gloves, there will be sap all over them. Take that into consideration before deciding because you may have to purchase new ones after this project, which will cost money.
First, take a look at your scraps and you’ll probably see that they are in wide “bunches”. Take a scrap and trim off the areas that are making it look wide, creating a narrow scrap. Do this to each piece you have. Connect the ends with florist wire and keep going until you have a long enough piece to decorate with. I even use the scraps that fall on the ground when I’m trimming if they look good. This doesn’t need to look perfect; the imperfections in the shape is what makes it so beautiful when you attach it to your railing. I use the staple gun to attach the end pieces to my railing or fence, but I use florist wire to attach anything indoors that I don’t want holes in. This is important to save arguments with my husband, who would most definitely have something to say about using a staple gun on the trim inside our house. Drape the garland how you want, depending on where you are putting it. I like a little swag on my fence, and I place a red bow at each fence post. Inside on a fireplace mantel, you can simply drape it over the mantle piece. For a fuller look, just add another layer. Be very mindful of if you are building a fire inside near the greenery. Keep the garland far from any open flame or even heat from a fire. My mantel is far enough above our fireplace that this is not an issue.
How to Maintain
Maintaining is very easy. The garland stays green and beautiful for more than a month with a little maintenance. Outside, if it rains often, you don’t need to do anything at all. However, if you live in a dry climate, you’ll need to mist with the garden hose once or twice a week to keep it fresh looking. Inside, you’ll need to mist the garland lightly with water from a spray bottle about once a week, or a little more if you keep the heater on and the air is dry. When you mist the garland inside, the scraps give off a beautiful pine/woodsy scent that will last for several hours and makes everyone in the house feel more festive – unless they have allergies, in which case you may want to re-think the whole idea of bringing the outdoors inside your home.
Worth the Effort?
It usually takes me a full day working to get all the garland made and placed around my house. My hands are always covered in sap after, and I use mineral spirits to remove it. The red bows cost about one dollar each at Wal-Mart, so that’s my biggest expense for this project, other than my time. Worth it? Yes, I think it is, considering the fact that a small string of live garland from the home improvement store or Christmas tree lot costs around $20. When the holidays are over, we simply throw the garland in the fire pit outside and have a “burning of the garland” party. I save my bows for use next year unless they have turned orange from the sun, which does sometimes happen if we’ve had a sunny December in Savannah. My best advice when starting this project is to give yourself time. Don’t get frustrated if it takes you a whole day. I also try to start and finish this project in one day because honestly, I don’t want to keep working on this into the next day or I will get frustrated. It’s so worth it when you see how gorgeous and festive everything looks, and you’ll be able to enjoy that one day’s hard work for an entire month or more.