Wondering how people create such lush, full garlands at the holidays? Today we’re sharing how to create a gorgeous, full Christmas mantel garland, step-by-step!
Over the last couple of years I’ve been getting a ton of questions here and on Instagram about what garlands I use to create my holiday mantel, as well as lots of you asking for details on how I do, it so today’s the day!
A mantel is not only one of my favorite places to decorate, but it’s really a focal point. It sets the tone for the whole space!
For years I bought real garland and simply laid it on top of the mantel. But a few years ago I wanted to try to create a more beautiful, lush look and also swoop the garland rather than laying it on top. It is a little more work, but I love the results and I definitely think it’s worth it!
How to Create a Christmas Mantel Garland Step by Step
To start off with, I now use faux garlands which is something I never thought I’d do. But I have to say, it’s so much better! Not only can I do it earlier (I used to have to wait for live ones to be available) but I no longer have needles everywhere and the worry of it drying out. Or worse, me having to redo it mid-season.
And it’s really much safer, especially since we like to light our fireplace. So faux it is!!
- One cheap, bendy garland
- Two 6 ft. mid-priced pine or other type garland (this one or this one could work, and I’ve sourced more options below)
- Two or three realistic cedar garland (this is the one I used, another good option, with more below)
- One faux eucalyptus garland to cut-up and mix in (or this one)
- Command Hooks
- Extras like pinecones, berry picks, ornaments, bells, etc. *(more options below)
Step 1: Assemble your garlands
I used six 6 ft. garlands for my mantel. One cheap 6 ft. one for the base, two 6 ft. mid-priced garlands as the second layer, three 6 ft. garlands for the final layer, and one eucalyptus garland cut up into pieces and added in as the final touch.
Step 2: Install Command Hooks to hold your garland
The first step is to install Command Hooks to secure your garlands. I use the large size with the metal hooks because I’ve found those to work the best. In the past when I tried using the plastic hooks, they simply couldn’t hold the weight. I have found these large metal hooks can easily hold the six total garlands that I use.
Simply follow the instructions on the package to adhere them securely to your mantel, and make sure to wait the appropriate amount of time before loading the garlands.
Step 3: Start with a Cheap, Bendy Garland
Yep, you know the ones. They are at Target for about $6. In fact, I’m pretty sure I used to have some and had given them away long ago! But they are perfect for this purpose.
Since they are so pliable you can use them as your “base” and bend them to give your garland any shape you want. I love one large swag or ‘swoop’, but you could also opt for a double swag. Whatever style you decide to do, use the inexpensive garland to create the basic shape.
Secure the garland by bending the garland around the Command Hooks to secure them (you’ll do this with each subsequent garland).
Step 4: Layer in Your “Mid-Price” Garland
For the second garland, I use a mid-price garland. I chose one that is pine since my last and final garland I use is cedar. I think mixing up your greenery styles is best, so I recommend that for this one you use a different tree/greenery type than what you use for the final one.
You’ll take the second garland and wind it around the original garland a bit so that they look more like ‘one’ garland.
Step 5: Add the Final “Realistic” Garland
For my final step I layer a the most realistic garland. For this, I’ve chosen a beautiful faux cedar garland that’s the most natural looking I’ve ever seen (mine is backordered, but this one and this one are good substitutes and look very similar).
Whatever one you choose, just buy the most realistic looking garland you can as it’s the one that will show the most.
I lay it over the second garland, but then I use the pieces of pine to cover whatever wires are showing. Here you need to do a little ‘zhushing’ to make things fluffed out and natural looking.
Also, these garlands have a wire end that you can twist and attach where you want to. I’ve used three of these 6 ft’ garlands for the final layer in the mantel. I place the two side ones first so I have the right length on each side, then take the third one and wire it to the others. This also creates more fullness across the middle where you want it!
The garlands I purchased are admittedly more of an investment, but I’ve found them to be very worthwhile. Not only is it essential for making the whole scene look like authentically fresh greens, it’s also saved me money in the long run. When I add up what I spent each year on the live greenery, these have already paid for themselves in just a couple of years!
Step 6: Add garnishes such as pinecones, berries, and faux eucalyptus branches
Once I’m done with the main garlands, I like to add in some real or faux eucalyptus. In the past I added real eucalyptus branches but they dry out and are too much of a fire hazard here in California, so now I use faux.
I bought this eucalyptus garland and cut it up into pieces and then just stuck them in here and there. They stay fairly well all by themselves, but you can usually bend the ends to secure them. Or if you need more security, you can always use additional wire to keep them in place.
I think the eucalyptus really adds dimension and of course, I love it!
In addition to that, I always add pinecones and several years I’ve also added white or blue juniper berries.
Step 7: Add in optional items like ornaments or lights
This last step is optional of course. You can always stop there and have a beautiful, totally stunning Christmas mantel garland. I didn’t add ornaments this time, but a couple years ago I wired silver ornaments to the garlands and I loved that look!
You can also add bells at this point, or of course, lights. I love the look of lights and think I might do that next year!
I hope you’ve found this tutorial for how to create a Christmas mantel garland helpful! It took me some trial and error over the years, but I’ve found this to be the best way to achieve a really full, magazine-worthy look. Be sure to check out the whole French-inspired Christmas Living Room here!
I’m linking most of the items that I used below. In some cases, I’ve sourced similar items that I think will give you the look where items are backordered or no longer available. And I hope you’ll try it and let me know how it goes!
Shop Christmas Mantel Garland
*please note affiliate links have been added for your convenience*
Be sure to visit my blogging friends who are also sharing their Christmas Mantel Decor Ideas below!
Snowy Natural Rustic Christmas Mantel Decor at The Happy Housie
Assymetrical Christmas Mantel Garland at Maison de Pax
How to Create a Gorgeous Full Christmas Mantel Garland at Maison de Cinq
How to Design an Elegant Christmas Mantel at Grace in My Space
Festive Farmhouse Holiday Mantel Decor at She Gave it a Go
Colorful Holiday Bedroom Mantel at tatertots and jello
Classic Burgundy and Silver Mantel at Deeply Southern Home
A Traditional Red and Silver Christmas Mantel at Sincerely, Marie Designs
Elegant Holiday Mantel with Candlesticks at Modern Glam
Console Table Holiday Mantel at Rooms for Rent
How to Decorate a Rustic Christmas Mantel at The Tattered Pew
Neutral Christmas Mantel with Green Garland at Taryn Whiteaker Designs
Red and White Modern Holiday Mantel at This is Simplicite
Winter Wonderland Christmas Mantel Ideas at Clean and Scentsible
Assymetrical Christmas Mantel Ideas at Life is a Party
Our Outdoor Fireplace at Christmas at This is Our Bliss
A Christmas Village Mantel at A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
An Elegant Christmas Mantel at Rambling Renovators
Green and Gold Neutral Holiday Mantel at Joanna Anastasia
Warm and Elegant Holiday Mantel at Life is Better at Home
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more my holiday decorating posts below:
Keeping it Simple: 10 Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas
French Inspired Christmas Decor in the Living Room
European Style Christmas Decorating Ideas in the Family Room
Simple French Christmas Decorating in the Kitchen
Yeah mantel is beautiful! How do you hang the stockings? I’m gonna try to jazz mine up because it is in poor need of help 😑 hopefully the hubby won’t stroke over cost of garlands 😅
Hi Michelle! To hang the stockings I just use scotch tape haha! It’s hidden under the garland so you can’t really see it. You could absolutely use another command hook though.
Hope that helps!
Bethany Bernstein says
This is the best explanation of how to put garland on a mantel that I’ve ever read – thank you so much!! Can’t wait to try this next year!
Sheryl Robbins says
Wow your garland looks amazing Sheila and you make it look so easy, haha! You’ve inspired me and I’m going to try to create my own this year. Thank you!
It is easy! I think you’ll be surprised when you try it Sheryl! Thanks for your kind words and happy holidays to you!
Command hooks save the day during the holiday season! Beautifully decorated Sheila!
Haha isn’t that so true?! Thanks so much Mansa!
This is gorgeous Sheila! Genius idea to use command hooks…I don’t know why I never thought to do that!!
Aww thank you Jo-Anna! You should try it!
Absolutely gorgeous! Love the layered garlands together – they look so realistic.
Thanks so much Jenn!
Sheila! I love your entire home at Christmas time, and this mantel is no exception!! It’s beautiful!!
That’s so kind – thanks so much Aliya!