I cannot recommend this “gourmand chimney fire” scented Cire Trudon candle enough! I don’t have many Christmas decorations, but this was well worth the splurge and pairs beautifully with the smell of fresh evergreen.
Although the holidays may be looking different for most people this year, I think the festive merriment is so good (and so necessary right now) for the soul. So I decided to start decorating early this year, and to do more than my usual Christmas tree.
We have a beautiful arched window in our living room, and I wanted to frame it with a thick garland. However, I have a strong aversion to fake, plastic greenery. Even if it looks real, I know it’s plastic, and in my own home it’s not something I can tolerate. So, having never done any sort of DIY home project before, I decided this lockdown was the perfect time to try my hand at a DIY real Christmas garland.
When I started looking into doing this, I was surprised at how simple it actually was! Here I was thinking it would be some big, complicated undertaking. But nope, super simple that even me, a true DIY amateur, can make a beautiful Christmas garland. I will explain my steps in this post, but here is the youtube video I watched and used as my reference.
- Twine, the length depends on how long you want to make your garland (I picked mine up at the local hardware store).
- Green paddle wire, also known as garden wire, 22 gauge (keep in mind 22 gauge is an American measurement, so if you’re in Europe or elsewhere, just look for thin garden wire. I compared photos of 22 gauge paddle wire to what I was seeing at the hardware store, and chose the closest match and it worked perfectly).
- Hand secateurs, also known as pruning shears (again I just picked mine up from the local hardware store).
- Fresh greenery! I feel like I am really lucky that I was able to just go down to my local Friday Farmers market and buy bushels of fresh evergreen and berry branches. You can also collect from your backyard or nearby forest, or go down to your local garden center, they should have these supplies available or be able to point you in the right direction. I didn’t follow a specific pattern, but instead I just looked at what was available and tried to collect a good variety of evergreens. In total I bought about 5 different types, and kept an eye out for different shades of green and used the red berry branches as contrast. So whatever you think is pretty and want to include, go for it!
(Instructions mostly taken from this youtube video I watched, which I found super helpful, and with my own personal tips thrown in from my experience)
Start by measuring out your twine. I knew I wanted to frame the window in our living room, so I measured that and then added an extra foot. This is important because as you make your garland, the twine will start to get wrapped up with the wire and its length will shrink a little, so you want to leave some wiggle room. You can always trim after if it’s too long.
After you’ve measured out your twin, lay it out on a flat surface. Since mine was so long, I rolled up the carpet in my office and used the floor as my workspace. Then take your paddle wire and coil it tightly around one end.
Next, start making individual bundles of your evergreens, using your hand secateurs to trim the branches. Each of my bundles were roughly 25-35 cm in length, and I tried to use all my evergreens in each. I alternated with the red berry branches, using those in every other bundle since that’s what I had the least of. You’ll want to try to keep all of your bundles close to the same size. The size you make your bundles will dictate how thick your garland will end up being.
Each time you make a bundle, lay it on top of the twine, grab the paddle wire and twist it tightly around the greens a few times so that it’s secure. Make sure you do not twist the twine around – the twine is just there to be your guide.
Continue to make and attach individual bundles with the paddle wire, slightly overlapping the previous bundle. You won’t cut the wire until the very end, so each bundle is wrapped with the same wire.
When you get to the end, make another bundle and face it the opposite direction. There will be a bit of a gap here, so just fill it in with your extra greenery, using the wire to secure everything.
When it looks good to you, cut the wire and secure it within the garland by wrapping it tightly several times. And that’s it! After I hung the garland, I did add in some extra bundles at places I thought needed to be filled out some more, and secured it with individual wire.
Benefits of a real garland:
- The fresh evergreen smell is incredible! Especially in combination with this Cire Trudon candle. It is an expensive candle, but the “gourmand chimney fire” scent is truly heavenly, and paired with the fresh forest aroma from the garland, it will make your living space smell like a forest cabin at Christmas with the fireplace going! Also, the vessel is so beautiful I will definitely be reusing it.
- A real garland is more sustainable and better for the environment. Unlike a faux Christmas garland, this real one is completely biodegradable, and the garden wire can be reused for many different house projects. Plastic garlands, while they may last you a few years, will eventually end up in a landfill where the plastic will take years to degrade and will leach into our already precarious waterways and soil.
- It’s a fun project that lets you be creative!
- Nothing can ever compare to the real thing 😉