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Festive Garlands, DIY style

Deck the Halls .... and the Staircase, Mantel and Door

Have you ever walked into a holiday-decorated home and thought, “Wow, I feel festive already!” That is exactly what visitors experience at Julianne and Bill Martin’s Lone Tree home at Christmas. The Martin’s are long-time Highlands Ranch Lifestyle friends, find Bill’s inspiring story in our Men’s 2021 Issue. Julianne has created handmade garlands for several years, both for her home and friends. The secret? They aren’t that complicated. The hardest part is getting the materials. Hello online shopping! Beyond that, you spread out in a large space and let your imagination run wild. 

Here, Julianne shares her simple step-by-step process for creating your own holiday garlands.

1. Measure your space. Are you creating a garland to hang over your door, mantel, or staircase? For doors and doorways, simply measure the height and width. Double the height and add to the width. If you want the garland to puddle at the bottom, add a foot.

If you are measuring for a mantel or a staircase, consider if you want the garland taut, swagged or wrapped. The easiest way is to take a long piece of rope or twine, hang the way you want to hang your garland, and then measure.  Don’t forget to let it hang down the sides if you wish. You can also measure the length of the mantel or staircase, then calculate one-and-a-half times that dimension if you wish to swag, and double that dimension if you wish to wrap

2.     Lay the evergreen sprays or garlands out in front of you. If using sprays, use floral wire to attach one spray to the next to form a longer garland. Be sure to overlap slightly so that the wire doesn't show. If using artificial garland, slightly bend each branch to create a fuller look.

You can double up garlands if they are too thin or sparse. 

3.     Attach ribbon. Use two different ribbons, like textured and satin, for visual complexity. Keep the ribbons on the roll so that you don't run out before the end. Instead of laying the ribbon flat, attach approximately 12" of ribbon to every 8" of garland, so that it stands up. When you've reached the end, neatly tuck the excess back into the wire.

4.     Add stems. Cut stems to desired length. Be sure to vary the type of stem and attach underneath the ribbon with floral wire, so that it flares out from behind the ribbon.

5.     Add embellishments. Use wire to attach to the garland. Ball ornaments and bows look great on top of where the ribbon is attached to the garland and hides the wire. You can add glittered fruit, pinecones, even small fabric ornaments. The options are endless.

6.     Hang your garland. Decorative ties and bows can be used for staircase banisters, large Command hooks for mantels, even cable ties if you won’ t see the back of the garland. Doors and Doorways benefit from specific garland hangers to make hanging simple and safe.


Evergreen garland or sprays, real or artificial

floral wire, some cut into 6" lengths

floral ties

wire cutters and needle nose pliers

wired ribbon

ball ornaments

artificial stems

Tip: To get more than one year’s use out of your garland, invest in a top quality artificial option to justify the cost and effort. Consider if you want a tailored look or a traditional, embellished look when choose the type of evergreen. Hobby stores as well as online warehouse outlets are a great place to shop.

Pro Tip: Save some of your ribbon and embellishments to add decorative elements to planters or vases in the same space. It ties the garland to the rest of your home and creates a cohesive look.

  • Ribbons
  • Ball ornaments
  • Festive Stems
  • Tools
  • Attach ribbon
  • Let ribbons stand up
  • Add embellishments