Christmas craft: How to make a natural Christmas garland

Celebrate the vitality of nature in the colder months with a Christmas garland made using foraged items, says Lake District florist Rachel Wardley.

Natural Christmas mantelpiece garland

How to make a Christmas mantelpiece garland

A mantel is the focus of your room, especially if it’s home to a roaring fire. With very few materials, you can create a wonderful, natural Christmas decoration that can also be adapted to windowsills and door frames.

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You Will Need

  • length of rope measured to the length of garland you require
  • A reel of bind wire or twine
  • Scissors or secateurs
  • Foraged items: pine or fir, viburnum berries, rosehips, hedgerow treasures

Step 1

materials for Christmas garland
Materials for the natural Christmas garland

Measure a length of rope to suit your mantel and tie a simple knot in each end. Attach your reel of bind wire or twine on to one end of the rope. You are now ready to start adding your pine or fir.

Step 2

Tying twine on Christmas garland
Bind your pine or fir bunch

Starting from one end of your rope, take a handful of pine or fir and lay it over the end knot of your rope. Using your bind wire or twine, tightly wind it around the ends of your pine bunch to secure it to the rope. Don’t cut your bind wire – leave it attached to the rope.

Step 3

Binding the natural Christmas garland
Overlay and bind the pine or fir

Take another handful of pine or fir and overlap the first. Attach it as you did the first, with your bind wire or twine. Keep overlaying as you attach the next bunch of pine so there are no gaps. It’s important to note that you must ‘travel’ in the same direction, from one end of your garland to the other. Keep adding your pine bunches until you reach the end of your rope. You have completed the base garland and you are ready to place it onto your mantel.

Step 4

Placing the natural Christmas garland on the mantelpiece
Place the garland on the mantelpiece

Lay the garland on to your mantel, placing a protective layer underneath if necessary (you can use biodegradable bin bags folded to the width of your mantel to protect its surface.) I like to have my garland tumbling over the edge for a more natural feel. If your mantel is narrow, you may need to weigh your garland down to secure it in place. You can nestle small weights into your garland, so they are out of sight.

Step 5

Adding foraged ingredients to the natural Christmas garland
Add foraged ingredients to the garland

All that’s left to do is have fun adding your foraged ingredients. Nestle each item into your pine-base garland, starting with the larger pieces. Avoid creating lines by placing your foraged finds throughout your garland top, middle and bottom. Why not have some tumbling over the mantel edge, too? Add depth by recessing some of your ingredients while others pop right out. The aim is to make your arrangement look as natural as possible – after all, remember you have simply brought the outside in.

Step 6

Adding extras on the mantelpiece decoration
Add extras to the mantelpiece decoration

Complete your mantel arrangement by adding extras. I popped a few twigs and berries into terracotta pots and placed them, along with candles, at the opposite end of the mantel to extend my design.

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Natural Christmas mantelpiece garland
The completed natural Christmas mantelpiece garland

Stand back to admire your magical mantelpiece, brimming with wild charm. And for a final festive flourish, why not add a stocking or two? ’Tis the season, after all…

If you are using hardy winter foliage, your mantel arrangement and table display will last you through the festive season, but if you have a water spray, a hydrating spritz won’t hurt. You can add to your arrangements, too, bringing in finds from your Christmas or Boxing Day walks. Remember, if you’re lighting candles, never leave them unattended.

All photos ©Jessica Reeve