With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’m hustling and bustling to get the final touches to our new dining room done. My hubby and I built a farmhouse table that you can check out here. We hung a new chandelier and painted and I built a really cool mantel shelf for our big, empty dining room wall. After that was hung, there wasn’t really much to do aside from the fun part, decorating! Since the mantel shelf is a focal point of the room, I really wanted to add a subtle touch of festivity. It’s a pretty informal room, so I wanted understated, but still Thanksgiving-y.
Like many crafts, my DIY garland started with Mod Podge and coffee filters!
I used about 30 coffee filters. I ripped some in half and some in thirds and then crumbled ’em up to give them some texture. After smoothing the filters out, I started applying the mod podge with a chip brush. True story, I actually decided it was much faster and easier to pour the mod podge onto the styrofoam ball, spread it around with my hands and apply the coffee filters. Sticky hands aren’t great for picture taking, so you got the pretty, paint brush version! Feel free to get messy! Once my filters were completely smoothed out and since my hands were already mod podgey, I added a bit more to even out the outside. I set them aside on wax paper to dry over night.
Take a skewer and stick it through the center of the styrofoam ball. DON’T POKE YOURSELF! You’ll want to make sure the skewer comes through the other side. When it does, you’ll likely end up with coffee filter fibers sticking up. No worries! Smush ’em back down with the skewer and it’s all gravy!
Next, it’s time to paint! I chose a really pretty jewel toned gold and red (not pictured) for my word separator. To make my life easy, I popped each styrofoam ball on a skewer to paint. Made it loads easier to handle and may hands didn’t get too messy. To remove the styrofoam balls, I parted the bristles of my chip brush, pressed down and pulled the skewer right out. If there’s any extra paint, just give it a swipe with the brush to remove. You can let these dry for a few hours or if your impatient like me, you can take a hair dryer and expedite the process. Patience is not a virtue when crafting! As a side note, you could use brown coffee filters instead of painting. I really wanted gold, so it made no difference for me.
At this point I went ahead and started to glaze. I pulled out my handy skewer, put the styrofoam ball on it and glazed with Van Dyke Brown. Make sure you really work the glaze into all the nooks and crannies. This is what will really highlight the details. I removed the excess and softened the glaze with a paper towel. Set them aside on wax paper to dry.
Alrighty y’all, let’s make this garland! The length will vary depending upon the size of your mantel. I left about a foot extra on either size when measuring. When determine the length of the garland, you’ll want to take into account that the length of each ball is 3 inches. I wanted my garland to be about 65 inches long. I used 11 styrofoam balls at 3 inches each. The balls took up 33 inches of twine. I had 12 sections of beads that measured 2.5 inches for a total of 30 inches. At either end, I had a 1 inch loop for hanging. Voila! 65 inches!
To make threading the beads and styrofoam easier, I secured some tape around the twine slightly longer than the length of the ball. So I didn’t have to keep measuring, I also marked my tape at the 2.5 inch mark so I’d know when I had enough beads threaded to give me 2.5 inches.
Once I started threading the beads, I simply added until I hit my mark, pushed them over and then added a ball. The rest is rinse and repeat until you’re all done.
Once you’ve finished, hang one side, make sure it’s about the length you want, tie off your other end and hang. I used small picture hangers, but you can also use cup hooks or Command Strips or Hooks. They work really well!
Now, and this is important, if you plan to thread your twine through the center of each ball, you DO NOT want to add your letters until the garland is hung. As centered as you think the holes are, I promise you some of them will be slightly off. Give each ball a little spin and let it stop on it’s own so it hangs naturally then go ahead and add your letters. I spray painted wooden letters and hot glued them, but it would look super stenciled too!
The silver lettering was just a bit too blingy… Wait, what!? Pigs must be flying. Did I really just say too much bling?? Yup, I did. They totally needed to be toned down some. I used Fusion’s metallic tint in bronze and took down the shine a bit by dry brushing the letters. PS, the tinting kit colors are freakin’ awesome! There are a few colors in the tinting kit collection that just accent furniture and craft projects perfectly. Much better now right?
I also used Fusion’s all natural Gilding Paste in gold. Ok, I’ve never been a fan of gilding paste, primarily because of the toxicity factor. I prefer to apply gilding pastes with my fingers
because I’m a control freak not with a brush. I totally rubbed this onto the back on my hand and then skimmed my fingers over the surface making sure to hit all the peaks. The texture is honestly like that of melting butter. It’s super smooth, has a very earthy fragrance and applies like a dream!
You can see the shimmer a bit better here.
And there ya have it! A super easy, totally customized, DIY Give Thanks Garland! Lord knows I have so much to be thankful for too!! Hope you all find some time to make one for yourselves and please, share the pics with me. I’d love to see the different variations you guys come up with. Wishing you all a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! As usual, please feel free to PIN and share and of course ask away if you have any questions.