Saturday, December 14, 2013

How to Make Pine Garland (for the Craft-Challenged Girls)

How to make your own pine garland. For the craft-challenged girls. 
I have been envious for a very long time of those people in our neighborhood (there are more than a few) who have luscious, absolutely gorgeous displays of natural garland ringing their doors this time of year. I'm pretty sure the majority of these people pay other people to decorate their houses, and I just can't bring myself to do it. It costs too much damn money. A garland of the sort I would really like to have is at least $100, even more with all the bells and whistles. So today, when I saw wheelbarrows full of cast-off pine parts at the Christmas Tree stand (which Sophie likes to call Bruce's Spruces a la Fancy Nancy's Splendiforous Christmas), I asked the guy wrapping our tree if I could have some of them. He said to take them all. Which was music to my ears. But then I had to figure out what to do with them. Enter YouTube (here and here).

First of all, I would recommend that you NOT do this on your kitchen floor like I did. You will have pine needles EVERYWHERE. Even down your underwear. Seriously. Here's what you do need:

  • Heavy scissors or landscaping sheers. 
  • One long cheapo pine garland (I bought mine at Dollar General. This works better than the rope other people suggest, because it blends in. It also works better than trying to attach the pine boughs to themselves. This is not a good idea. The strand ends up all wonky and changes direction like a cabby trying to navigate Pittsburgh's South Side. In short, you don't get the best results. Trust me). 
  • Green floral wire (I purchased 30 pre-cut wires at Jo-Ann Fabrics for $1.99). 
  • One 30-foot x 21-inch roll of polymesh ribbon (this stuff is usually $14.99 a roll, but I got mine today at 70% off, again at Jo-Ann Fabrics, so it was around $4). 
  • Two strands of 100-count mini-white lights. 
  • Three or more green chenille pipe cleaners. 
Here's the rundown. Start with the length of fake garland you need (if I'm being completely honest, I eye-balled it. But you could measure. That would probably be the better idea;)). Then, selecting lengths of pine that match up out of your cast-off pile (snipping larger branches into smaller pieces when necessary), bind the real pine to the fake garland by wrapping the floral wire around the end of the branches that would have been closest to the tree. 

Baby girl needs her toenails cut. Yikes. This, however, is what I have to deal with when doing any project. 
As you wrap the real pine onto the fake garland, leave the edges of the branches loose to fill the garland out. You want your garland to look fuller than the false garland you can buy at the store (this is the whole point of making real garland). 

After working your way down the whole length of the fake garland you measured, make three bows out of the polymesh ribbon. I cut four-foot sections of the ribbon (you could do larger; I would avoid smaller, because it just won't be big enough), and then tied them in bows, fluffing them out and snipping the tails of the bow in half so they would curl more.  The polymesh ribbon is amazing, because it is wide, and fluffy, and ... well, all-around exactly what you imagine when you think of a fancy entryway display. 

Then, fold your garland in half and attach one polymesh bow to the middle of the garland, using a chenille pipe-cleaner. Wrap the pipe-cleaner all the way around the garland, tie, and then make a loop in the back that you can use to hang the garland. After finding your center, measure off each side of the edge of your doorway and attach another bow to each end, making the same loop for hanging (as you can tell, I eye-balled it, and had to improvise). Then, wrap the white lights around your garland. 

I hung my garland on nails that can remain year-round on the doorframe. Next year, I think I will go bigger and better. But this isn't bad for my first try. Good luck! A/J

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