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DIY Christmas Garland

Do you need some ideas for a DIY Christmas garland made with tree branches, ribbons, or twinkle lights? Here is a great, inexpensive, fun craft to make this Christmas season. Make your home extra special for the holidays with this homemade garland!

A finished Christmas garland.

Why I Love DIY Christmas Garlands

This holiday garland is so special. I love it because you can decorate for Christmas just by using greenery from your yard or local forest. You can enjoy the abundance of your own outdoors by creating a living garden that doesn’t make a mess.

By using the floral preservative recipe included in this post, you’ll also avoid the common problems of constantly cleaning up dead pine needles and cracked berries that come with traditional fresh garlands.

And finally, by putting the Christmas garland greenery into a water source, the foliage won’t dry out, and it will last all season long.

You can make any size garland to fit your space, and even the kids can help. Serve hot cocoa or homemade eggnog (or our adult aged eggnog recipe) after collecting your green goodies to warm up and create some Christmas memories.

If you like this tutorial, you’ll also love my DIY Christmas wreath tutorial.

Supplies for a DIY Christmas garland on a table.

Supplies Needed

  • Vessel – This can be a simple rain gutter with two ends on it or even disposable metal cooking trays from the store that are hot-glued together to create the length you want.
  • Chicken Wire – You can get a roll of chicken wire at your local hardware store. Floral foam would work as well, but chicken wire allows the stems to sit into the water easier.
  • Waterproof Floral Tape – Green or clear in color is nice, but electrical tape also works.
  • Foliage – Go outside and collect all greenery or other items to use in your garland. Some ideas include:
    • Pine Cones
    • Holly Berries
    • Cedar or Pine Tree Leaves and Branches
    • Wheat Berries
    • Roadside Dried Stems and Grasses
    • Mosses and Lichens
    • Dried Larkspur
    • Sticks
    • Antlers
  • Lexel Clear Sealant – This is used to make your vessel waterproof.
  • Wire Cutters – These will be used to cut your chicken wire.
  • Plant Cutters – Use these to snip the ends of each stem or branch before putting it in your vessel.
  • Optional Supplies Needed
    • Twinkle Lights – This is a bit more modern but can be very festive.
    • Candles with Candle Holders – Use one or more candles in the vessel or outside next to the garland.
    • Spray Paint – If you’d like your vessel a different color, spray paint is a great option. You can choose any color scheme you want.
A woman creating a Christmas garland.

How Do You Make Fresh Christmas Garland?

Paula, from BeeHaven Flower Farm, showed me this great way to make a fresh holiday garland so it will last all season long. She encourages us to create focal points. Also, make your garland asymmetrical or straight, depending on your preference. And don’t forget to get creative.

Have fun and make it exactly as you want. There is no need to make it perfect or make it the same as floral store arrangements.


  1. Waterproof your vessel – If using a gutter, or something that’s not water-tight, be sure to use some window sealant to waterproof your vessel. This will prevent damage from water seeping through onto the surface your garland is placed on.
  2. Place the vessel on a solid surface – Setting your vessel on a solid surface helps hold it steady as it’s created.
  3. Cut chicken wire to fit into the vessel – Measure the length and width of your vessel and, using your wire cutters, cut the chicken wire to fit. Keep in mind we want a double-layer of chicken wire, so cut it wide enough that you can fold it in on itself.
  4. Curl the chicken wire – We need a double layer of chicken wire so the garland has something to grab onto. To fold the chicken wire, place it in the vessel, then reach down low and pull it up a bit (watch the video for a demonstration on how to do this). Grab and pinch it on the bottom so it can hold the greenery. It works best if it is not lying on the very bottom of the base.
  5. Put the waterproof tape over the vessel – Tape across the top of the vessel to hold the wire in place. Tape three or four spots depending on the size of the vessel. Homesteading Hack: Add the tape and fold the chicken wire before adding water!
  6. Fill the vessel with water – To keep your garland fresh, fill the vessel with water. You can also change the water every so often for added freshness. Simply take it to the sink, tip it on its side, then flush some more water thru it. Then refill it. Make sure to use my floral preservative recipe listed at the bottom of this blog post.
  7. Add candleholders (optional) – If you’re wanting to add any candle holders, doing so before adding the greenery is helpful.
  8. Arrange the greenery – This is where your creativity comes in. Arrange the greenery however you want. Paula suggests starting with a base layer of greenery before adding in more decorative items (even flipping the greenery around if it’s something like cedar, because the underside of the leaves provides a great color contrast). Homesteading Hack: Be sure to snip a tiny bit off the end of each stem of greenery to ensure the plant can take water up.
  9. Place more significant pieces to drape over if you like – Once you have a solid base layer, this is when you’d add in some more substantial pieces to make it stand out. You can use big and small pieces, varying colors and types of plants. Look around your property, you’ll be amazed at all the decorative plants you can find.
  10. Add twinkle lights – If you’re looking for a little bit of “bling,” as Paula calls it, adding in some twinkle lights would be a great option.
  11. Keep building until you’re satisfied – Use different foliage for different textures and layers. The less perfect, the prettier it usually is. Place foliage low and high for more depth. If you don’t like it, just take it out and make it how you like it best.

How Can I Make Cheap Christmas Garland Look Expensive?

More elaborate and extensive garlands will look more expensive. Even smaller garland arrangements will look rich by adding ribbons or felt, twinkle lights, or metallic accents.

And the best part? It looks expensive but it was not at all!

Two women creating a Christmas garland.

DIY Christmas Garland Ideas

You can also consider the added ease of this craft. If you are not moving the garland, you don’t have to wire anything in. You can hot glue items in if you want to, however.

Dry stems look great and will be okay even in the water. They may get a little moldy, but you can always wrap some floral tape around the bottoms before placing them in the water to help with this.

And guess what? You can save your vessel for next year. Or even a different holiday! Make sure to reseal it each year or each time you use it to prevent water from leaking.

So, now you have this beautiful, fragrant, self-watering, season-long fresh garland for decorating on your homestead. Festive. Inexpensive. Fun. Therapeutic.

Floral Preservative Recipe

Here is Paula’s simple recipe to keep your foliage fresh for as long as possible!

  • 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice – You can use fresh or bottled lemon juice.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar – Both fine sugar and raw sugar will work.
  • 1 crushed aspirin or 1 teaspoon bleach – Use whichever you have available.
  • 1 quart warm water – Warm water helps dissolve and mix the ingredients.

Simply mix all the ingredients until dissolved and use as your plants’ water.

A woman holding up a Christmas wreath.

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