There's no better way to create an instant festive welcome at home by draping a beautifully decorated Christmas garland over the bannisters in your entrance hall. But don't be limited by that - put one over the fireplace, a doorway or even the Christmas dinner table, too.
For a fake garland: a length of fake garland from department stores (about 1.5m will be long enough, but feel free to join more than one together to create a much longer one).
For a real garland: a length of rope (again, choose your length), and enough off-cuts of pine, ivy, holly or any evergreen finds from the garden to disguise it.
Both garland types will need:
For a bannister garland: buy or fashion a bow to finish it.
Anybody could have a go at making this really easy approach to a Christmas garland. I defy you to get it wrong!
I've included lots of fake pieces that you can buy for around £15 from a department store. The good news is that you can reuse them year after year. However, if you've got lots of greenery in the garden, why not raid it and create a garland for free?
From beginning to end, it will take you about an hour to create this garland. However, if you want to make a much bigger one or include lots of garden finds, it will take you a little longer. Be prepared to set aside some time at the end to fiddle with it until you're absolutely happy it looks perfect.
Step One: Prepare the String
The quickest and easiest way to make a Christmas garland is to use a length of fake pine, which you can buy at department and DIY stores during the run up to Christmas. Use this as a starting point to attach more decorations to. If you are attaching your garland to a bannister: before you begin decorating, tie three lengths of string or garden wire (or more if your garland is very long) at either end and in the middle of the garland, ensuring they are hidden amongst the foliage and that they are long enough to wrap around the bannister. These will be used later to fix the garland to the bannister.
Step Two: Attach the Evergreen Sprigs
If you're using real evergreens, cut some rope just short of the length you want the finished garland to be, then using garden twine or wire, attach the evergreen sprigs along its whole length until the rope is hidden.
You can also use real evergreen sprigs to make a fake garland fuller and more real-looking.
Step Three: Attach Decorations
Using gardening wire, attach the largest of your decorations first, spacing them evenly along the length of your garland. You can buy realistic fake blooms, like this red poinsettia flower (£1.98, B&Q) from craft, DIY and department stores. Or, use real flowers, but bear in mind they will start to droop very quickly.
Step Four: Use an Odd Number of Decorations
If you're going to use collections of flowers, buds or decorations like this one (£1.98, B&Q), keep them to a minimum and, ideally, use an odd number, which will look better than an even number.
Step Five: Attach Pine Cones
Using garden wire, attach real (or fake) pine cones, dotting them about in the gaps to give the garland an evenly decorated finish.
Step Six: Put It Up
Putting a garland on a bannister is a two person job - one of you needs to hold it, while the other secures it, using the string or wire you attached in step one. Finish the end of the garland with a bow at the lower end of the bannister.
If your garland is to go over a fireplace, lay it carefully, ensuring it is placed centrally, and allowing the ends to hang down either side of the mantelpiece. Add extra colour by carefully placing baubles to match your tree within the garland. You could also put candles in hurricane lamps at the garland's central point, but never, ever leave the candles unattended.
Be inspired to create your perfect home...