As a child, December always began with a trip into the attic to retrieve our huge boxes of Christmas decorations. There were strands of twinkling lights rolled up into a ball, boxes of handmade tree ornaments, bubble wrapped baubles for the mantelpiece and bags full of tinsel and synthetic pine garlands to wrap around the bannister and turn our home into Santa’s grotto. Everything made the house red and gold and twinkly, and with the first fire of the season roaring away, it was truly a winter wonderland.
I would love to transform our little home into a festive delight, but with storage space on a rather limited scale, my Christmas decorations fit into a single shoebox, and include one single strand of fairy lights, a couple of precious baubles and some Norwegian paper hearts.
Last year we had the luxury of a potted Christmas tree that came to the great height of 11 inches and there’s talk of our Christmas tree this year being no more than a couple of silvered twigs in a vase (though this sounds rather on the Charlie Brown side of things!) And so to combat the storage issue, this year our decoration inspiration has come from Winter Living and will be more about the general atmosphere we create with candles and warm throws than great garlands of pine and tinsel.
I am, however, embracing paper garlands and Christmas bunting this year – partly because garlands are easy to store in an envelope and thus save on precious storage space, but also because they’re incredibly easy to make. All you need is a bit of creative inspiration, some paper (plain card or elaborate origami paper – the choice is yours), hobby glue and rather jolly glitter, if sparkle is what you’re after this season.
For this simple MERRY XMAS garland, I’ve printed my lettering on a thin card. The lettering will give me a definitive stencil, so I won’t be encouraged to get too font-happy with an over zealous sketch. Here I’ve used the faithful Arial Bold font for simplicity and uniformity. You could also decide to use colourful or patterned paper instead.
Cut out the lettering with scissors or an exacto blade.
I’m choosing to colour each of my letters with some rather festive glitter. These gorgeous little vials of glitter are a very affordable £2 from Tiger. Using hobby glue, slather on a nice layer and dust each individual letter with contrasting glitter colours for a fun and festive look.
I contemplated on the best way to string these little letters once the glitter and glue was dry. Hand sewing them together seemed like a messy and tedious exercise, and so I bit the bullet and stuck them through my sewing machine, leaving the same amount of thread lead in between each letter. The method worked wonders and has made for a very secure letter garland that can be strung over a mantle piece, looped through a few branches on the tree or tied to a vintage ladder for some added festive cheer.
Don’t feel you’re limited to using this method only for Christmas garlands. Try sewing together glittery letters for a New Years 2016 banner or use a larger variety of glitter colours for a Happy Birthday garland. The possibilities are endless and results won’t take up much of that precious storage space once the Christmas trees come down in the New Year!