Every year I love to make fresh garland and fresh Christmas wreaths for the holiday season. I’ll make garland for my mantels and one to run down the center of my table.
Making fresh garland or even a DIY wreath for that matter is easier than you think. Here I’ll be sharing how to make your own fresh garland for your mantel, holiday centerpieces, or around your doorway.
With a few supplies like fresh greens from your backyard or local farm, floral wire, and floral sheers, you’ll be ready to tackle this simple Christmas DIY.
How long does fresh garland last?
Fresh garland will stay fresh for about 2-3 weeks. There are a few factors that will determine just how long they will last.
I’ve made garland at the beggining of December before and it’s lasted well into the new year.
To make your garland last as long as possible you’ll need to stop your pine needles from drying out too soon and shedding. You can slow the process down by following a few simple care instructions.
How to care for your fresh garland
There are a few things that you can do to make your garland last as long as possible. To start:
- When starting, be sure to cut your branch stems at a 45 degree angle. This will allow your branches to absorb more water once your garland is put together.
- The next step is to soak your garland before hanging it. I don’t mean just the stems either. You’ll need to fully submerge your fresh garland for up to 24 hours in fresh water. This will allow your glared to absorb as much water as possible.
- Once hung, spritz your garland with water everyday, periodically taking it down and soaking it again for 24 hours.
- Try keeping your garland away from heat sources. Think of heat vents in your home or even sunbeams near a window. Heat will cause your garland to dry out faster, making the water evaporate from your garland faster. It’s best to hang your garland in an area with a good airflow if possible.
- Mist with anti-desiccant sprays as soon as you hang you garland and again in two weeks. This will help fight the natural process of the branch turning brown and drying out by locking in the moisture.
Is real garland expensive?
Fresh garland from the store will vary on price. Lowes is selling a 20 ft of fresh cedar garland for $16. Thats a pretty great deal. Or, it can cost you just a few bucks if you make your own.
That agin will depend on where you can get your greenery. I live in the woods and can get my greens for free. If you don’t have access to free greens, you can head to a Christmas tree farm and see if they’re selling bundles of stems for a few bucks.
What is fresh garland made of?
Fresh garland is made from Pine, cedar, holly, and fir branches. There’s the douglas fir, noble fir, and the blue spruce too.
My favorite to use is white pine branches. The longer stems have a bit more life in them before they dry out and start shedding.
Plus, the smell incredible. If you love the smell of pine at Christmas time, but have an artificial Christmas tree, making fresh garland is a great way to bring in the fresh scent.
Can you put lights on fresh garland?
Yes, you can! Adding lights to your fresh garland is a great way to add holiday decoration to your home.
Just remember to use LED lights rather than Incandescent. LED lights heat up at much lower temp than Incandescent lights, so it will slow down the shedding process due to not drying out as quickly from water loss.
How long does fresh garland last outdoors?
Fresh garland can make the perfect addition to your outdoor decorations. But with the temperature fluctuating so much, you might be wondering how long they can last.
Fresh garland hung outside will last up to eight weeks! But of Course that will depend on where you hang your your garland.
You want to avoid hanging your garland in direct sunlight. Sunlight will dry out the stems making your fresh garland die faster. If you have a covered front porch then your garland has a better chance of lasting longer.
Which greenery is best for for fresh garland?
There are so many different types of greenery, it can be tough to pick one for your garland. The best greenery for Christmas garland in my opinion is white pine.
The needles are long which means they can hold in more water. The longer the needles can retain water the longer the fresh garland will last.
Shorter needles shed much faster. I made fresh garland out of hemlock branches one time and I was cleaning up needles everyday. It was a mess!
How to Make fresh garland?
Making garland or even fresh wreaths for that matter is pretty straightforward.
You have to start with gathering your fresh Christmas greenery. Once you’ve collected your fresh greenery, you’ll need to grab your other supplies.
Gather your Supplies
- A pair of floral shears
- Floral wire
- A piece of twine the length of your desired garland
- Greenery (garden centers are a great resource if your having trouble finding branches)
I live In the woods so I just have to walk out my front door and cut some branches down for greenery.
If you don’t have evergreen trees accessible to you, I find as an alternative, the best places to grab those fresh stems are at your local Christmas tree farm or stand or even at Home Depot and Lowes.
Cut your stems to desired length
Once you’ve gathered you supplies and branches, the first thing to do is to cut each of your stems to about the same length.
Be sure not to cut off too much of the stem. When attaching your stems to your twine you’ll need at least an inch or two to be able to attach them securely.
I also find that having several inches of stem adds to the bulk of the base of the garland, making it sturdier.
Choose a length for your garland and cut your twine to that length
I like to decide where I want to hang my garland before choosing how many feet of garland I need to make.
It’s best to give yourself a few extra inches of twine on either side of your garland to be able to hang it easier.
Lay down your twine gather bundles of your greenery
After laying out your twine, start by gathering your greenery in a bundle. Next, lay your greenery on top of your twine (at the very start) and then wrap your wire around the stems of the greenery and the twine.
Wrap the floral wire around the stems and the twine
To keep building your garland, you’ll want to continue to layer your small bundles over the twine and use the floral wire to secure together.
It’s best to keep layering your greenery on top of each bundles to make your garland more full.
Do not cut your wire in between wrappings!!! It’s super important to keep the wire attached. Just keep pulling the wire down a little at a time while you’re wrapping.
This will ensure that your garland will become one unit and will be super sturdy.
Finish your garland
When you’re ready to finish your garland and cut your wire, layer your last piece of greenery in the opposite direction.
This will make your garland more finished. Otherwise, it’ll end with an abrupt stop, exposing the wire.
How to hang fresh garland?
There are different ways to hang your fresh garland. The best way really depends on where you want to hang it.
If you are securing it around a doorway, then I suggest the best way to hag your garland is to use ta small hammer, picture frame nails and fishing line.
If you’re attaching it to your mantel you can use adhesive hooks. For even more support, try using small pieces of fishing line or twine to loop around the garland and secure wound the hook.
Of course you can also use tiny picture frame nails only for mantel too. It just really depends on if you don’t mind making tiny holes or not.
Adorn your garland
You can also adorn your garland with Christmas lights or ornaments. I love to add other natural materials like english holly, dried orange slices, or even ponderosa pine cones.
I’ve even layered faux or fresh eucalyptus garland to make my pine garland look more full. But of course there is something so beautiful about real garland just as it is too.
Adding holiday greenery to your home during the Christmas season is a great way to add some beautifully scented decor to your home.
Christmas decorations don’t have to be complicated or expensive. You could make a beautiful bouquet by adding some fresh evergreen boughs to a vase or making fresh garland or wreaths can add the perfect holiday touch to the inside or outside of your home.
And the best part… the scent is truly incredible. If you love that signature “Holiday pine” scent that is so popular this time of year, adding fresh greenery to your home is a must.
High quality artificial Christmas trees are great, but you just don’t get that coveted scent with them. Making fresh garland is a great alternative to having real Christmas trees in your home. You really only need a few supplies and an open afternoon where you’re ready to craft.
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Want to read more about Decorating your home on a budget? Check out my post below!