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Dressing Up the Mantel

Lana Hawk

First of all, sorry about the bad pun in the title. It just had to happen. I have watched CNN Student News with Carl Azuz one too many times. The puns just flow out of me sometimes. Anyways…

I love fireplaces, not just for their functional value, but also for their ascetic value. We live in an apartment at the moment and that fireplace provides a great focal point in an otherwise bland (actually beige) room. With that as a clear focus of the room, I try and utilize it as much as possible. The mantle is perfect to display some of my favorite old books, a wedding photo, and a lovely clock (shoutout to our woodworking daddio). Aside from those things, an easy way to draw attention and add interest is dressing up the mantle with fun garland. I have experimented with a number of different varieties, but here are a few of my favorites with a few tips to create your own.

Scrap Fabric Garland

For this one, I grabbed seven different types of fabric scraps from my huge collection of fabric. I ripped and cut the fabric into strips about five inches long. I then knotted the fabric on to the twine with some space between. I used about seven of each kind of fabric. For a couple of the thinner fabrics, I double knotted them to add a bit of oomph to the middle. It’s a great spring garland and it is currently brightening up our living room!

 Pennant Banner

I have done a few variations of this one, including a smaller one for Greta’s bachelorette weekend. For this, I drew out a template for the fabric on paper leaving extra room at the top to fold over and sew (or glue). I then took each one and folded the top over allowing plenty of room for twine to feed through. Then it was time for the lettering. For this one, I went for it freehand. The other pennant banner was more of a traditional triangle pennant and I painted using lettering stencils.

Map Garland

I love maps. I think I’ve mentioned it before. This garland was a great way to use an old atlas and it was incredibly easy. For this one, I used my circle punch from Michaels and punched a number of circles out of the atlas pages. I then simply started my sewing machine, gave the ends a bit of room/length, and then started sewing the circles together. This would be easy to do with any printed paper or paper product. A friend of mine made a one-of-a-kind mobile for a nursery using the same technique.

Draped White Garland

This one was a great addition to our mantle for both Christmas and Easter. For this one, I again used five different white scrap fabrics including fabric from flowers I made for Greta’s wedding and fabric from my mom’s wedding dress. I made these strips quite a bit longer, about six to seven inches long. I tied the fabric to twine (I do love twine) tying only the top inch or so of the fabric letting the rest hang down. This fabric garland is more tightly packed than the other to add layers of texture with all the different types of fabrics. Ideally I will eventually make the section of fabric a bit larger, but for now, it works quite nicely. Now the question is, how do you dress up your mantel?