All through December, (and for a lot of November this year, it seemed) Instagram is awash with extravagant mantle arrangements and I'm totally here for it! The bigger the better IMO, in fact, if your mantle isn't creaking under the sheer weight of the botanical beauties adorning it then was it even worth bothering?!
If you're a regular round here, then you'll know I'm always looking for ways of achieving big results without breaking the bank, and this year's simple festive mantle arrangement was a prime opportunity to save a few pennies with a bit of festive foraging. I have a whole page dedicated to DIY Christmas decorations on a budget so do check it out if you like handmade decorations, festive Christmas tablescapes and foraged Christmas tree inspiration.
Here's how I created the festive foraged garland...
Plan your foraged fireplace garland design
Before you start, it pays to have an idea in your mind of the desired shape and size for your foraged fireplace garland that you can sketch out on paper to use as a guide for your festive foliage arranging. Having a plan helps you calculate how much foliage you'll need in the next step, and also allows you to check that it's work in proportion to the size of the room and mantlepiece. You want to create a cool focal point for the room so the more planning the better.
Forage some foliage for your festive fireplace garland
I had plenty of festive foliage to choose from in our garden, because, after a year of neglect, it resembled a wild, overgrown forest. (Don't judge my lack of garden maintenance - I spent all the lockdowns knee-deep in IKEA hacks and panting tester pot wall murals!) I'm not brave enough to share the garden horror pics, but below are some pics of the foraged foliage. It pays to know your poisonous festive foliage before you start chopping, especially if you have pets or children in your home.
If you don't have a garden or any forage-able festive foliage then check with friends or family or head off to your local woodlands, checking first that foraging is permitted and being mindful of the rules of foraging.
Place the largest branches first
I'd sketched out a really simple design that I hoped would create a big impact in the living room without being too fussy or overfaffed (that's a word right?!). I started by taking the largest branches and positioning one on each side of the fireplace mantle and securing them in place with a couple of wall cable holders, (pics below). Once your largest branches are in place you have the base of your foraged festive garland ready to build on.
I tied the bottoms of the first branches together in the middle of the mantle and then started layering up more branches on either side. Rather than bore you with lots of progress pics, here's a quick vid from my Pinterest.
To secure some of the latter branches, I tacked a nail into each side of the chimney breast and tied the branches to it with clear polyamide thread. Once all the branches were in place I popped a couple of stems of faux red berries in the centre (from Homesense a few years ago) and then hung a red kid's stocking under the mantle. I had intended to make a large red velvet bow and the stocking was only meant to be a sort of placeholder for that, but in the end, I liked the family Christmas vibe of the stocking and it stayed.
I styled the final shot with a cosy large knit blanket in a rustic basket I bought in the Range.
Here's the final look... super simple and lots of fun to do.
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