Beefing up those Plain Garlands


Most of us have bought that plain, prelit garland that all the craft stores carry.  The problem is, it is very skimpy and not all that pretty.  But, there’s an easy way to beef it up and make it look so much more expensive, just by adding a few greenery picks to it.  Then, when you add in ribbon and some extras like hanging ornaments, it really makes a statement.

This is the plain prelit garland I bought last year from Target after Christmas and this is doubled.  You can imagine how slim just one length of it is…definitely needs some help.IMG_7547

So,  to the rescue, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought about 6 of these greenery picks that were on sale already for 1/2 price.  Spent about $13 for all of these.  Notice they already have pinecones and different greenery textures.  I love all that texture added in. IMG_7546

See, like this!  Check out the lacy greens and the wispy pine pieces in here, as well as the different shades of green. This makes it look much more realistic and they sure have improved on these things over the last few years.IMG_7723

Here’s my garland with some of the picks woven in.  You don’t even have to put them all close together, just space them apart and start fluffing to get some additional bulk on the garland.   A good way to attach these is with zip ties.  Get yourself a bag of them and they are great for Christmas decorating. IMG_7724

Then, I added some pretty beads, ribbon and a few hanging ornaments and that’s all that is needed to make it all pretty-like. IMG_7721

You can see all the different greenery textures and how they stand out from the plain ole’ garland that I started with.  That’s all you have to do to make your garland something special.  Just add a few of those greens and you’ll have a beautiful garland for your mantel.


Trying out some different camera settings, it’s hard getting good pics of this mantel, with all the natural light flooding in. I’ll also be adding some fresh magnolia branches soon too.  Those are a great texture to add to the mantel with the browns and greens. IMG_7774

But these give you a good idea of how it looks with all the additions of greenery and sparkle.  I incorporated those big honkin’ yardsale sconces with the garland this year and used them for draping.


I’m adding in a few more pics since it’s cloudy today  and these actually look better than a sunny day.


I’ll be hiding the light cord with some fresh magnolia branches soon.





That’s my $5 stocking from Ballards Outlet that I found about 5 years ago.  They had some that were rejects from the monograms and I found one with not much thread on it and had it monogrammed for me.  And I lucked out and found one with Peter’s name already on it!


I’ll show you the rest of mine soon!  What do you do on your mantel?  Do you like a beefy garland or do you go for plain and simple?

I like a little bling myself!

My friend, Sandy, at Reluctant Entertainer, is having an apron giveaway today, so go on over and check it out!

- Rhoda


  1. Hi, Rhoda… I always enjoy seeing what you do.

    I use garland with red berries and glittery gold stars on my mantle, and I like to double my garland, too. I think it looks better that way.


    Sheila 🙂

  2. Rhoda, Love the garland, the mantle & the stockings! Can’t wait to see the rest of your house!

  3. Your garland looks great as well as your fireplace. I used the same type of garland around my doors and since it was outside I was able to use real greenery and orniments. I love a full garland and mantel, as everyone will see when I post the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Looks wonderful, Rhoda! I wish Hobby Lobby was just a tad bit closer!

    I was at Lowe’s Monday and picked up some “scraps”. The girl working the garden area had no idea why I was asking about them. She called up front to see if I could take them. Brought a big box home. They are still soaking in Molly’s kiddie pool. I’m going to use them outdoors.

  5. Looks great! I am so NOT crafty, but maybe even I could do something like that. 🙂

  6. Your garland looks great! The texture and color are just wonderful. I haven’t ever bought the prelit garlands (I usually just add my own lights), but we poof ours up as well. Last year besides adding ornaments and ribbons, I added fresh magnolia and pine sprigs from our yard as an experiment. It turned our well, so we are incorporating the theme throughout the house this year.

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of your Christmas decorations!


  7. Hi Rhoda,
    Those are good looking picks, they definately make the garland richer and fuller. The fireplace turned out wonderful!

  8. I like a nice full garland, too. I also have a mantle in a room that gets flooded with light, so I’m hoping my pictures come out good for the linky parties. I tried something a little different this year that I love in-person and I hope it comes across well in my pics.

    BTW, love your stocking, Rhoda!

  9. “big honkin sconce”…lolol sometimes your words make me smile. There is nothing like a big “honkin”sconce is there?
    great tutorial on how to beef up your garland.
    we dont have a mantle so i treat the console under the TV as such & yes i use garland..bu thanks to you i think it will look a bit better this year.
    Thanks Rhoda =always a treat.

  10. Hi Rhoda,
    I love how pretty your mantel looks! I agree about “beefing up” the garland! I have tried something new this year with my mantel. You can check it out on my blog!

  11. Rhoda, I love how your garland turned out. I bought one of the skimpy ones last year, and meant to do something with it, but just wasn’t sure what. Now I’ve got some great ideas, thanks to you!

  12. LOVE this. I always use faux garland to do my decorating and just pump it up with cuttings from the yard and sparkly picks I bought on sale last year! I love the way you swagged the garland over your mantle through the sconces. Such a great idea. Love the blog! Happy Holidays.

  13. I like a beefy garland! A few years back, there was a local gal who opened up a decorating shop and she did gorgeous garlands, decorated trees, all sorts of Christmas arrangements. I splurged and had her do me a garland for our mantle. She was able to order these lush, FAT, thick prelit garlands. That baby is actually a little heavy! She used pieces of silk ivy and another type of greenery here and there in the garland. Then two types of beautiful, wired ribbon, along with several pieces of sugared fruit looking ornaments. It’s done in a crimson red and gold. If I ever get tired of that garland, I am taking that thing apart and using her original FAT garland. LOL Sadly, her little business went out just this past year.


  14. Oh what a beautiful garland. I love it. You did a wonderful job. Hugs, Marty

  15. Elizabeth H says:

    I am with you, beef it up a bit. I even did this to my son”s pitiful little Christmas tree last year. He has a new one this year thank goodness.

  16. Rhoda it is simply stunning! Love the pretty hanging drape of the strands of beads. 🙂

  17. wow – your mantle looks gorgeous!!

  18. LOVE LOVE your fireplace girl!! I too am a believer in fancy-ing up your garland. I just posted about mine and added a link to yours.

  19. Very pretty!

  20. Sadly, we do not have a mantel. We left it at our old house LOL. Actually the closest I have is the top of a piano. We have so many windows in this house. I was just thinking I wished I had a mantel.

    Thanks for the linky-love, Rhoda! Have a great day!

  21. Rhoda, this is a great post with lots of information and ideas. I haven’t done my mantel as yet, or any other Christmas decorating for that matter. I realize I need to get busy!
    I attended a recent talk by a local designer, and she suggested adding filler to the trees as well. She had used a garland and worked it in one to fill it out. Another she used picks and also live greenery from your yard. It was amazing how full those trees became after just adding in a few things.

    • That’s a great idea about adding to the tree too! I’ll remember that since I just about got my tree done. May have to add some anyway! Thanks for the idea!

  22. Thanks for the tips, Rhoda. I never thought to double it. and yours looks so pretty with all the pretty, glittery picks and ornaments. Beautiful!!


  23. You make it look so easy, and with the detailed instructions maybe a swag challeneged crafter like myself can make one look good:)

  24. So pretty!! Love it!!

    Lou Cinda 🙂

  25. Lovely pictures! Everything is just beautiful!

  26. def a lot of beef. great job rhoda!

  27. I love your mantel, Rhoda. I like the beefed up garland too. I added picks from Hobby Lobby to mine and also some real white pine greenery. I can replace that if it dries out, although I used an anti-dessicant on it. I like the smell it adds to the room. Can’t wait to see more of your house – love your decorating. 🙂

  28. Just beautiful, my friend! Love those darlin’ polka dotted stockings!! How fun!


  29. It looks wonderful, Rhoda. I definitely spruce up my garlands, too.

  30. Eye candy all around! It looks gorgeous Rhoda. And what a lucky girl you are in finding those adorable Ballards stockings!

  31. That looks stunning!

  32. Just beautiful!!!! Cant wait to see more…..~

  33. Wow. Just wow. That mantle is *amazing*!

  34. Hi Rhoda, your mantel looks great! Lucky you on those Ballard stockings! This is the first year I’ve decorated our mantel for Christmas and coincidentally, I’m using those stockings and the Ballard’s catalog as my source of inspiration. ~Lisa

  35. Rhoda, if I didn’t know better, I would think you were a floral designer! Since I AM, I know these tricks and have to tell you, your mantle turned out gorgeous! I LOVE the colors, and of course, all the textures! To me, adding texture is THE secret to making things look “professional”. Can’t wait to see all your decorations! I just ADORE decorating for Christmas. Mine is all done and today I did a clients house. XO, PInky

  36. Hi Rhoda, I love your mantle it is soooooo pretty and lush. I am a firm believer in over the top or minimal,no in between for me and I can see you are an over the top believer also. If I get a chance I will send you some picts of my mantle from last year, I am trying to come up with something a little different this year. Thank you for the inspiration I need to get my fa-la-la in gear. fondly Kathysue

  37. Wow! Quite a transformation – it looks beautiful.

    My fire place doesn’t have a mantel (maybe some day), but I have this little antique mantel (probably from a little coal fireplace) that my husband bought for me several years ago. It’s in our “living room.” I put my 4 Santas that my mother-in-law gave me before she passed away, and I have a garland with lots of white in it, w/red berries. I put a big bow at either end, and some sparkly white sheer fabric under the Santas. It’s a little different every year.

    But PLEASE help me! My den/kitchen (open to one another) have a creamy color on the trim. The ceiling is a bit deeper creamy/gold, but still light. I plan on extending that color onto the ceiling and walls in the hall. My problem is that we’re re-doing the bathroom right off that hall, and I’m painting it Behr’s Frozen Pond blue, which is a departure for me. (I like golds and reds and oranges and greens.) I’d wanted to paint the trim and tall linen cabinet in bright white, but what color do I paint the door on the hall side? White? Will that look funny with the cream color? If I paint it the creamy/gold color, it will look funny in the bathroom when the door is open. Help!

  38. Hi Rhoda

    I do my garland exactly the same way you do. And each year, I buy more of the picks at after Christmas sales. Seems I can use them in so many ways. This year I even used some to add different texture and color to my pre lit silk tree in the den.


  39. WOW RHODA! You outdid yourself on that mantle! Makes mine look pathetic! How is yours anchored? Mine just las across the top of my mantle, but I would love to be able to swag it like yours. Can you come help me with my mantle…pretty please!! LOL

    I hope you participate friday in my 2nd annual christmas cookie recipe party!!

  40. Love the mantel, Rhoda! I especially love those candles sconces. They made my heart all fluttery! Mine is fairly beefy, but not nearly as beefed up as it will be next year when I have more time and energy. Love what you have done, as always.


  41. Love it I’m going home to use your idea for my garlands tonight. Thanks for the post!

  42. Hi Rhoda! Everything is just gorgeous! I love your mantle! Do you have any tips for hanging garland outside around doors? I have used those command strips, but they never seem to stay up. I have brick…I tried putting some nails in, but couldn’t do that. Just thought if anyone knew a way to do it, you would!

  43. I love the natural feel or your mantle. Your bits of bling and those Ballard stockings add the perfect touch of whimsy!

  44. Just lovely. Can I come to your house for Chrissy Dinner? x


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rhoda, Barbara Graves. Barbara Graves said: RT @Rhoda_SouthernH: Got a plain 'ole Christmas garland that needs some help? Beef it up! / great help & I need help! […]

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