KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS A pre-lit pine garland, some unbreakable ornaments, and a little wire are about all you really need to create a fabulous Christmas decoration.
You can welcome holiday guests this season with a beautifully-decorated garland gracing the entrance to your home.
This project offers maximum impact for minimum cash.
Similar garlands can easily run well over $130 from high end specialty stores, while this one cost less than $25 (including the bows).
To make this you will need a nine-foot long, pre-lit, artificial pine garland; about a dozen three-inch unbreakable Christmas balls in two colors, but with mixed finishes (such as shiny and matte); eight to 12 two-inch Christmas balls, that coordinate with the three-inch balls; and green craft wire.
If you plan to hang your garland over your front door, you may want to include two coordinating bows, as we did with this garland. If you decide to wrap your garland around a column on your porch, then eliminate the bows.
For this garland, we chose a combination of green and gold ornaments, and green ribbon with a gold pattern woven throughout. Other attractive combinations include red and silver; red and gold; blue and silver; burgundy and gold; and of course the old standby, red and green.
If possible, find an area where you can lay the garland out, such as a dining room table, a kitchen counter, or even the floor. "Flatten" the back side of the garland by pulling the branches forward, so that it will lie flat against the door frame or column.
Looking at the photo, place the ornaments in clusters along the length of the garland, in a pattern that is pleasing to you.
Next, if you are going to hang your garland over the door and will be adding bows to the top corners, determine exactly where those corners will be. Measure the outside of your door frame, making sure you have enough clearance for the door to open and close. Measure your garland and find the center. Split the measurement of the width of the door, and measure that distance from the center of the garland.
For example, if the outside frame of your door measures 44 inches, measure and mark 22 inches on each side of the center of your garland. This is where you will place your bows.
Once you are satisfied with the placement, cut wire into four- or five-inch pieces and loop through the top of the ornament, then attach the ornament to a branch on the garland, twisting until it is firmly secured to the branch. Continue adding the ornaments and bows until they are all attached.
Give the garland a good shake to make sure everything is well-secured.
The good thing about using unbreakable ornaments which these days look just as good as glass ornaments is that if they do fall off, they won't shatter. They will also hold up to strong wind, rain and the inevitable snow.
If you wish, you could also follow these directions to create a beautiful garland for your fireplace mantel.
Choose colors to coordinate with your decor. While using unbreakable ornaments is still a good idea, you could use glass ones, but may wish to remove them before storing the garland after the holidays.
You can also further embellish your indoor garland with gilded pinecones or artificial or dried fruits and vegetables, to proclaim the season's bounty.