I feel like I say this every year, but this year it’s especially true: I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! We’re just about a month out from the big day, so it’s officially time to get festive up in here. While I was doing some early holiday perusing in the past couple of weeks, I kept coming across beautifully wrought garlands from some of my favorite home decor retailers. And while these styles were beautiful, why buy something when you can make it — right?
I wanted something delicate and beautiful, something that I could use year-round if I wanted to, and I definitely wanted something that twinkled. With these criteria in mind, I armed myself with a roll of 36-gauge aluminum and a pair of scissors and got to work fiddling around until I had something I was proud of. The result of that hands-on brainstorm was this wonderfully delicate falling-leaf garland, strung from fairy lights and gently antiqued for a chic, expensive-looking finish.
This is one of those DIY projects that is incredibly satisfying because it only takes about 30 minutes of active work, but it really packs a decorative punch. It’s also totally customizable, which is always a win in my book. We hope you love this garland DIY as much as we do!
How To: Metal Leaf Garland DIY
- aluminum sheet
- Sharpie marker
- fairy lights
- metal punch
- debossing tools
Start by unrolling the aluminum. For this garland DIY, you’ll need a rectangle about two feet wide, but you can use more or less depending on the size you want your finished product to be. Once you’ve cut the square of metal, use your hands to carefully smooth it out along the table. Be sure not to run your fingers along the edge of the metal — talk about the worst paper cut of your life! If you’re nervous about cutting yourself, a pair of garden gloves offers great protection.
Use the permanent marker to sketch out a series of leaves on the metal. In general, they should be about three inches high and one inch wide, but they really don’t have to be exact. A little bit of variation in size is a nice thing in this case.
Once you’ve cut out about 20 leaves (again, you can do more or less if you like), it’s time to add texture! You’ll want to use one of the medium-sized, ball-ended tools to draw a line down the center of the leaf. Then, draw the veins of the leaf at an angle to either side of the center line.
After you texture all of the leaves, gently bend them along the center line so they have more of a three-dimensional shape. Then, add all the leaves to a non-reactive bowl (glass is a good one to use).
Next, rough-up the texture of the leaves for a subtle antiqued look. Pour bleach over the leaves until they’re all covered, then add a tablespoon or two of salt and give it a good stir. Let sit for at least two hours, up to 24 hours, depending on how antiqued you want the leaves to be. Pour out the bleach and rinse thoroughly with water, then lay the leaves out on a towel to dry completely.
Take your metal punch and punch a hole at the top of each leaf. Be careful not to punch the hole too close to the edge, as the metal may tear.
Now it’s time to put it all together. Cut a four-foot length of twisted embroidery thread and knot the end through the hole on a leaf. Move about 10 inches up and add another leaf. Repeat until you have two strands of three leaves, two strands of five leaves and one strand of four leaves.
Once all the strands of leaves are complete, tie them to the fairy lights, spacing them about six inches from each other. And that’s all there is to it! Now all you have to do is debate whether you want to display this garland over your bar cart or on the mantle.
So, what do you think? Are you as excited to decorate for the holidays as I am?? Just as soon as I hang this garland, I’ll be busy cutting down a Christmas tree and unboxing my collection of Nutcrackers with which I joyfully overwhelm my family and friends on an annual basis.
PS — Tag @jojotastic and @homemadebanana on Instagram so we can see how our DIYs turn out for you! Joanna will be sharing them in her Instagram Stories, too.
Looking for even more holiday DIY ideas? Try these:
- A Golden-Hued Thanksgiving Floral Centerpiece
- Eggnog Soy Wax Candle DIY
- Wrapped Crystal Ornaments
- Hanging Eucalyptus Wreath Centerpiece
- Festive Pom Pom Garland