All the tricks for hanging garland on your mantel including how much garland you actually need and the simplest way to hang it without damaging the mantel.
There’s nothing like sitting by the fireplace with a warm, cozy blanket and a steaming mug of cocoa, watching a favorite Christmas movie.
So no matter how simple or elaborate my Christmas decorations are, our fireplace is always one of the first spots I decorate for Christmas.
I’ve changed up our Christmas fireplace decorations a bit over the years, but there are two things that are non-negotiable – the stockings and a nice Christmas garland.
When it comes to hanging the garland on your mantel, there are a few simple tricks that just make the entire process so much easier.
In this post I’m sharing three different ways to hang your garland on your mantle, a formula to figure out how much garland you need, and a few simple tricks to make your garland stick without damaging anything.
Sidenote – this year I flocked my own garland to match my flocked Christmas tree and I love how it turned out!
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Different ways to hang garland
There are several different ways you can hang garland on your mantel and I think they all look beautiful.
The best one for your fireplace really just depends on the size and shape of your mantel and the look you are going for.
1 – Drape the garland flat across the top
One of the easiest ways to add garland to your mantel is to simply lay it across the top of the mantel and let it hang off the ends. This works well if you have a fairly deep mantel so that there is still room to add some candles or other items for interest.
When laying your garland flat, you can end the garland at the end of your mantel, let it drape off the ends a foot or two, or let it drape nearly to the floor for a more dramatic look.
2 – Swag the garland across the front of the fireplace
This is a classic garland look with the garland swooping down over the front of your fireplace.
This style tends to make a bigger visual impact since the garland is taking up more vertical space.
Depending on the width of your fireplace, you can do one, two, or three swoops across the front to fill the space evenly.
3 – Hang the garland asymmetrically off one side of the mantel
The last few years, hanging garland asymmetrically has become very trendy.
When you’re doing an asymmetric garland, you can either lay your garland across the entire top of the mantel or only partway across and then let it drape down on one side nearly to the floor.
How much garland do you need for a mantel
How much garland you’ll need depends on a few different factors.
- How wide is your fireplace? If you have a very wide mantel, you’ll need more garland.
- Do you want your garland to swag across the front of your fireplace? If so, you’ll need more garland.
- How much do you want your garland to hang off the ends of the mantel? If you want it nearly to the floor, you’ll need a lot more garland than if you just want it to drape a small amount.
So what does all that mean? If you want an easy way to figure out exactly how much garland you’ll need, here’s some very simple math you can use.
How to calculate your garland length
At the very minimum, your garland needs to be as long as the top of your mantel.
If you want it to drape off the ends of the mantel, add around four feet to your measurement so it can hang two feet off each side.
If you want it to hang all the way to the floor, measure the height of your mantel and multiply that by two. Then add it to the measurement of how wide your mantel is. That will give you enough garland to lay across your mantel and drape to the floor on both sides.
If you want it to swag down across the front, it needs to be at least 1.5 times the top of of your mantel. (Plus the extra length to drape off the ends).
All mantels are different, but a pretty standard mantel size to use as an example is 54″ wide and 54″ high. With a 54″ mantel, you would need:
- A 5′ garland to lay across the top with no draping off the ends.
- An 8.5′ garland to lay across the top and drape two feet off each end.
- A 13.5′ garland to lay across the top and drape to the floor on both sides.
- An 11′ garland to swag across the front and drape two feet off each end.
- A 16′ garland to swag across the front and drape to the floor on both sides.
These numbers are only examples to show how the look you are going for and the size of your fireplace will affect the amount of garland you need.
How to get longer garlands
If you do a bit of math and realize you need a super long 16′ garland for the look you want, don’t worry. There’s an easy solution – and it doesn’t involve buying super expensive extra long garlands.
It is very easy to attach multiple garlands together to create a super long garland so just buy enough standard garlands to add up to the length you need.
Most standard garlands are 6 ft long, but I have seen 9 ft garlands as well.
How thick do you want your garland to be
Now that you know how long your garland needs to be, there’s one more thing to consider – how thick do you want your garland.
In the past, I used to use one strand of garland across my fireplace and while it looked fine, it was honestly a bit skimpy.
This year I doubled up my garland and I love how thick and full it looks.
The photo below shows a single garland on the left and a doubled garland on the right.
If you want a fuller look, you can always buy fuller garlands to begin with or you can buy enough garland to double them.
Honestly, most of the time, buying double the standard garlands can be cheaper than buying one really high quality extra thick one.
How much garland I used
Ok, I’m sure some of you are thrilled with this mathematical breakdown and some of you are having flashbacks to sweating through prealgebra.
So for everyone who hates math and isn’t about to use it to figure out their Christmas garland, here’s the cliff notes version.
My mantel is pretty large at almost 7 feet across. I used two 6 foot garlands to swag across the front and drape just a bit over each side.
Then I added an additional two 6 foot garlands to make everything nice and full for a total of four 6 foot garlands.
How to hang your garland
Now that you have the right amount of garland, it’s time to get it on the mantel!
If you are simply laying your garland over the top of your fireplace and letting it drape off the ends, you may not need anything extra to hold it in place.
I prefer to let my garland swag across the front of my mantel, so I needed just a few more supplies.
- Garland – I used four of these 6 foot pine, pinecone, and eucalyptus garlands from Michaels. I also flocked the garlands myself before hanging.
- Command hooks – the wire kind is easiest to work with.
- Floral wire – for if you need to connect more than one garland together, any flexible craft wire will work.
How to hang garland without damaging your mantel
The trick to perfectly swagged garland – command hooks.
Command hooks are inexpensive, they’re easy to place wherever you need them, and they remove cleanly when the holidays are over without damaging your mantel. (And no, this post is in no way sponsored by Command hooks; they are just the best tool I’ve found for this task.)
I like to use the clear ones with the wire hooks. The actual hook is a bit bigger and the hooks can move around freely which makes attaching the garland much easier.
How many hooks you need really depends on how you want your garland to look.
If you want your garland to drape down once across the front of your fireplace, you’ll just need a command hook in each corner.
If you want it to drape more than once, you’ll need a command hook in the two corners as well as each spot where the garland swoops back up to the mantel.
Place the command hooks on top of the mantel, with the hook facing away from the front of the fireplace.
The placement doesn’t need to be exact, but I like to put mine about an inch back from the front edge of the mantel.
Hanging the garland from the hooks is pretty simple – just slide a branch or two of your garland onto the hook.
My garland stayed exactly where I placed it, but if yours is sliding around a bit, try to hook the garland where two branches connect. This should secure your garland in place.
If your garland is a bit too thick to hang directly on the hook or you just want it to hang a bit lower, you can use floral wire to attach it to the command hooks.
Just wrap the wire around your garland and then hook it over the hook.
Connecting multiple garlands
Earlier, I mentioned that you may need to connect more than one garland to make a garland long enough for your fireplace.
This is super easy to do using floral wire or other thin craft wire.
I like to arrange my garlands on the fireplace using the command hooks before attaching them together. This way, I can make sure the placement looks good.
Then I overlap the two garlands slightly and wrap floral wire firmly around them to keep them in place.
If you’re connecting point happens to fall right where there is a Command hook, you may not even need the floral wire – you can simply loop both garlands over the hook.
Finish your Christmas mantel
Once your garland is in place, you can fluff it up and make sure the branches are draping nicely.
If you want, you can spruce up a plain garland by sticking in real or artificial evergreen branches, pinecones, or berries to help fill in any bare spots. I was pretty happy with the fullness of my garland so I didn’t do this.
Then you’re ready to add the stockings and decorate the rest of the mantel.
There really isn’t a whole lot of space for decorating our mantel around the TV, so I like to keep it simple with a few candlesticks elevated on books and some small wooden houses.
One Christmas mantel with three different garland styles
This year I tried out three different garland styles on my mantel using the same garland, to see which works best.
Since I used the same garland, the differences between the three styles are subtle, especially in photos.
Garland draped flat across the top of the mantel.
Garland slightly swagged across the front of the mantel two times.
Garland swagged across the front of the mantel three times.
The three swags was the final winner.
I like how it looks on our chunky mantel the best, but more importantly, it keeps the Christmas garland from blocking the remote control sensor on the bottom of our TV.
When I tried out the first two garland methods, we couldn’t use our remote control from our couch without standing up.
It’s one of those quirks of having the TV over the fireplace that you don’t always consider! But thankfully, with the three swags, the garland is completely out of the way and looks beautiful.
And now I’m ready for that mug of cocoa and a fire in the fireplace!
Ready for more helpful Christmas decorating tips? Check out these posts next:
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- Command hooks
- Floral wire
- Determine how many command hooks you will need based on how you are hanging your garland.
- Place the command hooks on top of the mantel, with the hook facing away from the front of the fireplace.
- Slide a branch or two of your garland onto the hook. If yours is sliding around a bit, try to hook the garland where two branches connect.
- If you want it to hang lower, use floral wire to attach it to the command hooks.
- Then just wrap the wire around your garland and hook it over the hook.
- To connect more than one garland overlap the two garlands slightly and wrap floral wire firmly around them to keep them in place.
- Once your garland is in place, you can fluff it up and make sure the branches are draping nicely.
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Zeanla Floral Wire,3 Pack 117 Yards 22 Gauge Green Florist Wire Flexible Paddle Wire for Crafts,Christmas Wreaths Tree,Garland and Floral Flower Arrangements (Floral Wire Green 3 Roll)
Command Small Wire Toggle Hooks, Damage Free Hanging Wall Hooks with Adhesive Strips, No Tools Wall Hooks for Hanging Christmas Decorations, 10 Clear Hooks and 12 Command Strips