D.I.Y. Project: Paper Christmas Tree Garland from Vintage Books
Here at the Ampersand headquarters, i.e. mi casa, we finally got our Christmas tree up and I had the idea to recycle the paper garlands from my wedding around the house. I’m lucky enough to be friends with the talented Elaine Frei, owner of Urban Soriee Chicago. Elaine originally made these paper garlands from vintage books for my wedding. I know, some of you are still waiting for the wedding posts, fear not, you’ll get our first installments in January! Anyway, I thought I’d share how reusing the garland turned out and I must say, I’m quite pleased, it really added a nice rustic touch to the tree.
To assemble these garlands, you’ll need just a few items, some of you crafters may already have them lying around the house, but for those of you who don’t, they can be easily procured at your local craft-store.
- Glue gun.
- A generous supply of glue gun sticks.
- Books you’ve already read and are willing to sacrifice the pages of.
- Twine or string, crafter’s choice.
- Large paper punch
This is a very easy DIY project that has many variations to it so you could customize this project to fit your needs, I’ll follow up the instructions with a few of these alternate design ideas. Just follow the simple steps below, complete with accompanying photography.
Some helpful hints:
- Before you start this project make sure you leave 6″ to 12″ of extra string on each end of your garland so that it’s easier to work with when you go to hang it or tie it off. We cut our garland strings to a manageable 9 feet. You can always trim the excess string down after you’ve done what you need to.
- Plan the number of discs you’ll need. At 9 feet, each garland string took about 15 staggered paper discs. Remember to double this number because each circle is constructed from two paper discs. The paper punch allows you to punch everything you need rather quickly.
- Plan the pattern out that you’d like to achieve. When you start gluing you’ll be working quickly and it could get messy if you’re not used to using a glue gun. The more organized you are, the smoother the gluing will go. Our garlands are staggered in sets of two and three discs at a time. See the pictures below for an example of that.
Some assembly required:
- You’ve calculated the number of discs you need for your maiden voyage and it’s time to punch the circles. You can punch multiple sheets at a time– I did five at once so that the punch operated smoothly. Place the sheets in the paper punch.
- Position the paper punch to get the coverage you want. You may want some discs to have a border and some you may want to be completely covered in print, mix it up.
- After punching all the discs you need, gather them together in a pile. When the hot glue gun heats and the glue starts flowing you’ll be very happy you kept your work space organized.
- Time to put your pattern to work, it’s time to start gluing. Your glue gun has heated up to the point that it’s ready, this means it’s very easy to squeeze the trigger and have glue flow very freely. Depending on your glue gun this could prove very messy, make sure you have something to protect your work surface. If this is a new gun, do a little test squeeze to get the amount of pressure right. You really don’t need a lot of glue for this, you need just enough to cover the string and have the paper make contact. You know the “pinch” or 1/8th of a teaspoon measuring spoon you have? It’s almost that much glue.
- Quickly and carefully align a second paper disc on top and affix to the string and the first disc.
- Let sit for a second or two to let the glue harden slightly.
Repeat these steps until you’re done. If you need to travel with them or you’d like to keep them for another occasion, you can wrap the garlands around a tube (like the ones the post office has) and tape the ends down for easy storage. That’s the how- to of this project. You can find larger pictures and more from this DIY project on our facebook page
The inspiration for this DIY project came from Couture By Ayca where you can purchase these original designs if DIY is not your cup o’ tea but you love the look for any occasion you have brewing. Here are a few more spins on that action to get you inspired.
Use these for your wedding, to frame your fireplace or create a design element above it, in your children’s room, as “streamers” at a party. These are very worth of your time as they are versatile and can easily be reused. I’ll leave you with this one last wedding garland photo as tribute to the DIY Queen, Martha Stewart.