By Ruthie Prasil
I have a thing for garlands. $50 tissue paper garlands from my favorite online shop, Shop Sweet Lulu or free ones you make at home. Triangles or circles. Felt or paper. It doesn’t matter, I love them all. With six kids running around, it’s no wonder my decor leans towards whimsical and easy rather than stuffy and expensive. It’s like I always tell them: we can’t have nice things. For baby #6, we went with a very simple, understated nursery. No theme, no cartoon character wall decals, and very basic bedding. We have been down the pink-walls-and-bedding path and it was a path we wanted to avoid this time. For decor, we wanted simple yet meaningful.
Enter: vintage children’s book garland. Did I tell you I have a thing for garlands? I do. I also have a thing for vintage kids’ books. I love them. Especially when they have kids names handwritten on the inside or sweet birthday notes from Nanas and Papas. Anything from 1950 or before and it sucks me right in. So in addition to having just too many garlands to be appropriate, I also have way too many vintage Golden Books. It kills me to throw things like that away and I don’t really have room to store it, so I decided to whip up this simple and adorable DIY.
1. vintage children’s book pages (or you can use ANY book that has sentimental value to you – love poems, wrapping paper, your wedding vows, you name it, it’ll work).
2. needle – choose one with a large eye
3. felt balls – these are totally optional
4. embroidery thread – you may want to stick with neutral colors, but if you want an extra pop of color, you can definitely choose something bright and fun
5. glue stick – don’t use elmer’s glue
From the pages of your book, cut out your shapes. I think hearts look adorable, but honestly any shape works. I’ve used circles and they are just as cute. You will want four pieces per garland cluster, so cut out as many as you want to make the garland as long as you want. I make my garlands with about seven or eight clusters, plus felt balls scattered in between. They should be about this big:
Fold your hearts (or circles, squares, etc.) in half. What is in the inside of the fold is what will show on the outside. I like mixing text with pictures. It makes it a little more interesting. Lining up the folds, glue the sides of your shapes together, paying attention to what images will show to the outside (remember, the inside of the fold).
After you have glued four shapes together, stop. Don’t glue the first and last together yet.
Chances are, your shapes won’t all be the exact same size. This is just fine. Trim the edge so they are.
Now glue the final edges together. You’ll end up with your first cluster. Like this:
With your embroidery thread threaded through the eye of the needle (make sure it’s as long as you want your garland to be plus a foot or so for hanging), pull the needle through the middle of the cluster. Like this:
I put two clusters together, then a felt ball. Two clusters, one felt ball. So on and so forth. At the ends, I have two felt balls.
Repeat steps 1-5 until your garland is your desired length.
Hang above a reading nook, your headboard, from your mantle, your kids’ doors, or any other space that needs just a little touch. Admire.
Note: it takes about 30 minutes from start to finish per garland. These are the easiest, cutest and most sentimental baby shower gifts. Make tiny versions of them to put on your Christmas gifts in place of ribbon. Alter the process just a bit and make a baby mobile. If you’re a teacher or day care provider, it’s easy enough for children to do (with help threading the needle through) with their own art masterpieces for mom and dad for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or birthdays!
Oh, and to buy felt balls, visit Hello Maypole.