This tutorial for an Everlasting Garland is fun project that can be done alone or with others.
It can kept on a tray or flat box and worked on when time allows, or done all at once. The tools requirements are simple and materials can be mostly "found" , keeping it low overhead. While this is being offered during as a Holiday project, it can used anytime there is a need to decorate or one is feeling a need to celebrate! It can also be themed for seasons or occasions by changing the materials used. It stores well in a large hat box.
This photo gives one the general idea of materials and tools. The one item used here that needs some advance preparation are the dried tangerine slices. I made these the day before and just dried them nicely on a baking rack atop the wood stove that was burning gently.
These are the basic tools used. There are some other options, such a hand held drill, with a handle like a screw driver, if you do not or use a cordless drill. The drill bit or hole size simply needs to be a little larger than your wire. I use a 3/32" bit.
The Wire I am using here is called "florist wire" and is 26 gauge wire. It could be a bit heavier and work fine also. The smaller the number on the wire size, the thicker it is. I would say that a 24 gauge would work fine and maybe 22. The wire does not have to be green, copper wire would also work nicely. It can be used like a needle to go through soft things such as cranberries or dried fruit. You also see utility scissors, small pliers, garden clippers, a tape measure, some good glue, "Weldbond" (non-toxic, water proof, glues everything) and raffia to put on each end or where you like it best.
1. Cordless drill or hand held drill/hole maker
2. Garden clippers
3. Small pliers
4. Utility Scissors
5. 24 to 26 gauge wire in a coil, or enough for your project allowing for loops at the ends.
6. Raffia for decorative effects
This shows an array of materials I gathered from my yard, my walks and my own baskets of things for this project. The tangerines, hazelnuts and walnuts are the only boughten items.
It is nice to have a variety of color, size and texture. These elements create contrast and if placed artfully, set each other off , creating a visually attractrive garland.
I will simply make a list of what I have here. The fun of this is finding what you may have!
The possibilities are infinite.. vintage buttons, rolled paper beads, dried fruits sliced of all kinds, wood cut in various ways and of course things made from felt and wool.
What I have here is:
1. 1/4" to 3/8" green twigs cut in 1" to 2" lengths with clippers.
2. A variety of pinecones. The pine cones that are more solid are best, that will stay together when you drill a hole through the center. Good examples of this could be Fir cones or tight Spruce cones.
3. Acorns with the caps glued on.
4. Little pcs. of branch cut about 1/4" long that a greats 'spacers" between the larger pcs.
5. Eucalyptus caps , used also as spacers.
6. Hazelnuts and walnuts, or nuts that you like or have.
7. Spiky seed pods from the Bottleneck Tree.
8. Cranberries and or fresh rosehips
9. Cinnamon sticks
10. Tangerine slices, dried.
All materials being used for the garland need a hole for stringing. When drilling through wood or seed pods, be sure to put wood underneath the object for the drill bit to go into so as not to damage the surface you are working. The object you are drilling must be held firmly or it will want to spin with the direction of the drill bit. Firm and steady and upright is how to use the drill.
These colorful twigs are being randomly cut in pieces with the garden clippers. Finding branches from shrubs or trees such as Red Osier, Willow or plants that have colorful bark is very attractive.
The branches of these shrubs are soft and drill easily. The important thing when drilling through small things is to keep the drill vertical and steady, so the hold is centered and straight.
Hazelnuts are a lovely color and shape and seem to go well, setting off everything else. They are slippery and roundish, so again, holding them firmly is important. They are not very hard and drilling with moderate pressure helps to keep them from cracking. If they do crack on the back side, as some of mine did I simply used the Weldbond glue to secure them and it worked well.Continue drilling your parts and pieces that you have chosen, until you have enough to try a section of the garland. Alternatively, you can lay out a trial section to form an arrangement that you find pleasing, and then drill the holes as you go. Some of the items, such as the pine cones, can be hard to find the holes once they are drilled and drilling them and immediately stringing them is easier.
This is a grouping of seed pods, pinecones, twigs, cranberries, acorns and spacers. It is about a foot long. This is done to give you some direction to take when you start actually stringing. It is entirely like stringing a set of actual beads for a necklace, laying out the colors and shapes which you like together.
Alternatively, you can also take the random approach! You collect all your materials together and then drill, or string and drill as you go, letting the work be entirely spontaneous. This is entirely a matter of preference and choice and what you will enjoy the most.Before actually starting to string the garland, establish the length of your project. A comfortable size to work with for an adult is about 3' to 4". If you want to decorate longer distances, it still seems to be more practical to join several smaller ones. The garlands are fairly sturdy, but things like the dried fruits and some things may not hold up to a lot of jostling around and the shorter lengths compliment this.
Measure out the length measure out the desired length of wire for the garland adding at least 2" at each end to make loops to hang or attach the garland with.
This shows how to string softer items, such as the cranberries. With time the cranberries will shrink as they dry. The garland pieces can be scooted together to tighten it when this occurs, or bit of raffia, twine or yarn can be wrapped around the wire and knotted as fillers to keep it tight.
This is the first section of the garland that is strung. On the right side you can see a loop and twisted wire, with a raffia bow over it. This one of the garland. This completed section is about 1/4 of the whole project. If a few more inches are needed , they can be filled in between sections. The pattern that has been created does not have to be perfectly done each time, slight variations and differences add interest, while keeping a nice over all rhythm in the design. In my finished garland, if you look very closely, you will see this. The sections are mostly the same, but not entirely the same.
If you are pleased with the first foot or so, continue on your way until the end. You can also take things off and re-do if you want to change something !
The garland is now 3/4 done. Once things are chosen and laid out, the stringing actually goes very quickly.
This is the garland hanging on the workroom Hutch. Garlands can be put many places, and used many creative ways.
Here it is on the mantle, with larger bows at the ends and fastened in the center.
A garland like this can also be wrapped around a vine wreath and attached with very cheerful and beautiful results.
As a last note, I like to add some pure essential oils, reflective of the piece, such as orange oil, or cinnamon oil or fir oil. The essential oils can be dabbed as needed on the pinecones or other porous parts. It is lovely!
All content of this post is protected by my copyright and may not be copied, transferred or used with out my permission. Thank you. Copyright 2015 by Lucinda Claire Macy