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Deck the mantels: Set a festive mood with DIY decorating ideas

 

People often associate the fireplace and mantel with warmth, and during the holidays the fireplace is likely the focal point of the room that brings families together. So decking out the mantel for the holidays is just as important as dressing up the Christmas tree, but who has extra cash to splurge on holiday decor?

Fortunately, Christmas decorating doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some budget-friendly tips to crafting your own festive mantel decor.

Start with greens

Skip the garland, which is a traditional piece of holiday decor to use as filler to give the arrangement a full and festive feeling, and instead try these decorative trees made from plastic spoons. The faux pine trees will add a perfect backdrop to a Christmas-themed mantel.

What you'll need:

• 10.6-inch papier-mache triangle cones (available at any crafts supply store)

• Green plastic spoons

• Wire cutter

• Hot glue

Approximate cost: $10

Instructions:

• Using the wire cutter, cut the heads off the spoons just above the bend.

• Start from the bottom of the papier-mache cone and begin hot gluing the heads of the spoons around the base of the cone, with the tip of the spoon pointing downward. Add a second layer, being sure to place the second layer so each spoon head slightly overlaps those in the first row. Continue gluing all the way to the top, till the cone is fully covered.

Choose a statement piece

The perfect mantel arrangement needs a focal point, whether it's a large mirror, piece of art or holiday wreath. But if you have an old picture frame lying around, you can give it new life by transforming it into a chalkboard on which you can scribble holiday cheer.

What you'll need:

• Picture frame with glass

• White primer

• Chalkboard paint

Approximate cost: $17

Instructions:

• Prime the frame and glass with white primer. You can use either spray primer or primer from a bottle or can. Let the frame and glass dry for 24 hours to ensure it is thoroughly dry.

• Apply the chalkboard paint to the glass.

• Let the glass dry for 24 hours.

Make it sparkle

Add some seasonal sparkle to the mantel with minature lights, glittery balls or easy-to-make reindeer wall art. Best part? They can be re-used every Christmas.

What you'll need:

• 16-inch by 20-inch blank artist's canvas (available at any crafts supply store)

• Glitter

• Mod Podge or glue

• Scissors

• Pencil (for tracing)

• Q-tip or paintbrush

Reindeer shape

Approximate cost: $9

Instructions:

• Print the shape on paper and cut it out.

• Trace the shape onto the canvas with a pencil.

• Using a Q-tip or paintbrush to fill in the shape with Mod Podge or glue.

• Cover the shape completely with glitter, and let it sit for a few minutes so the glitter can set.

• Shake of the excess glitter.

• Let it dry completely for a few hours and gently shake off any loose glitter.

Introduce natural elements

Bring the outdoors inside with these easy-to-make twig candle holders. The weathered, beat-up appearance of the twigs adds a rustic touch to the mantel.

What you'll need:

• Glass or candle holder

• Twigs

• Hot glue

• Candle

Approximate cost: $2

Instructions:

• Find twigs and cut them in various lengths that are as close to the height of the glass as possible.

• Glue the sticks vertically to the glass until they cover the entire holder.

• Place the candle in the glass.

Don't forget the stockings

A Christmas mantel is not complete without stockings, but instead of the traditional felt stockings, try a garland of glittery paper stockings to bring some cheer and glam into your holiday season.

What you'll need:

• Red glitter paper

• Clothespins

• Twine

• Stocking shape

Approximate cost: $4

Instructions:

• Print the stocking shape onto paper and cut it out.

• Trace the shape onto the red glitter paper with a pencil.

• Cut out the paper stockings.

• Instead of punching holes and stringing the stockings, pin them to a piece of twine with clothespins.

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