Looking for an easy DIY project for the holidays? This DIY magnolia garland is a simple and easy project to make in an afternoon. Step-by-step instructions included.

diy magnolia garland how to make

Our family spent yesterday playing “Would You Rather?”

Have you heard of it?

It’s a game (ours was an app on the phone) that asks you to decide between two things.

Like would you rather life a life without elbows or a life without knees?

Or would you rather have the flu for two days or a cold for two weeks?

Or would you rather be able to read a book or read a mind?

Or would you rather give up coffee or your phone?

Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

Peace on Earth sign with magnolia garland

So here’s my DIY version of “Would You Rather?”

Would you rather spend $100 on a magnolia leaf garland like this….

…or make a DIY magnolia garland for free?

You chose free?

Oh good.  Me, too.

Isn’t this a fun game?

Here are your very own instructions for this Thanksgiving to Christmas transitional mantel decorated with a free magnolia leaf garland.

Basket of magnolia leaves

1. Start with magnolia leaves

  • If you don’t have your own tree make friends with someone who does.
  • You will need about 25 magnolia bunches to make this garland.
  • Wash them thoroughly to get rid of any bugs and dirt.

Magnolia leaf garland supplies

2. Cut a few pieces of wire

  • Cut a few pieces of floral wire approximately 6 to 8 inches long.
  • You want the wire to be pretty light weight, but strong enough to hold the branches together.
  • I used 26 gauge wire.

Twist wire around magnolia branches

3. Attach the branches

  • The goal is to attach the end of the branch to the beginning of another branch.
  • Begin by twisting the wire on the end of one of the branches.
  • You want to loop it around several of the bottom smaller branches for support.

Twist together the magnolia branches

4. Layer on the next branch

  • When you’ve finished with the first branch, then layer on the next branch to make your DIY magnolia garland.
  • You layer the beginning of the next branch over the twisted wire that you have already started on the first branch.
  • Twist together.

DIY magnolia leaf garland

5. Continue adding branches

  • Continue the process until you have about a 3-foot swag of DIY magnolia garland.
  • Check the swag for stability.
  • You may want to secure the swag in additional pieces with wire in any places that appear to be weaker.
  • Repeat the entire process until you have finished three 3 foot swags.

Birch bark trees

6. Hang up your garland

  • Next, attach two swags to each of the ends of the mantel.
  • Let hang while you attach the third swag to the middle of the mantel.
  • You will want to attach it firmly.  I used duck tape because my mantel is metal.  It worked amazingly well and it comes in all kinds of colors (like black).  Use whatever method is best for your surface to attach your swag, duck tape may not work best for you.

Make your own gorgeous magnolia garland

7. Wire the pieces together

  • The last step is to wire all the pieces together to form two swags for your mantel.
  • Wire securely in place.
  • Test for weak areas and use more wire if necessary.

Wall of signs with the garland

And now for my answers to the game:

1.  Life without knees

2.  Flu for two days

3.  Read a book

4.  My phone

Because what is life without coffee. 🙂

Happy day friends!

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


    1. Image for Mary Mary

      Me too! Don't have one on my property. Wonder if a complete straner would mind if I show up with my loppers??? Ha! Depends....

  1. Image for Design Chic Design Chic

    Funny - can't wait to add that app! I have the most beautiful magnolia tree in the corner of my front yard and always use the branches in my planters, but have never made a garland - it's gorgeous. Have a feeling that you make it look easier than it is, but I may give it a try! Happy Wednesday, KariAnn!!

  2. Image for FrenchGardenHouse FrenchGardenHouse

    I love this! I always try to decorate with natural materials, made a beautiful DIY Thanksgiving centerpiece on my blog today that is easy and stunning. Not free like yours, but really inexpensive. Happy decorating Karianne!

  3. Image for Shelly@ConfettiStyle Shelly@ConfettiStyle

    So darn beautiful KariAnne! I am definitely putting a magnolia leaf project on my holiday to-do list. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration. Oh, and my answers to Would You Rather... Knees for sure because as I've gotten older they are starting to hurt. A cold for two weeks (only if I'm on a beach somewhere) I'd love to read minds--your's to be exact because your inspiration amazes me. I'd give up coffee any day, probably because I'm not a coffee drinker to begin with. Have a fantastic day!

  4. Image for SilvanaJoanne SilvanaJoanne

    Ok now I have to download that app! The garland is beautiful as is everything you do. Here are my answers if your interested: 1) knees 2) definitly a flu for two days...get it over with quick! 3) I would LOVE to read minds for sure!! 4) I could never give up my iPhone...but then again I'm not a big coffee drinker either That was a fun game :-)

  5. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    Love magnolias trees as well as ladies in movie! Going to try this... Crafter I am not... Might hunt you down at a ballgame watch out might whip it Out if you visit concessions! Enjoy this pretty day!! Every day is a story!

  6. Image for Cindy Brown Cindy Brown

    Oh, KariAnne, I am so excited that you did these instructions! I have two magnolia trees and this will be so pretty!

  7. Image for liz liz

    I love magnolia leaves, we have a tree and every time I tries to cut the leaves in bunches they always shrivel up and turn a nasty brown and look really ugly! Any suggestion on how to keep their color and shape? thanks love you sight.

    1. Image for MAH MAH

      Hey Liz, I just bought a gallon of glycerin (be sure it is vegatable base) I am using it to soak the leaves in for a couple of days, it is suppose to keep them from turning brown. If I am going to do anymore magnolia projects I don't want to deal with them turning brown and brittle. Hope it works.

  8. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    What would you rather do without -- duct tape or glue sticks? breakfast or dinner? lipstick or nail polish? Valentine's Day or Halloween? Frankly I don't know what I'd do. These are real posers!! BTW love your mantle wreath!!

  9. Image for marieDee marieDee

    I have a very large magnolia in my back yard. If I see a bunch of bare spots in the next few days, I'll know I have some other Thistlewood fans in my neighborhood!

  10. Image for MAH MAH

    Very pretty! As a matter of fact I just received a gallon jug of gylcerin and my husband has his saw ready for me to cut magnolia limbs! I think I will attach the bunch of leaves to a jute rope, maybe it will feel more sturdy, we'll see. Love your stuff!

  11. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Love the magnolia garland.....so pretty! I grew up having a magnolia tree, and I miss it! Guess I'll have to make friends with someone who has one! :) Blessings to you! Lanita

  12. Image for Susie H Susie H

    Hey, Karianne, what's your game now; can anybody play? Those lyrics seemed appropriate. I'm going to look up that app right now. I love your magnolia leaf garland. Beautiful!

  13. Image for Kristin @ Pink Camellias Kristin @ Pink Camellias

    A life without knees. A cold for two weeks. The flu is awful! Read a mind. Think of what an advantage this would be! My phone - I love coffee, but I don't do caffeine, so I don't have it. My calendar is on my phone - I have to have that! Magnolia leaf - love it. I have a volunteer magnolia in my back yard that you have inspired me to give a haircut!

  14. Image for Michele Riggsbee Michele Riggsbee

    OMG! Where did you get those amazing birch bark Christmas trees? I must have some of those as well to with my birch wreath! Also, I have that game and it's a lot of fun! Great post and a beautiful magnolia leaf garland!

  15. Image for Laura Sielbeck Laura Sielbeck

    Thanks for the directions! I have a HUGE magnolia tree and am planning on decorating with magnolia and dried hydrangeas from my yard.

  16. Image for Bebett Bebett

    I have been wanting to make a Magnolia garland as we do have a few Magnolia trees in the backyard. My only concern is how long will the leaves last? MAH's comments above talked about using glycerin ... hope you can post how to do that and how long they lasted. Thanks!

  17. Image for Marie at The Interior Frugalista Marie at The Interior Frugalista

    Oh KariAnne, I'm with you about the phone. No way this Starbuckaholic is liv'n without coffee...that could get dangerous! The knee thing, not so much. Having just had double knee surgery in October, dang I miss having functioning knees. Love your "real" magnolia leaf garland - much prettier than my faux variety.

  18. Image for Sheila Pearson Sheila Pearson

    The fact that you said you'd rather give up your phone than give up coffee makes me wonder if we are, in fact, sisters from another mister. I'd rather have the flu because I've already had my flu shot this year. Books because I can already read minds - and I know what you're thinking, "She can't really read minds, right?". See? ...and the no brainer answer is elbows because, duh, how else can we drink our coffee? LYLAS! ;)

  19. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Hi friend:D So umm...I live in BUCKEYE country, and unfortunately I don't have one of these beautiful trees:( However! If one day when you wake up in the morning and you happen to be enjoying your first cup of morning coffee while looking out a window and you see someone having a scavenger hunt for magnolia leave branches...pay no attention because it's just me! Happy day FRIEND:D

  20. Image for Maria Maria

    A very creative project, Kari Anne! I love how full and lush the magnolia leaves look bunched up on a garland like that! The would-you-rather game is played between friends at our home too. I have to say I'd pretty much pick the same responses as you...except for the coffee and phone one...I'm still on the fence. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful project on #SHINEbloghop! It's so great for you to join us this week! Have a fantastic weekend :)

  21. Image for bonbon @ Farmhouse 40 bonbon @ Farmhouse 40

    Oh how I wish I had a magnolia tree or shrubs.......this is beautiful. I am going to drive through the nearest neighborhood and see if I can spot one. LOL Thanks for sharing at Inspire Me Monday. I am featuring you this week. https://www.farmhouse40.com

  22. Image for Tammy Tammy

    This is just beautiful I love Magnolia trees and love decorating with the leaves. I am featuring this post on Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop this week.

  23. Image for Katherines Corner Katherines Corner

    It's beautiful my friend and it fills the mantle with wonderful fresh holiday greenery. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Watch for your feature tomorrow xo

  24. Image for Heather Heather

    I have magnolia trees! And friends coming over for Thanksgiving, so I may have to try this for a beautiful decoration. Thanks so much! I found this on the Saturday Sparks link party. Have a great weekend!

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