When we moved in to our home about 5 months ago, one of the big things on my “fix-it” list was to add a mantle to the rock wall that showcases the fireplace. But it ended up not making a lot of sense with our space and the print we wanted to hang there as well, so, yeah, no mantle.
But now it’s Christmas-time. And next to the Christmas tree, mantles are kind of the home base of Christmas decorating. The whole fireplace and mantle scene? It’s where chestnuts roast and stockings are hung with care. Big deal, right?
So we came up with another solution to hang our stockings. And I love it. And you’re never going to believe what it cost me.
Yes, friends, that is right.
So here’s how it went down and how you can make your own.
First a question: Have you ever seen green bean trees? Not trees that actually grow green beans, I’m aware that green beans grow in the ground. But in our front yard, we have these two big trees that seem to grow (what look like) monstrous green beans that little boys very quickly turn into weapons. These trees were in desperate need of trimming, so Tim went and did some serious trimming. And I asked him to save it and put it in the backyard until I could go through it and pick our stocking hanger branch.
So, you might have some trees nearby that could use some trimming. You could also check out craft stores for dowels. We were looking for something a little more rustic, so a dowel wouldn’t have worked for us, but depending on the rest of your decor, a smooth and finished look might be perfect. A little bit of spray paint and you could do some serious matching. Another option would be Tai Pan Trading, if you have one nearby. I saw lots of “branchy” looking things that would be perfect for this.
Before you go to your backyard or the craft store, have an idea of the length you’re looking for. I marked how big I thought I would want it, then we measured. So when we were outside digging through piles of tree debris, we knew right away if something was to short or if it would need to be cut to fit what we were looking for.
If you’re going with something you’ve selected out of nature, you probably have some trimming to do. We used PVC pipe shears to remove the branch and trim off the extra twigs and such to clean it up.
Once we’d cleaned it up, we took the bare branch inside to see if the size we thought we wanted was actually what we wanted. There’s just no good reason to do a whole project (even if it’s an easy one!) without doing checks along the way to make sure it works for your space.
When we knew we had the right branch, we started the wiring process. I found this grapevine wire at Hobby Lobby for $2.99 – with a 40% coupon, $1.80 – the whole cost of my project! It’s easy to work with and went with our rustic look. Just wrap it around one end of the stick. Pull it tight, it will naturally loosen up on its own.
Then pull out the staple gun to secure it into place. (This is probably a two person job. One person to hold the wire in place and another to use the staple gun.)
Now it’s time to string your stockings through the branch. We’ll be slicing the loops of our stockings and adding velcro so we can pull them on and off that way. But there’s only so much time two grown-up humans who are taking care of little humans have on any given Saturday. So that will be happening later.
We already had our nail hung (it’s where we keep a large, colorful Brazilian print the rest of the year), so we held it up to see how much wire we would need and where to make the cut.
Cut the wire on the other side, then secure it the same way you did with the first side. Wrap tight, staple, and watch those fingers. Or, wrap tight, watch those fingers, and then staple. Yeah, that’s better.
We hung a wreath on the same nail, and we love the look. The longer it hangs, the more the wire straightens out on its own.
No mantle? No problem!
Merry Christmas, friends! And happy holiday decorating!