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How to Make Natural Cotton Christmas Garland

December 23, 2019 (Last Updated: November 9, 2020)

This natural cotton Christmas garland is such a snowy, soft and fluffy way to decorate your fireplace for Christmas! With about 30 raw cotton bolls (not to be confused with cotton “balls”), a piece of string and a little hot glue, it takes about 15 minutes to put this precious Christmas decoration together and hang it from the mantle.

Cotton garland strung on a mantle with yarn and ribbon.

I love natural Christmas decorations. I live in Brooklyn, and many of us don’t have the luxury of closet space, so storing Christmas decorations requires a considerable amount of real estate. I prefer to make Christmas decorations I can dispose of guilt-free at the end of the season.

I love looking out my window and seeing my neighbors pick the flower bouquet ornaments of my discarded Christmas tree and I also love making citrus ornaments with friends. It’s become such a fun tradition.

A Christmas decoration made from a dry orange and star anise, hanging on a Christmas tree.

I think I’ll try to find space to store this garland for next year though. It’s so soft and makes my home feel so gentle. I paired it with with just 2 strings of yarn and a lace bow. Nice and simple.

A mantle decorated with a clock, various Christmas decorations and cotton garland.

A Few Common Questions:

1. Where do you find raw cotton bolls?

You can find them in specialty florists, craft stores or you can easily find them online. I found mine on Amazon.

2. How long should the garland be?

Measure the length of your mantle and add about 20 inches so you can drape it. Then, add 2 more feet to leave as extra length on each side that will be used to tie it to the mantle.

3. How do you hang the garland?

I simply nailed small nails into the sides of my fireplace, then one right in the center under the mantle. I first attached the center of the garland with a small twisty-tie to the center nail, then draped, and tied the ends to the side nails.

4. How should the garland be stored?

Very carefully lay it into a study box, making sure nothing can squash and flatten them out.

5. What do I need to make the garland?

  • 30 raw cotton bolls without stems
  • hot glue gun
  • about 10 inches of string ( use measurement instructions above )
  • a tool to gently press the string into the glue (I used a chopstick)

7 cotton bolls on a table with a small ball of string and a hot glue gun.

How to Make Natural Cotton Christmas Garland – Step by Step

1. Heat your hot glue gun and lay your first cotton boll face down on a table. Add a little dot of hot glue to one of the points of the cotton shell. Blow on it a little so it’s not too wet when you attach it to the string.

2. Making sure you leave a foot of string bare (you’ll use this to tie the garland to the mantle), gently press the string into the glue, using a tool like a chopstick to make sure it’s fully adhered. Repeat the process. Note: Don’t glue the cotton balls together or they won’t drape as nicely.

3. Nail one nail on each side of your mantle, and one just under it in the center. Use a small twisty-tie to attach the center of your garland to the middle (or simply tie it if you can).

4. Then tie the ends to the nails on either side.

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to make cotton garland.

Cotton garland strung on a mantle with yarn and ribbon, with various Christmas decorations on the mantle top.

I hope you have a beautiful holiday and enjoy this cotton Christmas garland!

And for even more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

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