Homemade Hearths

Get in the SPIRIT with these EASY ways to dress your MANTEL for the HOLIDAYS.

By Thomas J. Story
Produced by Mikhael Romain

All is calm

Let a black-and-white palette be the antidote to tinsel and flashing colored lights. Spray-paint inexpensive nutcrackers white, then place them at attention beneath a paper-loop wreath. If you happen to have dark walls, this look can be especially pleasing.

DIY: Cut white and ivory paper in 1- by 8-inch strips. Bring the ends together to form a teardrop shape; tape or staple to secure. Hot-glue the loops to a wreath form, layering them tightly. Nutcrackers and candlesticks, Michaels. Stockings, Serena & Lily. Moroccan rug, Elsie Green House & Home.


Fresh and unfussy

For a take on the holidays that feels more Western than sprigs of holly do, pile succulents in a trough surrounded by your everyday ceramic vases. Tuck more succulents into a premade olive-leaf wreath.

DIY: Trim each succulent's stem to about 1½ inches. Push a 12-inch length of floral wire through the stem near the base. Position the succulent on the wreath, then wrap the wire around to the back, twisting it to secure. For heavier specimens, tie the wire before twisting it for more stability. Trough, Tina Frey. Pillows by Flint, available at The Perish Trust. Basket, Elsie Green House & Home. Vases, Heath Ceramics and Ruby's Clay Studio and Gallery.

Merry and bright

The holidays are your chance to go all out, if that's your thing. Try a riotous mix of silver and gold, faux snow, and ornaments, all crowned by a pompom wreath. Collect colorful glass balls in large vases and arrange fiberfill into drifts of faux snow where oversize ornaments can nestle.

DIY: Hot-glue pompoms to a wreath form, starting with the largest and varying color and size. Ornaments, Fantastico. Threshold Bar Cart, Target. Stockings, The Stocking Place. Pom-Pom Charm with Pin (on stockings), Serena & Lily. Tall glass vase, Crimson Horticultural Rarities. Silver tree, Crate & Barrel.

Western wonderland

Unleash all your cabin fantasies with a lush woodland scene. Weave a mixed eucalyptus- and olive-branch garland between birch vases filled with dusty miller and green berries. String pinecones on twine, and hang a wreath of shed deer antlers to complete the scene.

DIY: For the wreath, arrange four or five antlers so the points interlock to form a circle. Liberally hot-glue the antlers to one another at the interlocking points. For the pinecone garland, screw fish eye hooks into the base of the pinecones (you may need to drill a hole in the cones first). Thread twine through the eyes. Antlers, eBay. Rocking chair, Past Perfect. Pillow, Cindy Ciskowski. Oil Bottle, Elsie Green House & Home.