Give your Christmas tree a vintage touch by repurposing flea market finds as tree garlands. You can stick with one garland type, or string your tree with a mix of two or more. Here are five DIY tree garland ideas to get you started:
If you've long admired those jars full of antique and vintage buttons but couldn't think of a way to use them, you can string those buttons as tree garland. Stringing them is simple. Thread a sewing needle with monofilament - also known as clear fishing line - and knot one end of the line. Then, slide the needle through the holes in the buttons and slide the buttons to the end of the line.
For a dressy look, opt for silver, brass, or rhinestone buttons. For a homier rustic look, opt for simple buttons made of wood, bone, or celluloid. Take the rustic look a step further by tearing burlap or fabric scraps into strips with frayed edges. Tie the raveled strips into knots or loose bows in regular intervals along the button-covered fishing line.
Flea markets, thrift stores, and other secondhand sources are full of interesting old papers, but sometimes it's hard to find a way to incorporate them into your home decor. Fortunately, they're ideal for making Christmas tree garlands. Keep an eye out for old shelf papers, wrapping papers, maps, book pages, and wallpaper.
You can cut your paper goods into strips to make old-fashioned paper chains. Or, cut them into decorative shapes -- perhaps doves, hearts, or snowflakes. If you have access to a craft or educational cooperative, you may be able to use their die cuts so you don't have to cut shapes out by hand. However you cut them, use a hole punch or scrapbooking scissors to cut holes in the tops, and then thread the cutouts onto flexible wire or coarse twine.
Old Photos or Postcards
For a charming tree decoration that pays homage to the past, make a garland out of old black and white or sepia photos, postcards, or a combination of both. If you have old family photos you can use, that's ideal. If you don't, pick up some instant ancestors at the flea market. To make the garland, first wrap your tree with flexible, medium-gauge wire or coarse twine. Then, hang your photos or postcards from it using old wooden clothespins.
Jewelry or Chandelier Beads
If you favor sparkly tree decor, make a garland by stringing clear fishing line with vintage jewelry or chandelier beads. You can stick with one bead color, type or size for a uniform look, or string them all together in a dazzling, eclectic mix. If your vintage jewelry collection includes rhinestone broaches or clip earrings, you can add those to the mix too. Just clip or fasten them onto the bead-covered fishing line in prominent places after you've wound the garland around your tree. Because you're not affixing the pieces permanently, you can just pull off the pieces you need if you decide to wear them during the holiday season.
Fabric Scrap Rag Balls
Put your old fabric scraps to use by making rag balls. The larger versions work well as bowl fillers or hanging ornaments, but you can make miniature versions to string as a garland. Just tear cotton or linen fabric into narrow strips, and then wrap the strips around small Styrofoam balls. When you have enough mini rag balls, thread a sewing needle with monofilament and string the rag balls onto the line.
For more holiday decorations from the flea market: