Paper Holiday – Garlands

by Grace Bonney

Here are a few alternatives to the paper Christmas garlands you may remember making in elementary school.

I look forward to seeing how this faux bois chain garland will look on my tree. This gift wrap is from Elum, available here. Each link in this chain looks almost seamless thanks to using double layers of paper.

Take two sheets of paper that are 4 1/2 by 16 1/2 inches. On the wrong side of one piece, measure out and mark a line lengthwise a 1/2 inch from the edge, it is this 1/2 inch edge that will not be glued. Using a glue stick or double stick adhesive, glue the two pieces of paper, edge to edge and wrong sides together, leaving that one half inch edge unglued. Let dry and flatten if needed with a heavy book or two.

Now, measure and mark faint pencil lines lengthwise a 1/2 inch from each edge. To cut out each rectangular link, place paper on a grid cutting mat { or mark lines} and, with an x-acto blade and ruler, cut the first line 1/2 inch from edge from the top pencil mark to the bottom pencil mark and repeat 1/2 inch from that line. Cut the space between the two lines at the top and the bottom, cutting out the center of the link. Cut the next line 1/2 inch from the previous line. completely cutting the link from the paper. Repeat this process for the rest of the paper.

You should be left with links that are 4 1/2 inch long rectangles with 1/2 inch sides all around, with one of the short ends having two layers of unglued paper. On that short unglued end, take your blade and carefully cut through the top layer only from one edge of the opening to the edge of the paper, and do the same cut { on the unglued end} in the opposite direction on the other side. This should create 2 L shapes that overlap when you pull the link open.
Repeat this process for the remainder of the links.

Take two more sheets of paper, also 4 1/2 by 16 1/2 inches and glue them together, putting adhesive over the entire surface. Repeat the rest of the steps above to create the ‘closed’ chain links.

To assemble the chain, take one of the open links and thread two closed links on it, then glue the open link closed, lining up the seam on each side as close as possible. Continue by adding an open link to each of the closed, making sure to thread the next closed link on before gluing. Phew, I hope that makes sense – it is harder to explain it than to do it.

This folded paper garland is surprisingly sturdy and couldn’t be simpler to make. Cut out 1/2 or 3/4 inch strips of paper that is the same on both sides. Glue the end of one piece at a right angle over another piece, next, fold the piece on the bottom over the top piece, still at a right angle. Continue crossing each piece over the other, creasing each fold and keeping the paper at a right angle.

As you reach the end of a strip, make your last fold and cut the end so that it is half way across the other strip. Glue another strip onto that tab in the correct direction and continue folding.

A small length of the folded garland can also be used to create tree ornaments. Follow the instructions above to create enough garland to encircle a small glass Christmas ball. Glue both ends of the garland down and then with the ribbon hanger of the glass ball between them, adhere the two ends together.

This no-glue paper ring garland has turned up in a number of my vintage paper craft books- I can see why, it’s simple to make and looks good with all sorts of different patterned paper.

I traced this pattern with my circle guide, but you can also download a template here http://dsharp.typepad.com/dsharp/paper-ring-garland.html to cut out and trace. Fold a strip of paper { that is the same on both sides} in half lengthwise and line the template up with the paper on the fold. Trace and cut out as many as desired. Unfold each piece and reverse the fold so that any tracing lines are on the inside. Connect the links by folding one closed and slipping another link through the circle in the center, close that second link and repeat with a third link.

Suggested For You


Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.