Paper Chains and Wrapping Paper Buntings: Two Dozen DIY Paper Garlands and Hangings

DIY Paper Chain

There are so many DIY Christmas garland options using one of the most eco-friendly and economical materials out there: paper!

If you’ve got some Christmas decorating to do, don’t feel like you have to choose store-bought garlands made from petroleum by-products. Instead, DIY one of these delightful paper garlands and make an eco-friendly heirloom. Or make an upcycled decoration that you can toss guilt-free into the recycling on January 1!

Paper Chains

Paper Chain

paper chain. This is your basic paper chain tutorial, with the added bonus of a comparison of several different paper strip dimensions and a discussion of the qualities of paper chain that they produce.

printable pentagon paper chainYou’ll need to use a template to create the pentagons for this paper chain, and then tape to help you connect them, but the look is a fun change from the typical paper chain. I think this would be a fun project to do with children learning the names of regular polygons; to make it a higher-level task, challenge children to create their own templates to make chains from other regular polygons.

watercolor resist paper chain via Make It Your Own
watercolor resist paper chain via Make It Your Own

watercolor resist paper chainHere’s how to turn a process-oriented kid craft into a beautiful decoration. Let kids paint with watercolors on large-format paper, then let them help cut and glue their art into this sweet paper chain. Due to the stiffness of the paper, you might find that you need a stronger glue, or even staples. I think this paper chain would make a lovely year-round decoration in a child’s playroom or bedroom.

glue-free interlocking chainI love this completely glue-free paper chain, a perfect way to use only what you have on hand.

paper punched paper chain image via Tell Love and Party
paper punched paper chain image via Tell Love and Party

paper punched paper chainYou can do this to any paper chain to make it even fancier! If you choose a look with lots of negative space, as in the image above, use a paper with lots of structure. Cardstock and watercolor paper would both work well for this project.

Paper Garlands and Buntings

wrapping paper chain via Lynda Creates
wrapping paper chain image via Lynda Creates

wrapping paper chainThis is a delightfully old-fashioned way to upcycle wrapping paper, although any very thin and flexible paper would also work well. I love the author’s idea to add to the chain each year using that holiday’s wrapping paper. What a fun idea to preserve the special papers that you’ve collected!

folded paper garlandThe technique used here is similar to the one used in the wrapping paper garland, above, but calls for long strips of colored paper instead.

paper greeneryUse this DIY paper greenery to replace any plastic faux greenery in your home.

Reindeer Garland via The Proper Blog
Reindeer Garland via The Proper Blog

Santa and reindeer garlandThis is the CUTEST garland for a mantle! It does require a significant amount of fiddly cutting if you want to achieve the proper number of reindeer. But I think the finished look is well worth it. These reindeer would look lovely all cut from brown paper bags or food packaging cardboard.

animal cut-out paper chain. Remember folding and cutting paper to make paper chains of little people all holding hands? Like everything else, that adorable children’s craft can get a LOT more sophisticated! Here are templates to make paper chain animals.

curled paper garlandIf you have kids who don’t yet know how to curl paper with scissors, now is the time to teach them! This is the garland I’d hang to decorate for a New Year’s Eve party. You know, if I didn’t prefer to sit at home in my jammies and quietly eat fudge on New Year’s Eve…

paper fan garland via Ice Cream Off Paper Plates
paper fan garland via Ice Cream Off Paper Plates

paper fan garlandThe rainbow colors in the image above are sweet and stunning, but this garland would look lovely in any colorway. I think it would make especially excellent birthday party decor!

paper flower garlandIf you don’t live in an area where evergreens and snowflakes hang out for the holidays, why not go ham with what you DO have? These paper flowers do require some precise cutting, but the reward is a beautiful, colorful, flowery garland!

paper leaf garlandPair those flowers, above, with these big paper leaves!

paper snowflake garland via Art Bar Blog
paper snowflake garland via Art Bar Blog

paper snowflake garlandWhite typing paper looks best with this project, I think you could get away with upcycling paper that’s been printed on one side. It would be a lovely little craft to do on the last day of school for a semester to use up a student’s completed worksheets!

paper Christmas tree garlandSolid-color paper in any color would probably work best for these trees, but I think the stars would look super cute cut from colorful, glossy magazine ads.

paper ball garlandThese paper balls look just like Christmas ornaments, and I think you could also string them individually to decorate a tree.

Platonic solids garland via Mini Eco
Platonic solids garland via Mini Eco

Platonic solids garlandAh, to be a geometry teacher! This project would make a lovely classroom bunting, or a sneakily educational family craft. Do it in holiday colors for a Christmas tree!

paper twinkle lightsThe light bases would look great when cut from brown paper bags or any kind of cardboard, I think. For bonus points, string them along with real twinkle lights!

paper net garland via Oh Happy Day
paper net garland via Oh Happy Day

paper net garlandWant to get a LOT of decoration coverage for the least amount of work? I think this project is your solution!

basic buntingThis basic bunting is incredibly versatile. You can make it in pretty much any size or shape you can think of, with any type of material!

Wall Hangings

ombre paper chain wall hangingI love the idea of a paper chain wall hanging. It’s significantly more fragile than fabric or macrame, of course, but it’s so much more accessible. This particular project does require quite a bit of colored paper in specific colors that might be challenging to source without buying new. So keep that in mind!

paper chain Christmas treeIt’s made using the basic paper chain method, but this is actually a wall hanging! The author uses it as an Advent calendar, but I’d just as happily create it simply to look at all season.

reindeer and snowman paper chain hangingsThese are also meant to be Advent calendars, but are also cute enough to live all season as-is.

Do you have a great paper garland craft that I’ve never heard of? PLEASE tell me all about it in the Comments!

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