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 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 chain. You’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. Here’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 chain. I love this completely glue-free paper chain, a perfect way to use only what you have on hand.
paper punched paper chain. You 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. This 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 garland. The 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 greenery. Use this DIY paper greenery to replace any plastic faux greenery in your home.
Santa and reindeer garland. This 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 garland. If 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. The 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 garland. If 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 garland. Pair those flowers, above, with these big paper leaves!
paper snowflake garland. White 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 garland. Solid-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 garland. These paper balls look just like Christmas ornaments, and I think you could also string them individually to decorate a tree.
Platonic solids garland. Ah, 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 lights. The 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. Want to get a LOT of decoration coverage for the least amount of work? I think this project is your solution!
basic bunting. This 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!
ombre paper chain wall hanging. I 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 tree. It’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 hangings. These 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!