creating my $12 mantle

I am finally in the Christmas spirit!  This week I'm committed to getting our house holiday ready no matter what!  Today I'm sharing with you the step-by-step of how I made the switch from fall to Christmas on our mantle with just $12.00.

Let's start with a blank canvas to work on.  I took this opportunity to dust which was really a waste.  This mantle is about to get messy, people!
I know, our TV stand is too big.  Yet another placeholder that has lasted too long in our house.

Now it's time to gather up your goods--shop your house for everything you think might work.
  I knew I wanted anything white, with sparkle or shine.
Don't even bother to take your other seasonal decor out of the vases at this point 
because you may not use it all.

Here is where I spent my money.  I went to a local market and picked up a "mixed bunch" of 
garland for $5.99.  I used two.  
I loved the different textures and colors of this bunch.  
**The differing textures are great for layering!**

Next, try a few different arrangements of your larger items that you think you'd like to use.  For me, this combo DID NOT work--even though I wasn't going to keep the candle and acorns in the hurricane. I needed something with a bigger, chunkier scale and this didn't cut it.

These glass urns were better.  
Don't worry, I'll get rid of the shells once I'm sure this is what I'm using!
Why is my picture so low?  Must fix.
Once you have an idea of what elements you'll use, such as candle sticks, vases, urns, picture frames, etc., then it's time to add your greenery.
**Start with your biggest branches first and work from the outside in.**

I still have these little guys from my mixed bunch.  They are the little extra that makes it all better.

Now start tucking.  Take the smaller pieces of garland and tuck them into your gaps.  Remember, you want differing colors and textures going across.

Check on your baby once in a while as he's in his "neglect-o-saucer".

Check for bugs that may have been living in your garland!

Get your scissors out.  For this mantle, I don't want to see these branches.  Just cut the twigs where they meet the branch and tuck them back into the larger pieces.  Problem solved.  
**Don't be afraid to modify what you buy!**
I had these silver, curled twigs from last year to tuck into the garland.  
You know how I love a little sparkle!  {That silver ball garland is for a different post!  Be patient!}

The silver twigs just added a bit of sparkle and texture.
Then I added the candles. Finally, I have the height I needed. Notice how there is white all across the mantle?  I tend to like a monochromatic color scheme (although technically this is probably a neutral plus one) because if you use many items of one or two colors, it seems to get more bang for your buck.
**You want to add different levels to your space so your eye doesn't get bored.**

Finally, I switched from shells to ornaments.

It needed something extra so I added three hanging ornaments to each end with a simple hook.

Finally, for just a bit more texture and spakle I used silver glittered ornaments.  You could also spray paint some pine cones.  Really just use what you already have!

This bird is back from my summer mantle look.  
I think he's around for the long haul!

Finally, the finished product.  

**UPDATE: I have since changed my mantle and made it oh-so-much-better!** 
I decided to pull this mirror from my dinning room and I'm so glad I did. 

I hope you were inspired by at least one element from my mantle.
Please come back to visit for a Christmas vingette in my dinning room, a  Christmas tour of the house, and setting the table for the holidays!

If you would like to be delighted by your home, please contact me at adelightfuldesign@gmail.com.  
Enjoy my posts?  I hope you take a moment to "follow" my blog in the sidebar or subscribe here.

This post is linked to a few different holiday link parties!


  1. Love it! You have absolutely inspired me again!

  2. elegant simplicity. The silver, white and green work so well together...very pretty. By the way I am your newest follower.(-:

  3. Step by Step instructions with pictures?!? You are fantastic!

  4. Excellent. The silver twigs are the perfect touch.

  5. Very pretty, Abby! Just enough sparkle :)

  6. Hi Abby, it's fresh, crisp and pretty. Very you, it seems! I love white and wish I had it on my mantle -- what a difference that would make for me!

  7. That is a beautiful transformation...

    very nice.

  8. Lovin' this THRIFTY mantel...hop over and share it with all of ust at NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAYS!


  9. So pretty! I like how you showed the step-by-step. Your baby looks so happy! How old is he? Looks close to James age.

  10. looks so good, Abby!!! the neglect-o-saucer is about the best thing I've heard!

  11. Great looking mantel and tutorial. I love the fresh greenery. I haven't seen it sold in bunches like that. I usually go to the back of Home Depot and they have boxes of scraps and I take my own box and fill it up closer to Christmas so I can bring the smell in my house and it is free. Thank you so much for joining the party and for following. I did the same.

  12. I love your mantle!! I especially love the little one in the saucer!! I would never have gotten anything done without my kiddos being in the walker or "playpen"!! They weren't in there all the time, just when I needed to get things done and they needed to be "contained"!!

  13. I love the fresh greenery and the white really looks gorgeous with the deep dark green! Sweet baby...I'll hold the baby while you decorate! Hugs! ♥

  14. Your finished mantel is fantastic. I really like your wall color too.

  15. I love it! Congrats on starting in your new design career! Thanks for visiting my blog and I am glad that I got the chance to visit yours...and am following now! BTW, I laughed out loud at the "Neglect-a-saucer." Too true! I just wish both of mine would still fit in one!

  16. Lovely mantel. Thanks so much for participating in Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

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Abby Manchesky Interiors is a boutique design firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. Combining the new traditional, vintage and a dash of the unexpected is her ideal. Contact Abby Manchesky Interiors for more information on available interior design services for clients near and far. abbyminteriors@gmail.com | 616.719.9400


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