I love it when ideas come together seamlessly as if they were meant to be. This is how my March mantel came to life. I love decorating my mantel each month with holiday themes or seasonal themes. It adds that extra special sense of celebration to the home. Custom decor also give me the ability to let my creativity go free and have an artistic outlet I thoroughly get joy from. Also, each custom handmade piece becomes an heirloom I am proud to pass on, put up year after year building family memories and traditions to deepen that joy.
The first piece conceived in my mind was the rainbow felted wool ball garland. I was at a loss trying to figure out the easiest way to get all the shades of the rainbow I wanted in the same size, which can be very tricky and time consuming…and I am not about to waste my time. Thankfully I found these and loved the variety of color. I knew I could use the more vibrant rainbow colors for my March St. Patrick’s themed garland, and the other more muted colors would be great for a fall month garland.
All you need is white embroidery floss and a needle with an eye large enough for the full width of the floss, and you are good to string those felt balls together. I tied a looped knot at the beginning, made sure my needle went through as close to the center of the felt ball each time, and strung them one after another. I did line up the colors in the order I wanted from beginning to end. I used 52 total felted wool balls to repeat a pattern of 17 colors from a dark burgundy to white with multiple shades of basic red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and pink. I love seeing multi shades in my rainbows! Oh, and I did use one extra white to begin and end the garland with white. I knotted it off with a matching length loop, and used a large paper clip I opened up to use as a double hook to attack the garland on one side and to my tall silver candle holders.
The next idea I procured during my Christmas decor take down, that happened late February…believe me I was beginning to think it was going to be Christmas in July as things were going with no time and no energy to put Christmas away with all the other project I had going between work and home.
I was about to put these iron fireplace pillar candle holders I traditionally have only used for Christmas. Then it hit me…WHY on earth am I using these gorgeous candle holders ONLY for Christmas? Why not take what I’ve done for Christmas and do something similar to customize for all my holidays and seasons? So I also get to reuse the pillar candles I have (and have never burned), and all I did was add these beautiful rainbow spectrum ribbons with a small chartreuse green ribbon I had on hand and tied them at the top with a simple square knot to give it added interest. I love it! Just about every time I see these candle holders, I have to laugh because until I decided to paint these white with white glitter, I HATED these wrought iron candle holders. They were my husband’s before we got married (or maybe his parents he “inherited”) and they were bulky, beige, and so ugly in my mind. I seriously had them packed up to donate a few times, and something always made me hesitate but I didn’t know why. Then it hit me to refinish them, get white pillar candles, and wrap the base of the candles in a beautiful red sparkle stripe ribbon, and I have loved them ever since. I love them ever more now that I can use them all year! P.S. I just used cellophane tape to tape on the rainbow ribbon, but know when I change it over for Easter, I will take the time to burn the edges of the ribbon to stop the fraying and be able to use these year after year. I may need to cut the thin green ribbon, but I am thinking I will stitch it onto the wide ribbon, and just tape it each year…unless I can figure out another easy way.
One thing I knew I wanted to do, but it took the right inspiration on how I was going to do it, was have wood letters spell out LUCKY using various green shades and one letter was going to be painted a rainbow spectrum. JoAnne’s and Michael’s ironically left me inspirational-less, however, walking through Walmart’s vamped up craft section I saw these great wood slatted panels in different sizes. Boom! Inspiration came flooding in! I bought the light grey almost white thinking I would paint the background pure white in the biggest one as well, but in the end I liked the subtle difference. I knew I needed two wood shamrock cutouts that I couldn’t find anywhere with the right size, shape, and thickness. I did find them on two different Etsy stores. I couldn’t wait for them to arrive. I hate having to be patient once I get a completed vision in my head. However, I am so glad it worked out that way, because I finished painting, gold speckling the LUCKY unfinished wood letters I found at Michael’s and got on discount with a great coupon for my whole purchase (where I also got the felt shamrock garland, sparkle mini shamrocks, and gold coins i used on my mantel–watch out for those coupons on their app!). While waiting for my large shamrock and four leaf clover to arrive, I painted the green and white chevron and felt I needed some sparkle! I had some emerald green glitter craft paint I got from the after Christmas sales that was perfect for this. After adding the glitter to the green chevron, I knew I wanted to use the same green and glitter craft paint for the shamrock was planning to glued above the LUCKY letters. It turned out better and tied them in together perfectly! I also had a blast using my paint mixing skills to paint the spectrum rainbow on the U. I am just obsessed with it all and thrilled at how well it all came together.
I knew I wanted the spectrum rainbow to tie in from the candles, to the garland, the U in the lucky, but felt there needed to be one more place. The smallest wood slat square I originally wanted to break in my Silhouette, that I haven’t set up since getting it for Christmas, and make a stencil for the phrase”You are the gold at the end of my rainbow,” however, time got away from me and I needed something faster. I figure I can use that for another project next year–I always have far too many ideas than I do time!
When the four leaf clover wood cutout arrived, it was perfect for the square, but too big for the green and white chevron like I was planning, so it hit me…to tie in the gold speckling on the letters AND that last rainbow spectrum element, I would paint the four leaf clover gold, and the whole square the rainbow spectrum like I did the letter U! Voila!!! The inspiration and seamlessness of everything coming together just kept making me so happy! The last thing I did was throw up some the the left over foam shamrocks, and it was a wrap! Now I finally had my March mantel and I am OBSESSED with it! It has all the elements I love: gorgeous color, balance, everything is tied together, sparkle, and nothing is gaudy or cheap looking…it is not diy, it is CUSTOM!
To do the chevron, I taped off the pattern using the thinnest painter’s tape I could find. I first measured the width of the medium sized wood slat piece, and it worked out to divide it into 2 inch sections for each segment of the chevron design. In the video I posted to the right, I show you what I do to ape on the chevron and how I used the width of the tape to determine the width of the chevron spacing. After the tedious, thought relaxing, process of taping off the chevron pattern, I used an inch flat brush to paint in the green. I immediately removed the tape while the paint was damp to avoid any sticking.
After the green paint was dry, I used white craft paint, and a smaller flat brush to paint in the white, while at the same time being able to clean up any bleeding the green did and sharpen up the edges. After it all dried, I used the flat brush to paint on the glitter craft paint. It adds the perfect variation in design, color and texture to the whole mantel.
NOTE: To paint the greens, as well as the spectrum rainbow colors and the gold, I used my artist grade Golden acrylic paints I had on hand. You may use craft paints to achieve the look for much less, but I knew ahead of time I wanted this to be a long lasting, heirloom quality set of holiday decor with the vibrant colors I can achieve with my Golden acrylics. I personally feel it is worth it, and see it as an investment. There is nothing saying that you, however, cannot use the craft paints that offer a beautiful range of color options–especially if you are not as confident in mixing colors.
DMC white embroidery floss–full 6 strands
embroidery needle with a large eye
52 felted wool balls of various shades in rainbow colors
3 inch wide rainbow ribbon
3/8 inch green craft ribbon
clear cellophane tape
fabric scissors-to cute the ribbon to size
white pillar candles
3 sizes of white washed slatted wood panels–largest, medium, and small square–found at Walmart’s craft wood section
Craft paints of various rainbow colors–as many as you like, or mix to make many shades
gold craft paint
emerald green glitter craft paint
1 incha dn 1/2 inch flat craft paint brushes
paint palette or paper plate for mixing colors
6 inch unfinished wood letters LUCKY
6 inch unfinished shamrock wood cutout–I found mine in Etsy
8 inch unfinished four leaf clover wood cutout–I found mine in Etsy
white craft glue
thin painter’s tape
cup and water to rinse brush
What did you do for your custom March mantel?