Mantels and Magnolias: Simple DIY Christmas Decor

Having just watched one of my favorite movies, Steel Magnolias, I would have been really disappointed in myself had I named this blog post anything other than Mantels and Magnolias. If you haven’t seen this movie please do yourself a favor and watch it! It paints Southern women in such a colorful way. While we’re so much more than the movie depicts, they nailed it.

Back on topic —

Remember when I told y’all I was obsessed with using birch this Christmas season? I told you I couldn’t stop — and I haven’t!

Little by little my home is transitioning into my own little winter wonderland.

This morning I woke up and set out to tackle the mantle. I went shopping last weekend with a vague idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted more faux birch. I wanted it to be somewhat natural and warm. I wanted less.

Usually, I’m so excited to decorate for Christmas that I pull out every decoration I own and just stick it everywhere. The mantle would be FULL. I wanted it to be a little different this year. I still used a lot of space, but I felt like it looked too empty going the minimal route since my mantle is so deep.

This is what I came up with:

I spent a total of $42 to put this together and while it’s more than I would normally spend, I’m happy with it.

Let’s break it down!

I painted the branches a little differently this time. When I painted the branches for the birch and evergreen arrangement I used a paint brush but I needed this one to go a little faster. (To see the arrangement DIY, click here!)

I decided to spray paint these. I created a work station outside so I could do all the branches at once and get it done ASAP. Tip: if it’s a little windy use clothes pins to keep your surface covering from flying all over the place. Like this:

I think I prefer using spray paint because I am in love with the textures it’s giving me on these branches. I also took very little bark off this time. I know birch is supposed to be smooth but there are no rules. Do what looks best to you!

For the vases, I picked them up at TJ Maxx for $13 each. I was hoping to find something marked down a little more but I already have ideas on where to reuse them after Christmas so I’ll be getting more than one season out of these. (Little robin eggs inside for Easter would be really cute!)

I am LIVING for the textures in the containers with the rock and moss. This is exactly what I was hoping to create. I found the reindeer moss, white rock, and river rock all at Dollar Tree for $1 each — $5 total. 2 packs of moss, 1 pack of white rock, and 2 packs of river rock.

For the garland, I just cut a shorter piece from a long strand I already owned but never use and added in tree decorations I already had (minus the magnolia blooms.) I really want to go back for more magnolia blooms to use for other projects! I’d never seen them before and of all places, I found them at Dollar Tree for $1 each! Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers and trees. Being from the Magnolia State and living elsewhere for most of my adulthood, they make me feel sentimental. I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of home and family!

For the Joy piece, I had initially planned on just buying the letters and painting it myself (since I already have the paint) but at Hobby Lobby, the letters alone would have cost more money than just buying it already finished. I picked it up for $10! Tip: if something you need isn’t on sale at Hobby Lobby, wait until the next week and look again! Oftentimes they just have all the departments on a sale rotation and it’s one week on, one week off.

I really want to add tiny LED lights behind the garland to light the “Joy” up a little but I just couldn’t wait to show y’all!

I’m super happy with how it turned out. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of those snowmen, Santas, and elves I always pull out of the attic but I don’t think I’m going to miss them too much!

To recap the where and how much:


I’d really love to see what you’re doing with your mantles this year. I’ve already been seeing so many good ideas going around so I’m excited to see what you come up with! Be sure to tag me if you decorate with the DIY birch so I can see how awesome it looks!

Be on the look-out for a giveaway coming up tomorrow! (It’ll run through the end of the month.) No gimmicks included — I just want to thank all of you for the support you’ve shown me. I am so thankful for all of you!

Don’t forget! Tomorrow — easy, glazed pumpkin bread and a giveaway announcement. Don’t miss it!


4 thoughts on “Mantels and Magnolias: Simple DIY Christmas Decor

  1. “Are you ‘high’ Clairee?”

    One of my most favorite movies as well. I watched it three times this year. This is what happens when you’re a southern girl living in the Southwest….

    And the mantle is gorgeous. Great job on the branches.


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