Skip the traditional table runner for this year's holiday meal and create a luscious garland of magnolia leaves and festive embellishments. We'll show you how to make the garland and give you our best styling inspiration.
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Impress your family members this year with a gorgeous homemade holiday garland. Use a variety of fresh, in-season foliage (like magnolia and eucalyptus branches) to create a full garland and then top off the greenery with natural embellishments that match your existing holiday decor. We used cinnamon sticks and clementines, but any natural accents (like cranberries or pinecones) will look stunning on top of your garland.

Keep in mind that this works best as a day-of project if you use fresh foliage, but you can make the garland the day before and store the pieces in a refrigerator overnight if needed. You can also use the same instructions to make a garland out of faux greenery for a festive Thanksgiving centerpiece that can be reused at future holiday gatherings.

thanksgiving table with fall centerpiece

How to Make a Magnolia Garland

Supplies Needed

  • Magnolia foliage
  • Seeded eucalyptus
  • Leucodendron
  • Hypericum
  • Craspedia billy ball flowers
  • Florists wire
  • Scissors
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Clementines

Step-by-Step Directions

Follow these simple how-to instructions to put together your holiday garland. You should be able to complete the project in under an hour.

various botanical stems

Step 1: Make bundles

Using a sprig of magnolia foliage as a base, create a bundle that incorporates the seeded eucalyptus, leucadendron, hypericum, and Craspedia flowers. Make the bundles short and thick for a wider table, or make long thin bundles to fit a smaller table. Tie the stems together with florists wire ($3, Michaels). Repeat this process to create several bundles; for a 7-foot table, we created 10 medium-sized bundles.

securing stems with floral wire

Step 2: Attach bundles

When you've finished creating all your bundles, separate them into two equal piles. Lay out one pile of bundles, layering each bundle's leaves on top of the previous bundle's stems to create a full, leafy look. Attach each bundle to the next using more florists wire. Repeat this step for the second pile of bundles, so you're left with two halves of a garland. Lay the two garland pieces on the table so the stems face each other and meet in the middle, then use florists wire to secure the two halves together.

thanksgiving table with white napkins
Credit: Marty Baldwin

Step 3: Add embellishments

Add in single pieces of greenery or foliage to cover visible stems or wire; pay special attention to the middle of the garland where the two groupings of bundles meet. When the garland looks as desired, fill in with extra embellishments. We used cinnamon sticks ($5, Target) and clementines to add texture and color. When you're happy with the finished garland, set the table around the greenery. To make the garland really stand out on your table, opt for neutral holiday place settings.


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