Crafts for a Beautiful Christmas Mantel

fireplace with dangling tree trim and ribbonfireplace with dangling tree trim and ribbon
Dress your mantel in Christmas cheer with these easy and colorful crafts.

Wool Stockings with Glittery Stars

Adorn cream-color wool stockings with sparkling trims -- cardboard stars covered in German glass glitter give these classic stockings a perfect vintage feel along with mismatched buttons. Hang with a wide matching ribbon tied in a bow, stitched to the top left corner of the stocking.

Let It Snow

Put a little mod on your mantel with these funky snowballs. Poke toothpicks (flat-sided ones work best) into plastic-foam spheres, placing the picks as close together as possible. Cover the entire sphere. Spray-paint the whole sculpture white, then cover it with spray-on snow. Let dry. Use different-size foam balls to create a unique mantel display.

Editor's Tip: Make sure any lit candles are placed at a distance from the flammable snowballs. For safety, extinguish the flames when you leave the room.

Colorful Display

Splash your mantel with vibrant color. Start by wrapping three canvases with solid-color wrapping paper and tying them with bright ribbon and bows. Stack small wrapped gifts on the mantel, and add funky ornaments in a large glass vase and throughout the display. Finish the look with garland and stockings.

Carnation Wreaths

A bells of Ireland swag replaces the usual evergreen on this graphic mantel display. White pottery holds festive red and green ornaments, while vibrant red carnation wreaths add the finishing touch.

Color of the Season

Combine a DIY garland with an easy photo display and glass votives to make your mantel magical. To make the garland, simply string your favorite ornaments onto a length of ribbon. Use monofilament to tie them in place. Go to the next slide to see how to make the photo display.

Picture This

To make this pretty photo display, fill a clear glass canister with a variety of ornaments that coordinate with the garland (previous slide). Tuck a black-and-white photo (for contrast) between the ornaments and the glass. Set a container of candy canes nearby for a splash of red.

Party-Time Peppermint

A cohesive red-and-white color scheme pulls together glass vases filled with peppermints and simple white trees adorned with glass faux-candy ornaments.

Have a Ball

Top the mantel with a display of ball ornaments. Fill a glass cloche with a mass of similar orbs, or mix it up with a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Set a plate upside down on the opening of the filled cloche, turn it over, and place it on the mantel.

Starry Night

Group golden star tree toppers to make your mantel shine. If the stars have a tendency to tip, use pea-size balls of clear candleholder wax to hold them upright.

Mirror, Mirror

A mirror placed atop the mantel reflects the glow of candles in a grouping of hurricane glassware. Three glass ornaments dangle from the swag -- plumped up with bells of Ireland -- above the mirror.

Proclaim It

Turn your mantel into a holiday greeting. Trace large wooden letters onto scrapbooking paper. Cut out the shapes and use decoupage medium to adhere the papers to the wooden letters. For a bit of sparkle, apply another thin coat of decoupage medium to the letters and sprinkle with glitter.

Bejeweled Trees

Top your mantel with a forest of cranberry trees. Start with plastic-foam cones in varying heights, all with 4-inch-diameter bases. Insert a pearl-head pin through the center of a fresh cranberry and attach to the top of the cone. Pin additional cranberries in a circular pattern, alternating rows of cranberries with silver cord, until the cone is completely covered. Adhere the cording with dots of hot glue or pins. Plan for two bags of cranberries per tree.

Reindeer Games

Propped on the mantel, lively holiday pictures put the season in motion. A few snips and punches of paper are all it takes to replicate these prancing reindeer.

Music to the Eyes

Create a memorable garland by gluing snowflake ornaments to music CDs, then tying the ornaments along a strand of beaded garland.

Winter-White Mantel

Let the snow outside be the inspiration for a mantel awash in whites. All decked out with star-studded mini trees and boughs of faux-snow-covered greenery, the arrangement is complete with a pair of white ice skates.

Natural Beauty

Top the mantel with a weathered iron gate, and adorn the piece with a wreath of seeded eucalyptus and green hypericum berries.

Mitten Garland

Hang some mittens by the fireplace with care. Cut basic mitten shapes from felt, then use clothespins to clip them to twine strung from the mantel. Top the mantel with pinecones and whitewashed planters filled with moss for a bit of color and texture.

Star of the Show

Make your mantel a focal point by loading it with charming accents. Cover the mantel with pine garland and hurricanes filled with cranberries, ornaments, or candles -- or any combination of festive elements. For added dimension, hang glittered papier-mache stars (available at crafts stores) from the ceiling.

Photo Swap

Recall fond memories with photos of holidays past. Overlay a holiday or seasonal photo in front of an everyday framed photo. After the holidays, tuck it beneath the original to swap in front again again next season.

Trees for the Mantel

Small trees -- living, cut, or artificial -- make lovely mantel decorations. Place them in pretty pots or baskets lined with plastic. Decorate as desired or leave unadorned for a simple (yet elegant) look.

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