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DIY: No-Sew Nursery Circle Garland

I’m 2 weeks away from going into labor with my 2nd child. The perfect time to do a DIY project for the baby’s nursery, right? I thought so too. I guess there’s some truth to the whole “nesting” thing. 

While I don’t have a ton of time for crafting, I wanted one thing in each of my children’s nurseries to be handmade. And since I had a big blank wall above my daughter’s crib, I created this gorgeous no-sew circle garland. 

Want to make one for your new arrival? Follow the steps below.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies:

  • 15 sheets of scrapbooking paper in various colors and patterns
  • 2 circle hole punches – I used the 2 in and 1.5 in sizes
  • 1 tree branch
  • 1 package of clear fishing line – I used 8lb, 250 yds
  • 1 square of sandpaper
  • 1 plastic drop cloth – I used 9 x 12 in size
  • 1 can of Rust-oleum Universal Advanced Formula Paint and Primer in One – I used Metallic Pure Gold
  • 1 mini glue gun
  • 1 package of mini glue sticks (you will go through a LOT of glue!)
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 self-healing cutting mat
  • 1 roll of Artist’s Tape (low-tack adhesive that can be removed without leaving a residue or damaging surfaces)
  • 1 tape measure
  • 1 package of picture hanger hooks – I used 50lb weight, based on the size of the opening I’d need for the width of my branch

Step 2: Sand and Clean Your Branch

My branch came in a package of 5 that I bought from Pier One a few years ago. They’ve been sitting in a vase in our living room, so I pulled the flattest branch to use for this project. You don’t want a curvy branch as it will be difficult to hang on the wall.

Whether you buy your tree branch or find one outside, give it a light sanding so the spray paint adheres better. Then, use a wet paper towel and a few spots of dish soap to clean your branch and remove any remaining dirt or dust from sanding. Wipe it down again with just a wet paper towel to remove the soap residue, and set it out in the Florida sunshine for about 15-20 minutes, or until it’s bone dry.

Step 3: Prep and Paint Your Branch

While your tree branch dries, set up your painting area. Spread the plastic drop cloth in your yard and secure it from blowing away in the wind with large rocks, bricks, shoes, your kid’s toys – anything heavy. If it’s something you don’t want to get painted, make sure to wrap part of the plastic over the object to protect it from overspray.

When your branch is dry, hold it over the drop cloth and spray a nice, even coat of paint about 6-8 inches away from the branch. Leave the end where you’re holding the branch unsprayed, you’ll catch that part with your second coat. Set the branch down on the drop cloth to dry. I did this on a windy day, so I put my son’s hockey stick over the unpainted end of the branch to keep it from flying away.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Then, pull the branch off the drop cloth to prevent it from sticking. Turn the branch to the other side, place it back on the drop cloth and set another 15-minute timer.

Apply your second coat of spray paint, holding the branch from the opposite end and starting with the unpainted end. Continue the process of checking and turning every 15 minutes for a half hour.

Once your second coat has dried, check your branch to see if there are any areas that need touching up. If so, shoot them with one more spray and repeat the 15-minute checking and turning process.

Once you’re satisfied with the way your branch looks, let it dry completely for 1 additional hour before you bring it in the house.

Step 4: Punch Your Circles

While your branch dries, gather your scrapbooking paper and punch your circles.

Money-saving tip: You could also use free paint chips from the hardware store or old holiday or birthday cards that match your nursery’s color scheme. 

It took me 2 hours to punch out all my circles, but it’s an easy task to do while watching TV. Or recruit older children to help and cut your punching time in half! My 3-year-old’s hands weren’t quite big enough to use even the small punch, so I was on my own.

Keep some scissors handy because after you punch a row of circles, you’ll need to cut the resulting holes away before you punch the next row.

I bought these Fiskars Squeeze Punches from Michael’s during a buy one, get one 50% off sale and I love them. They reduce the effort needed to punch and the resulting hand fatigue, making them 2x easier than the lever punches.

Money-saving tip: Make sure to visit Michael’s website to download coupons before buying any crafting items. Also, sign up for their email, so you’ll be notified when they’re having a sale on the things you might need for this project, like scrapbooking supplies.

Step 5: Measure Your Fishing Line

Figure out how high you want to hang your branch over your crib, changing table or another area of your nursery. Then, measure how long you want your garland to hang.

I cut 15 lines, each at 40 inches long. Make sure your total length includes an extra 6-8 inches that you’ll leave blank at the top of each garland to tie around the branch.

Step 6: Glue Your Circles to the Line

Watch this quick tutorial video, or follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Use two pieces of Artist’s Tape to secure a piece of fishing line to your cutting mat. Use one piece of tape at the top of the line, then a second piece 6-8 inches below (this reserves your tie-off area).

Select two circles of the same size and pattern. Draw a straight line of glue down the middle of the back of one circle. Place the fishing line in that glue line.

On your second circle, draw an S with the glue. Then place the second circle directly overtop of the first and press them together with your fingers to secure.

Repeat with additional circles, alternating between larger and smaller circles, until you reach the end of the fishing line. I used one box on my cutting mat (half an inch) as a spacer between each circle.

I also alternated starting each line with a larger circle and a smaller circle in order to have visual diversity.

This took up the bulk of my crafting time for this project. It didn’t help that I was 38 weeks pregnant, so I could only glue 3-4 lines before I needed to lay down and rest. After 4 nights I had all of the circles glued to the lines. It may take you more or less time, depending on how long you keep at it, how many lines you need to glue and how pregnant you are!

Step 7: Arrange Your Garland

Once I had all my circles glued, I hung my garland at eye level on a blank wall in my dining room. I alternated so one garland started with a large circle and the next started with a small circle and so on. Once I did that, I shuffled some of the garlands around so I didn’t have too many circles of the same pattern right next to each other.

Step 8: Tie Your Garland to the Branch

Once you’re happy with the order of your garland, start tying them onto your branch. The good old double knot method works just fine. Again, to create more of a waterfall effect, I tied the garland that started with the large circles closer to the branch and ones that started with the small circles further from the branch.

I’d recommend balancing the branch between two chairs so you can tie your lines in the middle. I sat on the floor and my husband handed me each garland to tie on. Then, he’d measure a distance of 3 inches from that garland with a tape measure and hand me the next one to tie. If you can’t tell already, I like things precise. But if you want to just eyeball it, you do you, mama.

Step 9: Make Final Adjustments

Once all the garland are tied to the branch, ensure they’re hanging at a length you like. I wanted the ends to be staggered – longer, shorter, longer, shorter – so I cut a few circles off here and there to achieve this look.

You may decide you want them all the same length or to fall in a V-shaped pattern. Once you’re happy with the look, trim any remaining length of blank line from the tops of the garlands.

Step 10: Hang Your Finished Garland

Use the claw end of your hammer to pry the hook end of your picture hangers open a bit more so your branch rests snugly inside.

Hold the branch in your hands and figure out the natural “hang” of the branch. You may find when you hold the branch with your fingers and let it go in your palms, it rolls to a different position. The way the branch naturally rests when you let it go is how you’ll want to hang it on the wall.

Next, find two or three points on the branch that make contact with your wall, when placed against it. This is where you’ll want to put your nails. Use pieces of your Artist’s Tape to mark these spots on your branch. 

Measure where these spots line up on your wall, and hammer in your nails. Rest the branch inside the pried-open, picture-hanging hooks.

Step 11: Stand Back and Admire Your Work

You did it, mama! You created a one-of-a-kind decoration for your baby’s nursery.

Feel free to modify this DIY tutorial however you see fit. Hang the branch by tying a ribbon to each end, then tying the two ribbons together in a bow to hang from a nail. Spray paint a yardstick or PVC pipe instead of a tree branch to hang your garland from.

Or skip the spray painting altogether and create just a few longer lines of garland to hang like a bunting. Use twine or thread instead of fishing line. Cut hearts, stars, flowers or animals instead of circles. Or use a combination of shapes that fit with your nursery’s theme.

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