I couldn’t resist taking the Holiday Mantel Challenge myself. And I don’t mean to brag — OK, maybe I do — but I bought every single item on my mantel, and it still cost less than $25. It may not be the prettiest or most glamorous mantel in this section, but it is the quirkiest, most whimsical and least expensive.
I’ll share my materials list and instructions in a minute. But first, I’d like to offer you an opportunity to win a prize by showing us pictures of your holiday mantel, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or New Year’s Eve.
Upload your photograph(s) to our Facebook page and the creator of the mantel (no cost limit) that gets the most “likes” before Dec. 10 will get the books “Vintage Made Modern” by Jennifer Casa and “DIY Wood Pallet Projects” by Karah Bunde. Also, the winning mantel will be published in an upcoming House + Home section. So be sure to let your Facebook friends know to vote!
Now, here is how I created my mantel. It’s an idea you can use to mark any occasion.
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The first seven items are $1 each from Dollar Tree store
Eight 5-by-7-inch picture frames with glass
One 8-by-11-inch picture frame with glass
Three glass votive candleholders
Two small jar candles
5-pack medium plastic ball ornaments
15-pack small ball ornaments
3-yard spool of wire-edged gold ribbon
(Note: I used paints I already own)
Three 2-ounce bottles acrylic craft paint in olive green, red and white ($1.49 each)
Rust-Oleum Metallic Silver Spray Paint
1. Go online and find an 8-by-11-inch vertical photograph of baby Jesus and print it. I found mine by Googling “Baby Jesus clipart free.”
2. Pop apart the picture frames. Whitewash the plastic frames by brushing white acrylic paint on them. Wait about 30 seconds, then wipe some, but not all, of the paint off with a paper towel.
3. Reverse paint one letter of “merry” and “mas” onto each piece of 5-by-7-inch glass using white paint. This way, when you flip the glass over — to what will now be the shiny right side — the letters will read properly.
4. After the white paint has dried, create a shadow effect on the letters by brushing a line of green paint onto the left and bottom sides of each letter. Paint red polka dots around each letter. Again, let paint dry.
5. Spray paint the painted side of the glass (I used silver, but use any colors you like), directly over the letters and dots, covering the entire surface.
6. Once the spray paint has dried, pop the letters back into the frames with the right side facing outward. Put baby Jesus in the bigger frame and line them up on your mantel in the right order to spell “M-E-R-R-Y” (photo of Jesus for Christ) “M-A-S.”
7. I put a couple of tree limbs from my yard behind the picture frames to add height, then scattered the candles, ornaments and ribbon among them.