DIY Thanksgiving Garland

I can hardly believe Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Time to take down your cobwebs and jack-o-lanterns and start busting out the stuffed turkeys and the little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers (you know the ones I’m talking about). So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have a really fun and easy DIY holiday decoration for you!


We recently had a cedar tree in our backyard removed. It was a sad day because I really liked the cedar tree, but it was leaning drastically into our neighbor’s yard and during thunderstorms I would constantly check on it half expecting it to have fallen over. So when they came to take it down, I asked to keep a large majority of the logs so that I could use them for DIY projects (obviously) and firewood. Cedar not only has a beautiful look with the red heartwood at the center, but it also smells amazing! I wanted to find a way to incorporate the cedar wood into holiday decor and thought garland would be perfect.


I grabbed a small-ish log and took it over to my miter saw. I set the angle to 50 degrees and cut 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices. Once I had the amount of wood slices I needed, I set them outside to dry out since the wood was still fresh.


After a couple of days, the cedar discs had dried out and were ready for sanding. I sanded the faces and removed any loose bark (cedar bark is kind of flaky) and took them inside to get to the fun part.


Last year I purchased a wood burning tool for a couple of my DIY Christmas gifts and it has taken my gift giving to a new level! Basically, if you are getting a wood gift from me, its going to be personalized. It takes any practical gift and makes it so much more fun and personal. I’ve burned patterns, monograms, last names, and quotes into basically all forms of wood home goods and they are always a hit. Trust me, you want one of these bad boys. So just head on over to Michaels with your 50% off coupon and pick one of these up before Christmas.


I sketched out a letter on each disc and lined them up to make sure that they were all about even, and then got to burning. I burned “thankful” for one and “gather” for the other. Just a little tip though, the tool gets really hot on the plastic part that you hold and it can get pretty uncomfortable. I’m not sure if its just the tool I have or what, but you might need to take a couple breaks to keep your fingers happy. If, on the minuscule chance that there are any wood-burning tool companies reading this, a silicone sleeve for the tool handle would be great.


Once I finished wood burning (which, fun fact, is called pyrography), I drilled 2 holes in the tops so that I could string the twine through while keeping the discs facing forward when they hung. I kind of just eyeballed this part and just tried to keep the hole spacing consistent.


I think you might see where this is going…  Next step is looping some twine through the holes. I looped the twine from back to front first so that it almost makes the wood look stitched together. I also had a couple baby pine cones that I tied to each side because nothing screams fall like pine cones, amirite?


Now hang it up, open the windows, let the crisp cool air give you some goosebumps and take in all of the magic of fall! As a side note- yes, a previous owner of this house did think it was a good idea to “yellow-wash” the stone on the fireplace and no, we don’t plan on keeping it this way. This is just another project for another day so stay tuned for that. But how cute is this Garland?! Looking at this once I finished (hindsight is 20/20 and all), I think a type of wood that doesn’t have a different color heartwood might be better suited for this project just so that the letters can really pop and are a little more legible. But I’m workin’ with what I’ve got!


So with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I can’t help thinking about all of things I am thankful for. I am thankful for my family, a place to live and an awesome husband who supports me in all of my endeavors (and puts up with all of my “in progress” DIY projects scattered throughout the house). What are you guys thankful for? I would love to hear about it in the comments!



2 comments Add yours
  1. Rustic wood couldn’t be more complementary to fall decor. Thank you for this brilliant craft as well as the easy-to-follow tutorial on how I can make one myself. I, too, am thankful for a husband who embraces my many half-completed projects lying around the house in plain view. This was a pleasure to read, I appreciate your familiar tone. Keep up the good work!

  2. I love the way this wood looks! I understand what you mean about the attention the brightly colored wood grain draws away from the lettering popping, but I just love that wood! I’d be happy just stringing the wood with pinecones for a garland or tablescape.
    Do you take orders?

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