Thursday, December 10

How I Made 50' of Beaded Garland for Under $1!

Bead garland is one of my staple Christmas decorations. I can't get enough! But I know it can be pricey to buy up enough of it to really make an impact, let alone cover a single tree. In fact I spent several years slowly building a collection of red beads by purchasing a strand or two at a time during after-Christmas clearance sales. I even looked into buying beads to make my own garlands and couldn't find a way to do it that was cheaper than the Christmas clearance bins... until this summer when I stumbled across what might be the greatest bead garland hack of all time. 

It's true, guys - I made over 50' of DIY bead garland and spent less than $1.00 on the whole lot. Thanks to the magic of yard sales and a little creativity! 

So, yes, this project is pretty dependent on finding the right thing at a yard sale. But now you'll know what to look for - and you might just kick yourself for passing them up before! Ready to meet the bead garland game-changer?

It's an old-school beaded car seat cover. 

Are you surprised? I found it at a yard sale for $0.25 and while I waited to pay for it no less than three older ladies told me how comfortable it was going to be... and I was just standing there thinking to myself "SO MANY BEADS."

I took it home and cut it apart to get all those beads. It nearly filled two gallon bags!

Then I started stringing the beads onto, well, some string. I used a basic white cotton string that I had on hand from other projects (something like this, but I found it for just a couple dollars at Lowe's). It helps to wrap a bit of tape around the end of the string to keep it from unraveling (like the end of a shoelace). The tape makes it much easier to thread through the beads.

I kept adding beads until I had a strand about 10' long. Then I tied the ends of the string around the first and last beads to secure them, like this:

I repeated the process until I ran out of beads! I ended up with 50-60' of natural bead garland, and then strung the darker beads and got almost 20' of garland from those.

The hardest part was waiting until Christmas to put them up (yard sales were way back in the summer, after all)! 

Now you may be thinking "oh she switched from red beads to natural beads this year," but no. I put them all up. There's no such thing as too many beads, peeps.

Not a pinterest-worthy tree, but still my forever favorite. It's where we hang all our memory ornaments that we collect for the boys each year, along with the ornaments our parents had for us. Each one is so special!

And that's the story of how I got 50'+ of wood bead garland for under a dollar. For comparison - the cheapest I've seen similar garland this year is $6 for a 9' strand at Michael's (and that's already 50%, which is the same deal they'll give you after Christmas) which would cost $60+ for the same amount I made. 

Like all things home decor related, I never believe in "breaking the bank" or going in to debt. You can still have a beautiful home on a budget. If there's something you'd love for your home but just can't afford it then be patient, get creative, and keep an eye open. You never know what amazing solution will pop up!

 I'd love to hear your best Christmas decor hack! Let me know in the comments!

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