Favorite Christmas mantel decorating ideas!

It’s time to deck the halls and get ready for Christmas!  The tree has been up for a week with the lights on and still no ornaments.  But I did get the mantel decorated and wanted to share some of my favorite Christmas mantel decorating ideas with you!

Our mantel is pretty narrow so it has size limitations for what I can display on it.  And with a very high ceiling the decorations need to have graduated heights.

I started by painting a canvas with May Your Days be Merry & Bright featuring my favorite ampersand.  I projected the design onto a craft store canvas and painted it with acrylics.  If you like the design you can find the printable in the Christmas Art freebies.  The printable version is shown in red, green and black on a white background but you could paint a canvas in any colors you choose!

To achieve height I made a tree using a branch from the yard.  I dry brushed the bark with white acrylic to mimic white birch.  Then I drilled a hole in a block of wood to make a stand and added tiny glittered snowflake ornaments to give it sparkle!   The result is a very inexpensive touch of nature on the mantel.

Christmas mantle decorating ideas art design joy

The tree adds a winter forest backdrop for my favorite snowman.  I purchased it years ago and it isn’t Christmas until Frosty is smiling down from the mantel.

I love the added sparkle of white lights but I don’t have an electrical outlet on my mantel.  So another favorite Christmas mantel decorating idea is using tiny LED battery operated lights with a timer option.  I placed a set on both sides of the mantel and wound them through faux evergreen and pinecone garlands so it’s easy to hide the battery boxes!  I like the warm white LED lights since the bluish cast of the cool white doesn’t blend as well with the white and ivory shades in the room.

Combined with the glimmer of candlelight and a glowing fire, the twinkling lights give a warm glow to the mantel and to the room.  It always seems so dark in January when I take them down!

Christmas mantle trees art design joy

I leave the lanterns and the clock on the mantel year round and add the handmade Christmas trees and snow globe at Christmas.   The  Winter Wonderland snow globe project is easy to make for Christmas decorations or gifts.  And if you can’t find a globe the snowman can be displayed under a cloche!

 If you’d like the directions for the project check out the Make a Winter Snowman snow globe DIY.

The handmade Christmas trees are made by gluing printed paper designs onto inexpensive brown kraft paper trees.  I sealed the finished trees with Mod Podge and added a dusting of glitter.

Handmade Christmas trees Art Design Joy

If you’d like the black and white Christmas type and music I used on the trees the printables are available for download on my Handmade Christmas Trees DIY post.

Christmas mantle decorating ideas Art Design Joy

I took a photo of the finished mantel decorations and thought the right side of the hearth needed something a little more festive for celebrating the most wonderful time of the year!

I asked Rex to make a sign post for the hearth so I could display framed 8×10 inch prints that could be changed seasonally.   And I love how it turned out!

Christmas mantle decorating idea Art Design Joy

He used a wood baluster for the post and mounted it on a base that he framed with quarter round wood trim.  From there he added a wood crossbar and a decorative top framed with more trim.  The top piece is an iron finial from an old shepherd’s hook!  Artists never throw anything away and sometimes that comes in handy.

He added eye hooks and a short length of chain that he painted black to hold an 8 x 10 inch frame.  He finished the sign post with a combination of distressed black paint and natural wood.  After sanding the painted surfaces he applied Annie Sloan’s Dark Soft Wax and buffed it to give the wood a beautiful luster.

I added a print of It’s the most wonderful time of the year and for the finishing touch I wired on faux greens and pine cones.   Another favorite snowman sitting atop antique books adds a joyful touch!

If you like the Wonderful Time of the Year design, the printable is available for download in my newly opened Artdesignjoy Etsy shop!

Christmas mantle candles DIY ARt Design Joy

The other side of the hearth is home to my up-cycled candle holders. They’re made with antique balusters and if you’d like the instructions check out the Easy to make Candle holders post in year round DIY projects.  I use battery candles to be safe.  The new candles mimic the appearance of a flickering candle and look like the real thing.  Plus they come with a remote!

Christmas mantle stockings Art Design Joy

The last step is hanging the stockings and we’ll be ready for Santa!  I made a simple stocking from raw cotton duck canvas.  I had a roll of it in the studio but you can buy cotton duck fabric by the yard. I used pinking shears to cut out the stocking, penciled on a harlequin pattern and painted it with acrylics.  I used a flat blunt paintbrush and didn’t worry about perfect paint coverage as I liked the rustic look.  I sewed the pieces together with right sides out.

I used a striped cotton dish towel for the stocking cuffs and sewed a length of it onto the top edge.  I used the hemmed ends of the towel for the finished edge so it was very simple to do!  Any fabric would work, including the canvas.

The final touch was an initialed artist’s palette tag so Santa wouldn’t get confused!

A fun project for kids would be to make stockings and let them paint a design and add their names. It would make a wonderful keepsake!


 Christmas mantle snowman Art Design Joy

The mantle is decorated for Christmas and the stockings are hung with care.

 It’s time to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

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