Wood bead garland is receiving a lot of love at the moment, and for good reason! It introduces texture and interest, but is neutral enough not to clutter your space. It's suitable decor for minimalists and maximailists alike! One way to update this trend is to play with scale and supersize your beads.
The beads on this large-scale garland are made from a wooden table leg and a wooden dowel. Each are easily sourced at the hardware store or anywhere you find small architectural salvage for sale. They are each then chopped into segments and strung with natural twine. It's a big style impact for under $20! For 36" long garland, you'll need the following materials:
- 21" pine table leg
- 1 ¼" cylindrical dowel
- ¼" diameter manila or sisal rope
- Rings or swivel eye quick snaps
- Chop saw
- Medium grit sandpaper
- Finish treatment (stain, Danish oil, and/or poly)
- Drill fitted with wood bit
Start by chopping the table leg into segments using the natural divisions as a guide. The pieces should be between one and two inches in length. The segments from the dowel rod are 1 1/2" deep. I used a miter saw for my cuts, but alternatively, you can use a handsaw. I was able to create 17 pieces from the table leg and 10 pieces from the dowel rod for my wood garland.
Drill a hole through each bead that matches the diameter of the rope. For soft woods such as pine, a paddle bit will work well. For harder woods, such as oak, you will probably need a brad point drill bit. There is good information about the different kinds of drill bits here.
Next, using the finish of your choice, give your beads a protective coating. These were treated with two applications of Danish oil. Poly, whitewashing, or chalk paints are also great finishing options.
Secure the end of your rope to a ring or hook. I liked the look of these snap hooks with a swivel eyes. Lay out your beads and plan the pattern for your garland then string them onto the rope. My sons had just returned from sailing camp, and were more than eager to offered to tie the knots for me.
Pick up a few supplies - or raid your scrap wood pile - and make your own oversized wood bead garland! Play with different materials and shapes. Consider knots between each bead. It's up to you. Your mantle (or baluster, or book shelf, or console table) will thank you for its new chunky, neutral "jewelry."