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Pipe Cleaner Craft: Christmas Garland Tutorial

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Here's a great pipe cleaner craft for Christmas! This retro Christmas garland was inspired by a real one from the 1950s that I once had in the vintage Christmas collection in the shop.  What I loved about that vintage chain garland was the kitschy combination of colorful glass beads and the sort of quaint, kids-craft appeal of pipe cleaners.  For this project, I really recommend getting some real pipe cleaners - the kind that are actually made for cleaning pipes, not the kind from the craft store. In the 1940s and 50s crafts were often made from these super soft chenille pipe cleaners, and they are often a bit skinnier too, which makes threading the beads simple as pie.  The ones I'm using here I sell in my shop in bundles of 50, and they have that really nice retro look.  

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Vintage mercury glass beads come in several sizes, so you'll want to find some that have holes big enough for the pipe cleaners to fit through, but not so big that they slide around.  This is a great project for broken or too-short strands of beads.  You can get some good deals for these online, and in antique stores around the holidays.  To fit my pipe cleaners I'm using beads that are about 5/16 inch in diameter.  Most of the holes are just big enough to slide onto the pipe cleaners, a handful were a bit too snug.  I'm using 3 colors in this chain: aqua, gold, and cranberry.

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Materials needed:

  • 50 Pipe cleaners 6 inches in length, or cut to 6" lengths. (50 - 6 inch pipe cleaners will make a chain that's about 10 feet long.)
  • Approximately 200 mercury glass beads

Step 1: Select 4 beads, and thread them onto the pipe cleaner, spacing them evenly.

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial 

Do the same thing with all of the pipe cleaners.  This is a good project to do while watching White Christmas.

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Step 2: To make a link, bend a pipe cleaner into a U shape.

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Cross the ends about 1/2 inch in, and twist the ends tightly against the loop.

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Adjust it if necessary so that it forms a nice even oval shape. 

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Step 3: To add a link, make the U shape, and slide on a completed link before twisting the ends.

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Keep going!

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

When you're done you can hang it up on the Christmas tree, across a mirror, or in an archway.

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

Gotta love that shimmery retro color! And so fun to make.

 

Pipe Cleaner Craft: Retro Christmas Garland Tutorial

As always, if you love it, share it!

 

1 comment

  • Betty: May 08, 2017

    Wonderful project for my granddaughter and me. She and I both have a love of making crafts. I am so glad that she has developed this interest from helping me with my many projects through the years and she is only 10 years old this year.

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