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How to Make a Fabric Garland (Cheerful Holiday Decor)

Learn to make a fabric garland for the holidays. This DIY project is an easy way to make cheerful and colorful decorations for your home.

Fabric garland decorating a mantel with glass Christmas trees.

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How Do You Make a Garland Out of Fabric Strips?

It’s easy! In a nutshell, you simply select your fabric, cut the fabric into strips, and tie the strips to a string with a simple knot. No sewing machine needed!

Selecting the Fabric

The best part of this project (for me at least) is selecting the material. I have so much fun wandering around the fabric section of JOANNs thinking of ways to combine and use various fabrics for upcoming projects (which may explain the growing stash of fabric in my house!).

For this Christmas garland I used 5 different fabrics. I selected these five by mixing and matching various fabrics from JOANN’s seasonal collection until I found the right combination. The combination consisted of a main festive print, two with different patterns (one with horizontal stripes and one diagonal stripes), and two solids. I also decided on a red and green color scheme.

I bought 1/2 yard of each fabric (the bolts were 44″ wide). After completing the project, I found out that I only needed 1/3 yard of each one (based on a 48″ garland consisting of 180 2″ by 6″ strips).

Cutting the Fabric

The next step is to cut the fabric. You can use scissors, pinking shears or a rotary cutter. I used my pinking shears. Pinking shears have serrated teeth that cut a sawtooth pattern in the fabric that helps minimize fraying. The zig-zag pattern on the edges also adds additional texture to garland.

Close up view of colorful fabric strips from a fabric garland.

Tying the Fabric to String

The final step is to tie each piece of fabric to a string using a single knot. Jute twine from the Dollar Tree worked great for this project.

Since I planned to wrap the base of a tiered tray with this garland, I only needed to make it about 48″ long. I cut a piece of twine slightly longer than the length of my finished project so I could form loops on the ends for hanging the garland.

Then I formed a simple overhand knot to tie the fabric to the twine. This is the basic knot we use when tying our shoelaces.

Instructions for Making a DIY Fabric Garland

Here’s What I Used

Supplies for making a fabric garland (rotary cutter, pinking shears, jute twine, selection of complementary fabrics, ruler, and a cutting mat)

Contains affiliate links

Materials

  • Twine
  • Fabric

Tools

Project Steps

Time needed: 2 hours.

How to Make a Fabric Garland

  1. Select Fabric

    Find 5 different fabrics with complimentary colors and patterns. Mix solids, stripes, and a festive holiday pattern in coordinating colors.

    The amount of fabric depends on the desired length of your garland. For each of the 5 fabrics, I used 1/3 of a yard of 44″ wide cloth to make a 48″ garland.

    Jute cord and five pieces of Christmas fabric to be used to make a fabric garland.

  2. Cut fabric into 2″ wide strips

    Fold the fabric in half twice to minimize the number of cuts you need to make. Cut all 5 pieces of the fabric into 2″ wide strips using pinking shears (or, if you prefer, a rotary cutter or scissors).

    Pinking shears cutting 2 inch strip of fabric for a rag garland.

  3. Trim ends off the 2 inch strips


    Cut off the selvage (the end of the strip). The selvage (or selvedge) is the finished edge of the fabric.

    Pinking shears cutting selvage edge from fabric.

  4. Divide strips into 2″ x 6″ rectangles

    Further cut the strips into 6” sections. You’ll be creating 2” by 6” rectangles. Repeat for all your fabric pieces. For my project, I cut over 180 rectangles.

    Hands using pinking shears to cut a 6" strip of fabric for a rag wreath.

  5. Cut twine

    Cut the piece of twine about 10″ longer than the intended length of the final garland. For instance, I cut a 58″ piece of twine for my 48″ garland.

    Cutting a length of twine from a roll to form a fabric garland.

  6. Tie loops at the end of the twine

    Form a loop with a few inches twine at the end of the string. Tie it into a knot. You want to create this 1-2 inch loop after the knot so that you can use it to hang your garland.

    Hands forming an overhand knot in a piece of twine to form a loop for hanging the fabric garland.

  7. Tighten knot

    Pull the string to tighten the knot.

    Hands tightening a knot in the end of a length of twine. This forms a loop for hanging a fabric wreath.

  8. Trim excess string

    After tying the knot, you’ll have two pieces of string. A short one and a long one. Cut off the short tail at the base of the knot. You only want a loop remaining after the knot at the end of the garland. However, don’t accidentally cut the long string (you need that for the garland).

    After completing the first knot, repeat these steps to form another knotted loop at the other end of the string. Now you have two loops for hanging the garland.

    Scissors cutting the end off a piece of twine.

  9. Place fabric face down

    Take one of the fabric rectangles and put the good side of the fabric face down on your table.

    Hand putting a 6" by 2" fabric rectangle face down on a cutting mat for using in making a rag garland.

  10. Fold in half

    For the fabric rectangle in half length-wise with the bad side facing in and the right side of the fabric facing out.

    Hands folding a strip of fabric in half lengthwise with the good side facing out for use in making a fabric garland.

  11. Finger press fold

    To help keep the fabric folded, press along the length of the fold with your finger or fingernail.

    Using a thumbnail to crease the entire length of a fold on a folded fabric strip.

  12. Place folded fabric strip under string

    Take the folded strip and place it under the string near the knot.

    Hands tying a folded piece of fabric to a string to make a fabric garland.

  13. Tie fabric into knot

    Wrap the fabric strip around the string and tie it into a simple overhead knot (the knot you use to tie your shoes). Pull on fabrics ends to tighten the knot. Push the knotted fabric up next to the knot in the twine.

    Hand tying a strip of fabric into a knot over a length of twine to form a fabric garland.

  14. Fold and tie remaining strips to string

    Take another piece of fabric, fold in half and finger press, tie it to the string, and push it up next to the previous piece of fabric.

    Continue tying fabric the rest of the way down the string until you’ve covered the entire length of the garland with fabric. I tied on the strips in the same order in a repeating pattern.

    If you run out of fabric before you reach the end of your string, you can form a new knotted loop to shorten the string. You can also create a little more space between the fabric knots instead of snugging them up closely together.

    Starting a fabric garland by tying strips of fabric to a length of twine.

  15. Fluff the fabric garland

    After string is covered in fabric strips, twist the ends around the string so that they stick out in different directions. Use your fingers to fluff the fabric and give the garland more volume.

    Hands separating fabric strips tied to a string to make the garland more full.

Display Your Garland

A fabric garland is a perfect addition to your holiday decorations. There are so many different ways you can display your garland. For example:

Fabric garland wrapped around the handle of a vintage toolbox containing white roses.
Holiday jars
  • Hang the garland on your fireplace or, if you made it long enough around a Christmas tree.
Fabric garland decorating a mantel with three glass Christmas trees.

You can use a similar process to make a fabric wreath too. See how easy it is to make a rag wreaths in this post.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you make a farmhouse rag Garland?

Pick out your fabric, cut the fabric into strips, and tie the fabric pieces to a string with a simple knot. Select a bunch of fabric with different patterns and colors that complement one another.

How much fabric do I need for a fabric garland?

The amount of fabric depends on the overall length of your desired garland and the length of ties on the string. For my 48″ garland, I used 5 different pieces of fabric. Each piece was 1/3 of a yard of 44″ wide cloth. I cut this into about 180 2″ by 6″ strips.

How do you make fabric strips?

Determine the desired width and length of your fabric strips. You can cut the strips from new fabric from a craft store, fabric you have around the house, linens from a thrift store, or even old clothes. As an alternative, you can use ribbons. Folding a 2″ wide piece of fabric in half to make a 1″ strip works will on a garland.

How do you cut fabric strips for Garland?

You can use scissors, pinking shears or a rotary cutter. Pinking shears have serrated teeth that cut a zig zag pattern in the fabric that helps minimize fraying and adds a nice detail to the cut fabric.

What kind of string is used for garland?

Jute twine, cotton string, yarn fishing wire, and macrame cord can be used for to make a fabric garland.

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How have you used a hand-tied fabric garland to decorate for the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!

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