How to Make a Fabric Garland (Cheerful Holiday Decor)

Fabric garland wrapped around the handle of a vintage toolbox containing white roses.

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.

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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.

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

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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.

  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).

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  7. Tighten knot

    Pull the string to tighten the knot.

  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.

  9. Place fabric face down

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

  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.

  11. Finger press fold

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

  12. Place folded fabric strip under string

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

  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.

  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.

  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.

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:

  • Hang the garland on your fireplace or, if you made it long enough around a Christmas tree.

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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