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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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12 Days of Holiday Crafts, Day 9: Glass Garland Ornaments

 (Maggie Bullock)
(Maggie Bullock)

Last year I confessed my love of old glass bead garlands. I like to find them at garage sales or thrift stores. The colors are great, they come in all sizes, and they’re easy to repurpose. I can’t actually imagine untangling them each year to put on a tree, but I love using them for projects.

This year I made several swirly ornaments with blue and silver garland I bought at a garage sale this summer; I’ll be making more next year, I’m sure.

You will need:

  • glass bead garland in your favorite colors
  • wire (about 18-gauge works well)
  • wire cutters
  • needle-nose pliers
  • ornament hooks

Cut the strings on your garland (I chose silver and blue, but there are many fun garlands out there) and put the beads in bowls or muffin tins so they’re easily accessible while you work.

Cut a piece of wire about six inches long, and bend one end into a small circle with pliers to keep the beads in place as you string them. Bend the rest of the wire into a loose swirl (your fingers are the best tool for this).
String beads onto the wire until you have a nice looking swirl of glass beads, then trim the end of the wire to about ½” and curl the end tightly to prevent the beads from slipping off. This will be the loop for your ornament hook.

These ornaments are quite simple and come together very quickly. I’ve used a few on the tops of packages for friends, and have kept some for my own tree. Also a great project for kids to help with, or to work on with a group of friends.



Artist and crafter Maggie Wolcott writes about craft events in and around Spokane, as well as her own adventures in creating and repurposing. Her DwellWellNW posts include project and decorating ideas, recipes, reviews of events, and interviews with local artists. Maggie spends her days as an English professor, and when she’s not grading papers, she can generally be found with a paintbrush or scissors in hand. She can be reached at