How to Decorate a Halloween Mantel (Tutorial)
Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments (both here and on Facebook and Twitter) about my Fall and Halloween Mantel. I'm so thrilled to share that my mantel was also featured on The Inspired Room and Carter's Cottage! Thank you, ladies!
Now, I'd like to say that I had a grand plan and knew exactly what I was going to do with the mantel, but that would be untrue. I didn't have a clue. I didn't even know if I could make a mantel that was worth sharing. I've only ever done one other one, you know. What I really did was just gather a lot of stuff together and sort of mush it around until I liked it.
I took a ton of pictures, so I thought you might like to see what I mean.
Here's what I started with. A blank bookcase in my master bedroom. (I promise I'll explain where that came from very soon!)
Knew I wanted a backdrop similar to the Faux Vintage Door I (well, Mr. Magpie) built and used on my Early Summer Mantel. As it turns out, when I built that, I built a smaller one first and decided it was too small! Luckily it fit perfectly here. I'll share more details on that soon.
The only other thing I knew I was going to use before I started was an old printer's type drawer that a friend gave me awhile back. I had been coveting one ever since I saw all the gorgeous mantels featuring printer's drawers over at My Blessed Life. You can see some of my favorites on my Mantels board on Pinterest.
Anyway, so I added my printer's drawer. I put it off to one side slightly, because I tend to like asymmetrical arrangements, and I read on an article on bhg.com years ago that if you make a sort of slope from one side to the other it looks good, so I try to do that.
The next thing decided was that I was going to need some kind of height. A stack of books was my first idea, but I didn't immediately have anything that jumped out at me (I know, despite standing in front of a full bookcase... go figure). But then I looked down and noticed my vintage blueish-tealish suitcase. It was an Etsy splurge a couple of years ago (only $12!), and it was sitting right next to the bookcase. (I've been trying to collect a stack of vintage luggage to put here by the bookcase, but so far I only have two pieces. So they sit there all lonely-like.)
I also had my box of Halloween decorations to sift through, and I started throwing a few things up there, too, to bring some splashes of color.
All the little pumpkins and the orange platter are things I bought at Goodwill several years ago for Fall/Halloween decorations. Most were only $.50 or $1. The white cabinet door was also sitting next to my bookcase, along with the rest of the little wall cabinet it goes with. The spot next to this bookcase is kind of a catch-all for unfinished projects.
I also had wanted to find my "Boo Banner," but I couldn't find it. I posted a tutorial for making a Boo Banner with free printable letters when I first made it, so I'll just have to make another one.
Meanwhile, the only garland-y type thing I had in my box of Halloween decorations was these pumpkin string lights, so I draped those across the panel background.
Okay, so far so good. It's starting to have a "look" that I'm digging. But the middle is a big hole, right? I need something there. Something with a bit of that blue color.
I remembered I used to have this great painting that I got at the Goodwill years ago. I wasn't sure I still had it, though, because I hadn't used it for years -- the last time was in Rocket Boy's mostly thrifted room from waaaay back when. (Of course none of those things are still in his room, but that's another post.)
Guess where I found it? Yep, next to the bookcase, in the lost project dumping ground. Thank goodness for my slight hoarding tendencies!
So, it looks nice, right? But I thought it looked... bare, or something. Needed more texture. So I added this great half-dried branch of pyracantha that a friend had given me the week before. I also added my recently redone mantel clock and moved everything around some.
Woah! Too much! But I really want to use everything. I don't have a mantel to put my mantel clock on right now! Maybe if I move it around a different way.
Yeah... still not working. Alright. Lose the mantel clock, and put the other things back where they were before.
Okay, I think this is the best option, but the branch is just too big. Maybe we should cut it down.
OH yes, that's better. Maybe a little more?
And that, my friends, is how you decorate a Fall-Slash-Halloween mantel when you have no idea what you're doing!
What about you? Did you decorate a mantel for the season? Did you wing it, or did you know what you were doing to do before you started?