Luxe and Rustic Mantel Design by Amy Bell

christmas mantel design with fringe and feathers

Modern, traditional and homespun elements all coalesce in this rustic holiday mantel, which represents a fresh take on a mainstay of holiday decorating. By juxtaposing numerous textures and mediums, this mantel display imparts a luxe yet masculine feel to holiday décor. Rich earth tones coupled with on-trend metallic hues provide the palette for this mantelscape, which features a swag of fresh greenery as its backbone, peppered with natural pine cones woven grapevine balls. A set of faux antlers further enhances the natural feel of the display.

Browse through this photo gallery to see all the details of this mantel design, then read on for a few simple how-tos.

Taking center stage are three topiary trees, created using Styrofoam cone bases, assorted fringe trim, and wood finials.

topiary trees made from fringe

To create the topiaries, wrap small sections of fringe trim around the cone, starting at the bottom and working up. Affix the trim to the cone with floral pins as you work. If desired, alternate the trim color for a striped effect. Finish by pressing a wooden finial into the top of each cone, affixing the finial with hot glue for added durability.

topiary tree made with fringe

Flanking the topiaries are sequined decorative balls that mimic the natural beauty of iridescent Capiz shells.

decorative balls in shell and grapevine

To create the faux Capiz shell decorative balls, use dressmaker’s pins to affix 6-mm white sequins to 3-inch white Styrofoam balls. Start at the bottom center of the ball and work in concentric circles, overlapping the edges of the sequins as you work to conceal the pins. To finish, use hot glue to adhere a single sequin to the top center to conceal any remaining visible pins.

decorative balls made with faux Capiz shells

Rounding out the display are three mantel decorations crafted with handmade felt star ornaments and small grapevine wreaths. The ornaments spell out a word befitting of the season: Joy.

wreaths spelling JOY on christmas mantel

To create the felt ornaments, start by creating a 5 1/2-inch star template. Use the template to cut 2 star pieces for each ornament from wool felt, along with a 2-inch circle of wool felt in a contrasting color. Using an embroidery needle and floss, stitch the circle to the center of the front star piece with a running stitch. Use a stencil and a washable ink marker to trace the desired letter onto each circle, and then embroider the outline and center of the letter shape with a back-stitch and modified satin stitch. To finish, place the star front and back pieces together, wrong sides facing, and stitch together with a blanket stitch, leaving a small opening for filling. Fill with fiberfill, and stitch closed.

When the ornaments are complete, nestle each one at the center of a 6-inch grapevine wreath, and accent with a small sprig of greenery for a rustic, homespun look.

grapevine wreath and felt star ornament on mantel

Incorporating inexpensive natural elements with handmade items can breathe new life into holiday mantel displays. Take a detour from the holiday staples of red, green and gold this year by trying something modern and unexpected. You might find that branching out in your décor can impart a new, dynamic sensibility to your holiday traditions!

Meet Amy Bell: Amy is a mama of four, married to her high-school sweetheart, and creative enthusiast. Find more of Amy’s ideas and creations at Positively Splendid.

Brought to you by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, where ideas and inspiration come together for a Simply Creative Christmas.

12 Responses

  1. Charolette says:

    How ugly. Looks like a bird nested on the mantle. Not cool!!!!

  2. Kelly Smith Trimble says:

    Thanks for all your great comments about this mantel design! You can now see the winning mantel design and projects from all our fabulous designers from the Jo-Ann Blogger Challenge here on… and here:

  3. Sharon says:

    This is definitely my favorite , though there are elements in the others that appealed to me.

  4. Sandy says:

    The tassel trees and shell balls are fantastic. Plan to make a few myself now.

  5. Judy says:

    My choice – will be anxious to see which one is chosen.

  6. Sunday says:

    I love the color and movement in this design. It's comfortable and welcoming.

  7. Jill k says:

    Love it!

  8. Linda says:

    I admire her talent and for sharing it with us!! It comforts my heart…Thank you Amy!!

  9. Eileen says:

    Crisp and Clean…just love it!

  10. camilla says:

    beautiful! Clean and bright. Perfect.

  11. Kelly O. says:

    I love how over the top this mantel is! So full and a feast for the eyes! the tassel trees and the faux capize shell balls are my favourite!

  12. Kiki Bacaro says:

    ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!!


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