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Looking for $20 Christmas mantel ideas? Here’s how to use what you have (with a few fun freebies!) to create a fun look.

I’ve always felt pressured to make my mantel look extra special at the holidays.

There are two problems with that.

One: I’m not a DIY kinda gal.  Being crafty just isn’t in my skill set.

And two: I hate to spend money!  It seems like you have to spend a fortune to create most of the beautiful looks you find on Pinterest.

None of that has changed.  But I still decided to set out to create a beautiful Christmas mantel for our home.

And I pulled it off for less than $20!

Not only did I manage to create it myself, but I also got the kids involved.

They loved creating the snowflakes!  

And I can’t believe that non-crafty me was able to pull this off so cheaply.  😉

Here’s How To Create Your Own $20 Christmas Mantel This Year!

Looking for simple Christmas mantel ideas you can DIY?  Here's how to decorate for Christmas on the cheap!

First: Find Your Focal Point

Begin with your biggest piece. 

You can hang it just above the mantel, or prop it up near the middle.

I chose to use a big red wreath I had on hand. 

If you don’t have a large wreath, a frame, chalkboard, picture, or sign to use, that’s ok.

You can buy a green wreath from a hardware store for less than $7.

And you wouldn’t believe the selection you can find at Dollar Tree these days!  You can probably find something pretty for just a buck.

Thrift stores are full of large pictures with wintery scenes.

Looking for simple Christmas mantel ideas you can DIY?  Here's how to decorate for Christmas on the cheap!

Words of Art

You can add artsy words for an easy and frugal way to get in the spirit. 

It’s no secret that that I love a good free printable. This time I chose this pretty option from Lolly Jane.

I also spelled out “Jolly” using my children’s blocks.  Children’s magnets would be another easy option.

Choose words that fits the season… and your mood!


My family had a lot of fun with this one!  We created our own snowflakes.

Here’s how we did this simple craft.

I got some crochet yarn and gathered school glue, wax paper, cardboard (a flattened cereal box is great), some water, a pan, straight pins, glitter (in whatever color you want your snowflakes to be), and a printable snowflake from What Mommy Does.

I poured half the bottle of glue into the tin at a time. 

We added a bit of water to make it easy to work with.

(We probably added too much water.  I’d stick with a dime sized drop of water in the middle of your glue.)

Stir it up.

Cut your yarn to different lengths.  You can work with one long string or several shorter strings.  I found that one long string held together better, but that can be tougher for young ones to work with.

Set down your cardboard on the table and lay the snowflake print out on top. 

Rip a sheet of wax paper to fit over the pattern. Pin this down with straight pins.

Now pull your string across the wax paper in the pattern you want it to dry in.  Be sure to overlap your string a few times so it will hold its shape once dry.

The middle of our snowflakes were weak, and we ended up using some tape to make them work.  Another idea would be to add some extra glue to the middle, straight from the bottle.

Immediately sprinkle on the glitter so it sticks.

Set each snowflake aside on wax paper.  Let it dry for 24 hours.

When totally dry, carefully peel your snowflake from the wax paper.  Be sure to hold it over another piece of wax paper or a pan to catch the extra glitter.

You can tape these up or hang them from string or fishing line to add to your decor.


You’ll want to choose two items of about the same height to frame either side of your mantel. 

I chose a basket I had in my kitchen. I put a flannel shirt in the bottom and clipped some branches from our pine tree to fill it.

On the other side, I borrowed a tall jar and filled it with ornaments in reds and golds.

Other options would be tall candles, mini Christmas trees, or pretty little shutters.  Use what you have on hand. Or create something using what you have.

Looking for simple Christmas mantel ideas you can DIY?  Here's how to decorate for Christmas on the cheap!


You can make any part of your home feel special by adding the warmth of light.  Add some battery operated tea candles in jars. Or a string of white lights.

Or both!

A shiny ornament will add to the reflection of the light and add to your look.

Finishing Touches

Sticking with what I had on hand, I chose a few more toys that seemed Christmasy. 

A green tractor with a red wagon fits the season. A couple of nutcrackers.

You could use old dolls, teddy bears, or whatever you have that is the right size and fits your color theme.


I used a cloth banner that I found at a craft sale for $3.  If you don’t come across an awesome deal like that, there are other options. 

You can find free printable banners

Or create a simple one from burlap or fabric scraps. 

Have your kids thread popcorn and cranberries or make a paper chain!

Create a Beautiful Christmas Mantel Under $20 This Year

Pull these ideas together and you’ll have a beautiful Christmas mantel at a bargain price.

Take a look around at items in your home that could take on a new meaning for Christmas.

What color do you like to use in your Christmas decorating?