Paper Leaf + Mandarin Garland

When I think of the holiday season, I always envision luscious garlands draped across doorways and railings. I’ve long wished for a railing of my own to decorate for the season, and this year is the first time my dream has come true! I knew I wanted to use a garland on my railing, but I wanted to depart from the traditional fresh or faux greenery look.

After my experience with crepe paper for my Halloween costume, I was inspired to work with the multi-purpose material again. This time around I’m making a white paper leaf garland and adding a pop of natural color with dangling mandarin slices.

DIY holiday garland

We partnered with Wonderful Halos on this project to show you how quick and easy it is to fashion your own inexpensive holiday garland, using the fresh and natural addition of mandarins to brighten your home with its color and scent.

We’ve done several crafts featuring these adorable mandarins- be sure to check these out!

DIY holiday garlanddried citrus garlandSupplies:
Wonderful Halos mandarins
white crepe paper (I used two packages)
brown paper-wrapped wire (20 gauge)
hot glue gun + extra hot glue sticks
spool of fishing line or jewelry wire 
wire cutters

dried citrus garlandMake the Citrus Slices

Cut your mandarins into slices around 1/8″ thick. You may choose to lay the slices flat and air dry for a few days, or dry in the oven. My mandarins end up much flatter (less curly-edged) when I air dry them, but it does take a bit more time, of course.

If drying your mandarins in the oven, set the temperature for 200 degrees Fahrenheit, line a tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and place in the oven for 2-3 hours, depending on how thick your slices are. Turn the mandarin slices every 30 minutes or so to aid the drying process.

white paper leaf garlandMake the Paper Leaf Garland

The paper leaf garland was super quick and easy to make—I know I’ll be whipping these up again for parties and other seasonal decorations!

Step One: Accordion fold your crepe paper to create 6 layers of paper. Keep the width of your fold no more than 4″. Once you have 6 layers of paper, fold the layers in half as shown above.

white paper leaf garlandStep Two: Cut out leaf shapes from the layered crepe paper, making the center of the leaf at the bend of your layered crepe paper. I created a variety of leaf shapes and sizes, but made sure not to make leaves wider than 4″ to keep them from being too floppy.

white paper leaf garlandStep Three: Cut your long wire pieces into thirds. This doesn’t need to be exact, but try to keep them somewhat consistent.

Step Four: Use a hot glue gun to attach the wire segments to the leaves. Once the glue is on the crepe paper, pinch the paper around the wire and hold for a couple of seconds to set the glue.

white paper leaf garlandStep Five: Twist together the wires of the individual leaves to create a long garland. I varied the placement of different leaf shapes to create a more organic feel.

After hanging the garland, you’ll want to pull open the leaves and shape them so they fill out the area.

white paper leaf garlandStep 6: Use wire or string to hang your garland where you wish to display it. At the peaks of the garland, I strung together a series of dried mandarin slices to dangle down. It would also look so pretty to layer a garland of dried mandarin slices atop the paper leaf garland!

DIY holiday garlandHave you ever made dried citrus slices in your home? The smell of them drying out was so divine— I look forward to crafting with dried citrus every year, and was so happy to see how well the Wonderful Halos mandarin slices worked out for this! They’re the perfect petite size for this project. – Mandi

Looking for more garland DIYs? Check out more here!

Credits: Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
    • I laced the jewelry wire through the front/back of each slice. That keeps all of the slices facing out, rather than twisting and turning.

    • I just slipped the jewelry wire through the face of the mandarin— sort of like lacing a shoe. Does that make sense?

    • I laced the jewelry wire through the front/back of each slice. That keeps all of the slices facing out, rather than twisting and turning, which has happened in the past when I tied string to each slice.

  • This looks so good!! I love the white and orange theme 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Kinda wishing I had a staircase to decorate now! I love the white paper leaves. So whimsical! 🙂 ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • I wonder if you could put a cookie sheet on top of the mandarin slices to keep them flat. ???? This is beautiful either way though! I can see the mandarin slices looking beautiful for thanksgiving or Halloween too.

    • I did try that after removing them from the oven. I think it helped a tiny bit! But I couldn’t do it while they were in there, because the air needs to circulate.

  • Oh it looks so beautiful! And I bet it smells divine too!
    Debs @

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