Adding touches of Valentine décor around your home doesn’t have to be complicated or cheesy! With this simple –but completely adorable– DIY Valentine Garland tutorial you’ll have the sweetest Valentine message with the appeal of vintage charm!
When I was brainstorming new Valentine décor ideas and ways to add romantic, charming touches to our home this year, vintage books–and book pages– were one of the first things that came to mind. There’s something so nostalgic (and utterly charming) to me about vintage books. Just to think of the stories, not just within them, but the stories all the people who’ve read them. I love how the pages age with time — and how the covers become worn with age. Oftentimes when I go thrifting or antiquing, I keep my eyes peeled for charming books that aren’t too pricey. Keep yours eyes out, you can often find some for a few dollars! 😍
After adding a dose of vintage charm, I wanted to add a bit of glam. And, what’s more glamorous than Gold Leaf?! So for this tutorial, we’ll be using vintage book pages, stencils and gold leaf to create a this Valentine Garland! (I’m swooning already!🥰🥰)
But keep in mind, everything about this DIY Valentine Garland is customizable! If you’re not into gilding, there’s a type of ink that works beautifully with the stencils and comes in lots of shades called Gel Art Ink. (They have blue, gray, black, white, teal, red, and other colors!) And, although I’ve used the Valentine phrase, “Be Mine” in this tutorial, you could spell out other words or phrases on your garland. Wouldn’t this style of garland be beautiful to make for an anniversary or any other holiday garland? Or how about as a birthday banner?! That would be super Adorable!
Gather Your Supplies
First, you’ll want to gather your supplies. Here’s a quick look at the supplies we’ll need. You may already have some of the supplies on hand!
- Small Artist’s Brush
- Gilding Size
- Amy Howard at Home Gold Leaf
- Alphabet Stencils (Note: You’ll most likely need to get the A-M and N-Z sets, depending on what you plan to spell.)
- Vintage Book (You probably have some vintage books in storage somewhere, but incase you don’t, I’ll link some adorable books.)
- Heart Hole punch (optional)
- Paper trimmer (optional)
Cut out your Letter Stencils
The stencils I used for this DIY are adhesive stencils. I’d say these stencils are a bit of an investment, but I feel they’re totally worth it! Because they’re made from a triple mesh, they keep their shape so much better, let’s you get cleaner lines, and are overall more durable. And once you have this alphabet set, there are really endless DIY opportunities! (Just make sure when you order you get both the A- and the -Z set.) You don’t have to cut the letters out, but I find them much easier to work with that way. A great way to do that is to use a paper trimmer. This will allow you to get really straight lines. I actually didn’t think of that, until I got the paper trimmer to cut the book pages. So, I cut mine the old fashioned way — with a pair of scissors — and it still worked!
Cut your Book Pages to the desired shape
I decided I wanted to use a bunting flag style shape on mine, but you could also cut into a heart shape, or triangle shape, or do a full book page. Lay your chosen letter stencil over the book page, and center to your liking. If you’re cutting into a bunting shape, measure the width of the page and find the center. Then measure how far up you’d like the center point to come up. Then use your paper trimmer or scissors to cut to that point on both sides.
Apply the Gilding Size
First, line up your stencils from top to bottom and left to right just how you want them. With clean hands, rub over the stencil so that it adheres to the page.
NOTE: I’ve used the end of a paint brush to really press the stencil in, and that caused it to stick too much, causing the paper to tear. So I think using your hands/fingers is the best option.
Then shake up the gilding size, and paint it on with your paint brush. Allow the gilding size to come to tack. Tack is the point when it’s almost dry but still adhesive. The amount of time can vary depending on the humidity, but roughly about 10 minutes.
Bring on the Gold Leaf
Open up the book of gold leaf, trying to touch only the tissue paper parts. Turn back a tissue paper, so that the gold leaf page can be laid flat on your book page. By rubbing on the tissue paper, press the gold leaf into the gilding size that you stenciled on earlier. Rub and press it into the size, this will burnish the gold leaf into the paper. Then start to pull off some of the excess gold leaf. I like to start by pulling off as large of chunks that I can, so that I can save it and reuse on other projects. Then I come back with a dry chip brush (just a cheapy brush from the hardware store) and brush away the excess.
If you haven’t seen this done before, I know it may seem a bit confusing, so I’ll embed a short video of the process.
Adhere to the Twine
Next, I took my heart hole puncher, and punched holes at the top left and right sides. Then, I ran my twine through the holes of all the gilded book pages. Alternatively, you can run a line of glue at the top of a page, and glue the twine on each page.
Hang your DIY Valentine Garland
Here’s the best part! Decide where you want to display your darling book page banner! It would be adorable hung from a mantel or draped over a head board or hung wherever you gather for parties! What’s your go-to party place in your home?!
Today I decided to hang this over the large gilded mirror in our dining room for a whimsical touch to accompany our tablescape! And because I’m extra like that, I decided to separate my phrases onto two pieces of twine for a layered look!
Because I didn’t want to risk messing up the finish on the mirror, I hung it with removable glue dots. It’ll definitely depend on where you want to hang yours, but some other ideas are picture hooks, tacks, command hooks, or good old fashioned nails.
Now, I’d loooove to hear from You! What do you think of this Valentine’s day decor idea? And, what about the Gold Leaf?
Thanks so much for joining me today! I hope this gave you some inspiration to maybe learn something new or to add handcrafted items to your Valentine décor and/or to make your own DIY Valentine garland!