DIY Christmas Swag & Planters from Foraged Greens

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” Now that I have that stuck in your head, let’s talk about our Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION time. The last Tuesday of each month I take you on a journey with the intent to inspire. Today, I’m getting the holiday spirit rolling with a DIY Christmas swag and planters (1) created on a budget (2) super easy (3) and perfect for the entire winter season. (not just Christmas)

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces in her Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION series upcycling a flannel shirt for Christmas Decor | #prodigalpieces

In order to do that, I’m making use of this super cozy, yet worn out flannel shirt. Don’t you just love a worn flannel? mmm…so soft.

Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION series hosted by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Come learn to create for you and your home | #prodigalpieces

One things that frustrates me this time of year is seeing folks worry about affording decorations for their home. Truly, there is no need as nature provides so many things we can make use of. Yes, I realize not all of us live in parts where fresh foraging is possible. However, there are nurseries, tree trimming companies, landscapers that have more fresh “waste” than they know what to do with. All you have to do is ask.


Even I don’t own enough property to forage what I need. But…I have friends and family that do and are more than eager to allow me to come have fun. What a blessing!

I’m on an adventure today to show you how easy it can be to create a DIY Christmas swag and have enough to fill planters and window boxes. Here at my parent’s house they have oodles of trees. However, only a few pine that I could pull from. Thankfully, that’s all I need. I’ve created a video tutorial down below of my fun , as well as the steps to put this all together. Also, I’ve outlined the steps here for you too.

Lake View for Foraging Fresh Greens |

Isn’t their view gorgeous? Sigh…one day I will be back in the country.


First, my kids and I head out to see what we can find. Anything is fair game…evergreens, dried seed pods, branches, etc.

Nature Walk with my girls |

The one thing I want to caution you on is birds’ nests. They are not for the taking and it is actually illegal to remove them. They are beautiful, but let our winged friends have use of them. (my PSA for the day)

Leave birds' nests be in the wild. |

*post includes affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

I explain in my video about how to select branches that will not harm, but benefit the tree. I’m snipping a few dense patches from this cultivated variety of tree my parent’s planted for privacy. The swooping soft branches will make great fill. Use a pair of loppers  or a pole saw for making the easiest cuts for you and the tree.

Foraging Fresh Greens and Dry Pods for DIY Christmas Swag and Planters |

In addition, I snip 2 or 3 branches off this gorgeous white pine. Their broom-like bristles as wonderful texture to an arrangement.

White Pine Tree at Lake for DIY Christmas Swag & Planters |

The highlight of the foraging was when I spied bittersweet in the brush. Score!! Those cheery bright red berries will be just the color pop I need.

Harvesting Bittersweet from Brush for DIY Christmas Swag & Planters |

After a short bit of time, here is what we harvested. Plenty for a swag, two planters, and a couple of window boxes. There’s about 3 branches of each, including a flowering tree with white berries too.

Fresh Foraged Botanicals to Create a DIY Christmas Swag and fill for Planters and Window Boxes |


Once you have everything cut, it’s time to add Wilt Stop. This is a treatment for fresh cuts (including your Christmas tree), transplants, or as preventative for winter burn, sun scald, and the like. It will allow your fresh cuts to stay fresh longer and help prevent drying out.

Use Wilt Stop to Treat your Fresh Foraged Cuts and Christmas Tree for Longevity |

You can buy it in spray bottle form, or like I have here, a concentrate. Just mix up and spray. The cuts will stay supple and retain color longer.


Now for assembly time. What you see here is:

DIY Christmas Swag Supplies & Tools | #prodigalpieces

First, begin turning on some Christmas music. (you know you have to. tsk.) Then, spray paint that stir stick with the black paint. Let it dry, then use a ½” drill bit and drill to make a hole at the top. You could skip drilling and just glue it on, but this is a more secure way to start.

DIY Christmas Swag Supplies Pre-Assembly |


Next, we are going to snip off a few branches and wrap the cut end in wire. I like to wrap the branch, then attach it, but you can just wrap it on the stick too. Also, be sure the wire is twisted to the front so that no poky wires will scratch your door or wall when hung. (see video for example.)

How to Assembles a Fresh Foraged Christmas Swag by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

I like to begin by layering my heavier branches first. First one down the center, then the rest going off slightly to the left and right up the stick. Then, once I’m satisfied with my base, I like to start adding the lighter branches like the cultivated evergreen and the bushy white pine using my glue gun and hot glue. My video shows this best.

Foraged Greens on DIY Christmas Swag Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces


Then, once I like what I see, I begin to add in extra elements. The sky’s the limit on this one. For my DIY Christmas swag, I want to keep it rustic and simple. In addition to the evergreens, I add in some bittersweet and those “eyeball” berries I mentioned in my video. tee hee. I have to have something looking out for me.

Bittersweet Berries for Color Pop in DIY Christmas Swag by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

Is this not the happiest mess ever? Sigh…the sight, the smell, and having my kids around to join in the fun. Blessings!

Assembled Christmas Tree Swag Before Bow by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

At this point I like to stop adding until I’ve looked at it with the final accessories.


Before signing off on this project, it’s time to add a bow. You can go as BIG or little on this as you like. My own personal favorite is a simple, rustic bow. For some reason I have a scene stuck in my mind that I haven’t viewed for quite some time. It’s in the movie Little Women where the mother is adjusting the bow on their front door swag. Simple and so perfect.

First, to make that bow, we are going to cut up that beloved flannel shirt. {{gasp}} Take a deep breath and have at it because it will pay off. Trust me.

  1. Cut off the sleeves, collar, and front panels. Then, cut the back into strips. Save the buttons (see our button art tutorial HERE), save the pocket, and, of course, save the scraps for later. See video for details.
  2. Sew 2 or 3 strips together on short ends for a bow. Sew a second set of 2 for the hanger. You can use a needle and thread or a machine. I would avoid glue as this will be our weight-bearing hanger too.
  3. Now we have our bow strip and our hanger strip. Time to assemble.

Cutting Old Flannel Shirt to make DIY Christmas Swag | #prodigalpieces #diy #christmas #nordic #farmhouse


Time to tie it up.

  1. First, find center and hold it loosely.
  2. Second, make two “rabbit ear” loops on either side of center.
  3. Third, tie a simple over-and-under bow like you are tying your shoes.

Tying a Simple, Nordic, Farmhouse Bow made from an upcycled flannel shirt | #prodigalpieces

I wanted to have long, trailing ends that add drama. If you fold the ends in half lengthwise, cut starting at the outer corner up at a 45° angle to the folded side to get a triangular notch.

Setting up the bow for a dry fit and placement test is always a good idea. This helps me create balance and placement of my pinecones. Last, thread your other stitched flannel pieces through the hole in the stir stick.

Flannel Bow Placement on DIY Christmas Swag | Video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |


Hang time! In my video I demonstrate how I use an upside-down Command Hook on the back of my door to hang the swag from. I have used this for years as those metal or plastic over-the-door hooks damaged my doors. This makes it easy and is versatile too.

Command Hook Upside Down for Front Door Wreath Hanging | #prodigalpieces

With my helper (aka. daughter), we find placement and then I cut notches through both pieces of the flannel tie and hang. For longevity, I also take down the swag for a minute and put a bead of hot glue around my cut so it prevents fraying. Again, the video demonstrates this.


Last, but not least, I take my leftover cuttings and fill my window boxes and my two planters (DIY build plans for those HERE)

Farmhouse Christmas Front Door Decor with DIY Swag, Window Box, and Planter Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #farmhouse #diy #christmas #home #homedecor #nordic #fresh

Farmhouse Christmas Entry with Video Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #christmas #farmhouse #home #homedecor #holiday

Subscribe to Prodigal Pieces on YouTube for DIY video tutorials and a whole lotta fun |

Do you love it? I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. It cost little to nothing to create, got me outdoors with my family, and created the simple Christmas decor I so adore.

DIY Foraged Fresh Planter for Christmas Decor by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #home #christmas #homedecor #holiday #nordic

Rustic Farmhouse Christmas Planter from Fresh Foraged Greens & Berries by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #christmas #home #diy #farmhouse #garden #homedecor #holiday #winter

Rustic Farmhouse Christmas Planter with Fresh Foraged Greens | Video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #christmas #garden #home #homedecor #diy

Oh, and did I mention the scent? mmm…heavenly! Pine goodness all in one place to greet your family and friends. Like a Christmas hug.

Rustic DIY Christmas Swag from Fresh Foraged Greens | Video Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #christmas #nordic #farmhouse #home #holiday #homedecor

Welcome Home Farmhouse Christmas with DIY Swag, Flowerboxes, and Planters Filled with Foraged Greens | Affordable Christmas Decor | Video Tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #christmas #nordic #farmhouse #home #holiday #homedecor

And then there’s my sassy girl, Lily, who just had to be front and center. She believes she’s the true star of the show.

Farmhouse Christmas Front Door with Fresh Greens and Calico Cat | by Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #entry #home #christmas #diy #homedecor #farmhouse #nordic #pets

Rustic Farmhouse Christmas Swag Tutorial with Window Boxes & Planter Ideas too | Video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #diy #christmas #home #nordic #farmhouse #homedecor

Got questions? Please feel free to ask. I know many are afraid to try DIY, but this project couldn’t be any simpler. If you mess up, it’s forgiving, just start over. I’m eager to help!

Also, pin and share this DIY Christmas and swag & planter tutorial. So many think they have to fork out dough for box-store goods when nature’s already provided it all.

Skip the box store and head out to forage your own greens to create this DIY Christmas swag & planters. It's easy, affordable and fun! Video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at #prodigalpieces #diy #christmas #video #home #homedecor #holiday #budgetfriendly #nordic #farmhouse

Up next, this sweet little vanity set will be receiving a makeover. Head HERE for the reveal.

Girl's Vanity Table Set Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces |

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, more holiday projects like my DIY Christmas swag:

So cute! Who knew a set of old wooden salad bowls could look so whimsical as repurposed Christmas trees? See how Larissa of Prodigal Pieces did it here at prodigalpieces.comCreate a rustic repurposed log reindeer in a few simple steps following this DIY tutorial by Prodigal Pieces |

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  • Judy Newell

    Love the fresh cut decor. Where did you buy the Wilt Stop? We can definitely use that here in TX.

    November 26, 2019 at 8:47 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Judy. I have the text link in my post as well as a picture link to it in my post too. I’ll add the link here – CLICK HERE.

      November 26, 2019 at 9:16 am Reply
  • Marie

    Love that you foraged the evergreens for your door swag and planters – they all look so festive and pretty! Great door hanging tip too!

    November 26, 2019 at 10:56 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You know I miss my great outdoors. This felt so good. Thank you, Marie. Merry Christmas season!

      November 26, 2019 at 12:40 pm Reply
  • Lorene

    That is adorable!

    November 26, 2019 at 12:56 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Lorene. I had fun with it. 🙂

      November 26, 2019 at 9:06 pm Reply
  • Mary

    Using old clothes and nature together in one project? It doesn’t get any better than this!

    November 26, 2019 at 8:27 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Right? I thought of you… hugs!

      November 26, 2019 at 9:06 pm Reply
  • Kaycee

    I love your beautiful creations Larissa! We live in the woods and love foraging for outdoor decorating, thank you for sharing you flannel bow and hanger idea.

    November 26, 2019 at 9:36 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I envy you in all you have to work with. Thanks so much! 😀

      November 27, 2019 at 10:06 pm Reply
  • Becky

    Lovely! I especially like the planters!

    November 30, 2019 at 11:36 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! They really are a favorite build of mine.

      December 1, 2019 at 9:16 pm Reply
  • Mary Loveland

    Really nice, makes me homesick!

    December 1, 2019 at 8:04 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Me too. I ache for country living. 😀

      December 1, 2019 at 9:17 pm Reply

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