Do-It-Yourself Fresh Pine Boughs

Do-It-Yourself Fresh Pine Boughs

Is it really possible to deck the halls with boughs of fresh greenery without spending your children’s inheritance? I think so. Especially if you have a backyard or a local pine tree, a spool of wire or twine, and a pair of clippers!

A week ago, I showed how to make your own fresh Christmas wreath using branches gathered from around your neighborhood. In this post, I want to show you how to make fresh swags of greenery. These swags can be laid across a mantle, used as a table centerpiece, laid across the top of a piano, or even hung at the top of an archway, doorframe, or gate. I think you will find the swag a lot easier to make than the wreath. With a little bit of practice, you could easily crank out five or six fresh swags in an hour!

First read through the instructions so that you know what sizes of branches to gather, then explore your neighborhood or local wilderness area for some piney-looking greens. As with the wreath, a variety of different greens looks best!

1. Find two long branches with greenery at the top and, preferably, bare branch below the greenery. The greenery portions of each branch should match in size and shape pretty closely. Put the two sawn-off ends together, overlapping them by about 8 inches. Once these branches are together, the length from the farthest left to the farthest right is how long your swag is going to be. If you want your swag to be shorter, just cut the branches shorter before putting them back together. Then wire (or tie) the branches together where they overlap, wiring every three or four inches.

2. The next branches you will need will be very similar to the first ones, only shorter. These should lay on top of the first branches, only with the greenery coving up some of the bare branches showing from the first branches. Again, the cut ends should face toward the middle and the greenery should face towards the outside edges. Use wire to attach the two new branches to the first two branches, wrapping wire around all four branches wherever possible. Then pick up your swag and move it around a bit to make sure that all the branches are fixed in place. If you’d like to be creative and asymmetrical, this would be the place to do it! I liked using some medium-sized branches that curved slightly up or out.

3. Your final branches should probably be fairly short and full of needles. Use these branches to cover up the bulk of the wired branches that are still showing in the center, adding as many little branches as needed. If possible, continue to point the greenery out from the center so that it always looks like the branches are growing away from the center. Tuck the stems under the previously-attached greenery so that no bar branches or wires are showing, and wire in place wherever you can.

4. Add any decorative accents you wish to the center of the swag. A large ribbon bow looks great at the very center. The swag on our mantle has a sprig of cranberries from Hobby Lobby at the center, but decorations that we used on our other swags are pine-cones, bells, acorns, little bows, cheap ball ornaments, etc. Even some Christmas lights entwined in the swag would be pretty!

Spray your swag with water every few days to keep it looking fresh. Pine trees absorb much of their hydration through their needles, so spritzing your swag with water will help it through the entire Christmas season.


The author is a homeschool graduate with a BA in Christian Education and Communications. She lives with her parents and two brothers in Colorado, and she does freelance writing under the pen name Jane Grey. Her writings can be found online at She is currently working on a research book project featuring the family life of the Protestant Reformers.