DIY Heart Garland

Learn how to make a DIY heart garland with our free printable and Cricut file. Perfect for weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and Valentine’s decor!

DIY Heart Garland

This post contains affiliate links used to help support The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

Love is in full bloom! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and there must be something in the water. I don’t know about you, but I have been seeing loads of engagements and pregnancy announcements lately. And you know what that means – weddings and babies!!

With every wedding comes a bridal shower and with every baby comes a baby shower, both of which need decorations! Why not make decor that can be used for both?! Plus, this heart garland works perfect for Valentine’s Day! I am currently using this garland and this door decor in my home for Valentine’s Day!

This garland project came about when I was helping to plan a close friends bridal brunch. I knew I wanted to keep this garland for future use, so I decided to stick with neutral tones to use it for other purposes.

I chose to use pink and gold glitter scrapbook paper in addition to some natural colored brown wrapping paper with gold dots. The shimmering neutral tones and twine used in this garland pair beautifully for a subtle farmhouse look.

close-up of diy heart garland hanging on a wall

We have had this heart garland for a couple of years now and I am still finding more ways to use it!

Various Ways to Use this DIY Heart Garland:

  • Hang on a wall as a backdrop for photos!
  • Pair with streamers for a party!
    • Pink + White streamers for bridal shower or Valentines Day.
    • Pink + Blue streams for baby shower or gender reveal.
  • Use as a decorative garland on fireplace mantels and stairways.
  • Decor in a nursery or little girls room.
heart garland with pink and white streamers

Two Ways to Make the Hearts:

There are two different ways to make these Valentine’s hearts: by hand or using a Cricut. I highly recommend the Cricut, I absolutely love mine and it is much faster at cutting than me!

If making the hearts by hand, you can download your free printable here and follow along below. Simply skip Step 2 and Step 3.



Determine the number and length of your garland. I made a total of 8 strands of garland and each strand at 6′ 8″ long.

Next, plan out how many hearts you want on each garland. I placed 7 hearts on each and alternated their locations every other strand.

diy heart garland haning on a wall

Calculate how many pieces need to be cut. If using one-sided paper, each 3D heart will need 4 pieces in order to make them double-sided. Only two hearts are needed for double-sided paper.

For my hearts, I used scrapbook paper and wrapping paper that were only one-sided. Therefore, each heart needed 4 pieces. I preferred this because it made the the hearts stiffer and more sturdy.


Open the Cricut Design Space app and connect your Cricut machine to your computer.

Open the Heart Garland project file.

Duplicate or remove any hearts needed to fit on your paper size and arrange on the canvas. Press the “Make It” button in the top right corner.

diy heart garland Cricut file


Select your material size in the left margin. You may have to rearrange the final cut layout on this screen. Press “Continue” in the lower right corner.

select material size in cricut design space

Follow the prompted instructions on the screen to ensure your machine settings are ready.

Place the paper on the machine cutting mat and load the mat into the machine by pressing the double arrow button on the machine.

select settings to cut in cricut design space

Press the Cricut logo button on the machine to begin the cut.

After the cut is complete, unload the mat with the double arrow button and load a new sheet of paper onto the mat. Continue cutting the design until you have all the pieces required.

Once you have enough hearts cut out, unload the mat and press the “Finish” button in the bottom right corner.

finish cutting in cricut design space


It takes two hearts to create one 3D heart. If using one-sided paper, paste together two matching pieces to create a double-sided heart.

Mix and match the hearts to find combinations that you love and place them into pairs.

For every pair of hearts, cut a line down the center from the top to the middle of one heart, and the bottom to the middle of the other heart.

cuts used to join the hearts together

Slide the two hearts together to form a 3D heart and place a string of glue down the seam. Place the 3D hearts upside down to dry.

Once dry, lay the hearts along the twine to determine placement. I placed each of my hearts 8″ apart and shifted the pattern down by 4″ for every other garland.

Lastly, attach the hearts to the twine with glue at the seam and let dry.

hearts attached to the twine with glue

Hang up the strands of hearts and enjoy your new DIY heart garland!

How did you use your DIY Heart Garland? Share it with us! Tag us on social media with your creation!


Thanks for stopping by! Happy Crafting!

Filed under: FAMILY, FAMILY + OFFICETagged with: , , , , ,


Start a Valentine’s Day tradition with your kids! Share something you love about them on their door with this free printable and Cricut Project file.

Valentine's Day tradition for kids

This post contains affiliate links used to help support The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

The most important thing we can do as parents is to love our children deeply and make our love known to them. In honor of this love, we have decided to start a new tradition in our home for Valentine’s Day!

For the 14 days of February leading up to Valentine’s Day, write something you love about your child on a paper heart and place it on their bedroom door.

These decorative hearts serve as such sweet, visual reminders for children each day on the love that is shared in the home. These sentiments are one of the first things they see in the morning and one of the last things they see before bed. Your children will be reminded of your love day in and day out.

A friend of mine inspired me with these Valentine’s hearts after sharing that she had decided to start this fun tradition with her family as well. This is such an easy project, but makes a big impact on your children. Your children will look forward to you adding a new special something you love about them each day.

Make this Valentine’s Day truly special for you and your family with this sweet tradition!

Two Ways to Make the Hearts:

There are two different ways to make these Valentine’s hearts: by hand or using a Cricut. I highly recommend the Cricut, I absolutely love mine and use it quite often!

If making the hearts by hand, you can download your free printable here! Simple trace, cut, and paste the decorative hearts.

If using a Cricut Machine, continue below for the tutorial!



Begin by opening the Cricut Design Space app and connect your Cricut machine to your computer.

Open the Valentine’s Hearts project file and choose which heart design to start with first.

open the Valentine's Hearts Cricut file

There are three images present:

  • Valentine’s Heart (a large simple line heart)
  • Scalloped Heart – Front (a small simple line heart for pasting on top of the scalloped heart)
  • Scalloped Heart – Back (a large scalloped heart for pasting behind the small simple line heart)

The layers are located in the right margin of the canvas. You can hide the layers you are not currently using to cut by clicking on the eye button next to the corresponding layer. I cut one heart design at a time and hid the other two.

hide the layers not currently cutting in Cricut file

Duplicate the design to the desired amount that will fit on your paper size and arrange on the canvas. Press the “Make It” button in the top right corner.

duplicate the layers in the Cricut file


Select your material size in the left margin. You may have to rearrange the final cut layout on this screen. Press “Continue” in the lower right corner.

select material size in cricut design space

Follow the prompted instructions on the screen to ensure your machine settings are ready.

Place the paper on the machine cutting mat and load the mat into the machine by pressing the double arrow button on the machine.

select settings to cut in cricut design space

Press the Cricut logo button on the machine to begin the cut.

Once the cut is complete, unload the mat with the double arrow button and press the “Finish” button in the bottom right corner.

finish cutting in cricut design space

Repeat the process above with the other layers until you have all of your necessary pieces.


Mix and match the pieces to find combinations that you love! Simply grab a glue stick and paste the coordinating pieces together.

Valentine's Day tradition for kids, paste hearts together


Grab a pen and write love notes to your children! Hang the hearts on their doors with tape and enjoy your new Valentine’s tradition!

P.S. These aren’t just for kiddos! Show your spouse some love and surprise them with a love note each day too!

Valentine's Day tradition for kids, write love notes to your kids


We would love to see you start this tradition in your home! Share your sweet sentiments towards your children with us by tagging The Bluebonnet Farmhouse on social media!

Happy Valentine’s Day!



Howdy, friends! I would like to officially introduce you to The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. After a lot of thought, I have decided to change the name of my blog from The Navy Home to The Bluebonnet Farmhouse.

After restructuring and redesigning the entire website last year for a look more true to us and our content, it became more apparent that our name no longer suited us. Now that Chris has resigned from the Navy, we have moved back home to Texas, and own a home we can actually renovate; I felt the name needed some rethinking.

While renting and moving frequently with the military, we never wanted to spend too much on home goods that could get damaged or lost in a cross country move – which was a good thing considering this last move! Since we are settled, we have been able to invest in quality furniture and items that provide us with the cozy farmhouse feel we desire.


At the time of starting my blog, Chris was in the US Navy, we lived in base housing, and ironically our home on base was blue. That made naming my blog all too easy – The Navy Home – a double meaning. It began as a DIY blog with tips on how to decorate on a budget while renting, military life in general, and natural living.


There was so much meaning behind The Navy Home that I did not want to lose, after all that is where everything began. So I decided to take our name and simply transform it into an even more meaningful title.

  • Navy >> Bluebonnet
  • Home >> Farmhouse

The word Bluebonnet comes from the fact that it is the Texas state flower, Chris and I are both from Texas, and we almost got married in a field of bluebonnets. Unfortunately, our wedding date was two weeks after the bluebonnets’ stunning display, which we couldn’t avoid since we were still in school. Not to mention, I love bluebonnets (what Texan doesn’t?) and my favorite color is blue.

The word Farmhouse is representative of our decor, overall lifestyle, and dream to one day have a true farmhouse on acreage. You can read more about what I mean by this in an upcoming post.

You will be seeing some changes on our website and social media pages while we work to update everything with our new name. In the meantime, you can look forward to all of the new content I am very eager to share with you!

We want to thank you for your support and welcome to The Bluebonnet Farmhouse!

P.S. There is even meaning in the font used in our new logo! The font is a replication of Texas pioneer woman Emily Austin Perry’s handwriting found in letters she wrote to her husband.



Welcome guests with a cozy garland in 5 simple steps! Learn how to easily take a basic, inexpensive garland and transform it into a beautiful Christmas garland for little to no expense.

This post contains affiliate links used to help support The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

While decorating for Christmas, I unpacked this DIY garland I had made while living on base in Virginia and thought it would be a fun project to share with you!

A couple of years ago we had purchased an inexpensive and basic green garland from the Navy Exchange for our mantel in base housing. Bear in mind this mantel was huge – it was over six feet wide and at least a foot deep.

Not thinking too hard about the fact stated above, we brought the garland home and eagerly placed it on the mantel. Y’all it was bad. The garland appeared so scrawny up there on the expansive space. You know the saying,“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Well… I was going to fix it!

Around this time I had previously gone on a wreath making binge and stocked up on supplies to make wreaths for every occasion… and only made one. Can anyone else relate? Remembering that I had more burlap than I knew what to do with, I decided to put it to good use on this garland.

The two ribbons of burlap immediately added lots of fullness to the garland which was the primary goal. In order to keep it simple but dress it up a bit, I chose to spare a few burlap flowers from our Christmas tree to adorn the garland.

I was pleasantly surprised with how this completely unplanned project turned out. The burlap flowers, colors, and overall style paired beautifully with our Christmas tree located only a few feet away. What once was a scarce garland with little green twigs is now a full statement piece that captures guests attention.

The best part is you can easily change up and customize the appearance of your garland since none of the items are permanently installed.

I chose to use natural burlap and red burlap ribbon to coordinate with our existing Christmas decor. For a neutral look, you could choose to use natural and ivory burlap.

The burlap flowers were previously purchased from the clearance rack at Kirkland’s.

Want to be resourceful? Use ribbons or ornaments you already have to avoid spending money on supplies. Have your little ones help and go foraging outside for pine cones and foliage to decorate with as well!


NOTE: If you have an outlet on the mantel and have plug in Christmas lights – go for it! Otherwise I recommend the battery route to avoid unsightly cords and kids messing with it. We all know kids are like bugs to a light with all things they are not supposed to play with.


  1. Lay your garland out on a work surface and fluff up the branches.
  2. If you do not have a pre-lit garland, place plug in or battery operated string lights on the garland. You can fasten occasionally with floral wire.
  3. Starting on one end, tie down one strand of burlap ribbon to the garland with floral wire. Work your way across the garland making puffy loops along the way by occasionally tying down the ribbon with the floral wire.
  4. Repeat Step 3 with the second strand of burlap ribbon. Alternate the locations of your loops by tying down the second ribbon in the middle of the first ribbons loop i.e. in the space between the first ribbons tie downs.
  5. Twist some floral wire onto the back of the flowers and fasten them in desired locations along the garland.

That’s it! In 5 very simple steps you now have a cozy garland to welcome guests into your home during the holidays.

There are so many ways you can get creative with the decor for your garland! Get inspired and let your creative mind have fun with it!

When you’re done, tag The Bluebonnet Farmhouse on social media to share your garland with us!

Thanks for following along! Merry Christmas!



Need a gift idea for the man in your life? Learn how to make this custom storage box ideal for housing military ranks, watches, cuff links, and jewelry.

This post contains affiliate links used to help support The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

My husband, Chris, was on his first deployment when I made this military rank box for him. I wanted to make something special as a gift for when he got home and had come up with the idea several months before he even deployed. However, I chose to play it safe and wait until he was away to work on it so he wouldn’t accidentally find it!

After commissioning, he had been talking about needing to get some sort of box to store his ranks in. His solution, or at least the temporary one, was a plastic CD box… total guy move right there. I knew that wasn’t going to work because I wanted his ranks to have a special place for two different reasons. Not only will the contents of this box signify the time he spent serving our country, but it will also house the ranks my mother passed down to him from one of our fallen, LTJG Cole Patrick O’Neil. You can read more about why these ranks play an integral part in our story, Tragedy Turned to Treasure, in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families.

He was ecstatic when I gave it to him and I somehow managed to not spoil the surprise the entire time he was deployed. This rustic rank box was honestly the most exciting gift for me to give to my husband; it was sentimental for both being handmade for him by his wife and for what resides inside.

Not only would this be the perfect gift for military ranks, it is also great for a men’s watch and jewelry box! This really was a fun project! Continue below for the tutorial!


  • Unfinished Wood Jewelry Box w/ Glass Top
  • Box Knife + Sandpaper (if removing some dividers)
  • Painters Tape (if laser etching glass)
  • Wood Stain (<< Highly recommend this one in Special Walnut! *See instructions below for more info.)
  • Staining Rag
  • Gloves + Mask
  • Black Peel & Stick Craft Felt
  • Polyester Fiber Fill
  • 1/4 Yard of Fabric
  • Ruler
  • Needle + Thread
  • Sewing Machine (optional)
  • Glass Engraver (optional)


If you plan to get the glass engraved, begin with this step first and remove the lid from the box. I was in college studying architecture when I made this project for my husband; therefore, I had access to a laser cutter within the architecture wood shop to laser etch the glass for me. Some architecture colleges allow non-students access to the laser cutter for a fee in addition to completing a safety test.

If you have a very steady hand or want a handwritten look, you could try a handheld diamond-tipped engraver, but be sure to practice on a scrap piece of glass first! Otherwise, you could go to a glass engraving shop and have them professionally engrave the lid.

NOTE: If a laser is being used to etch the glass, cover the wooden edges of the lid with painter’s tape. The tape prevents the wood from getting any burn marks.

UPDATE: If you are not sure how to go about getting the glass engraved, feel free to send me a message or comment below and I would be more than happy to help! A friend of mine actually has a laser cutter and may be able to help us out!


Before applying the stain, remove any wood dividers in the box that might be in the way for what it is meant to store. For example, I removed one divider on the right side of the box to create a larger space for Chris’s shoulder boards to fit in. You may want to do the same if watches are going to be stored in the box.

Be very careful when removing any of the dividers – you don’t want to break the ones you want to keep! Use a box knife to gradually wedge down between the pieces. I admit this is when my dad stepped in to help. I needed some pure manpower because the dividers in my box had been, what I believe to be were, industrially adhered together!

Once the pieces are detached, use the box knife to shave down any glue or wood residue to get a flat surface. Sand the area if necessary to achieve a smooth finished surface.


Select your color of stain and remove any hardware from the box and lid. At the time, I had used Minwax Special Walnut, but would now highly recommend using this ECOS Paints Special Walnut. This wood stain is specifically meant for crafting projects such as this and is non-toxic, zero VOC, and no odor! All of which is a huge bonus for me considering I would always get migraines after working with conventional paints and stains.

Use your staining rag to apply the stain to the exterior and interior of the box. Apply additional coats until you reach the desired color and allow for adequate drying time between each coat.

I decided against applying polyurethane since the box will not come in contact with anything that would require it to be sealed. Also, I loved the unsealed look that the special walnut stain gave the wood; the color has a dry and slightly weathered vintage look.

Again, the Craft Stain by ECOS would have been ideal for this project because it incorporates a top coat resin that gives a subtle sheen and eliminates the need for a top coat altogether.

NOTE: Read all the directions on each product before use. Remember to stir the stain before use, do not shake. Always wear a mask and gloves when applying stain or polyurethane along with working in a well-ventilated space. A well-ventilated space creates a cleaner workspace to breathe in and faster drying time.


Use a ruler to measure the interior surfaces you want to cover with felt while taking into account the thickness of the felt. Cut out the felt pieces, remove the paper backing, and adhere the felt inside the spaces. The peel and stick felt makes this quick and easy!


Add 1” to both the length and width measurements of each space to get the dimensions for your cushions. This 1” addition accounts for ¼” seam around and ½” extra material both ways to make your cushions fluffy.

Cut two pieces of fabric for each cushion and lay them face-to-face. Hand stitch or use a sewing machine to sew your ¼” seam around. I did not have my sewing machine at this point and chose to hand stitch the cushions.

Leave a 1” opening and pull the fabric through the opening to turn the fabric correct side out. Fill the cushion with polyester fill to the desired thickness and complete your seam across the opening.

Place the cushions in their cozy spaces and reattach the hardware onto the box and lid.

You’re done! Whether you made this for a service member to store his ranks or a husband to store his watches and cuff links, you now have a handmade gift any man is sure to love!

We would love to see your completed project! Tag The Bluebonnet Farmhouse on social media to share your project with us!

Thanks for following along! Happy Crafting!

Filed under: BEDROOM, BEDROOM, BEDROOM + BATHROOM, FAMILY + OFFICE, OFFICETagged with: , , , , , ,


Need a beautiful handmade gift for a baby shower? We are in the season of life where us and friends are adding precious additions to our families, which means lots of baby related patterns and products! Our newest and current collection – baby burp cloths!

In an attempt to free up some space in my craft closet, I am now offering handmade items for sale! The best part is with every purchase you are helping to unite military families and aid our wounded warriors! You can learn more about our mission to give back here.

Due to the nature of how this adventure began, I may not have enough fabric to make multiple sets so quantities are very limited. I must say it has been a very fun and great way to start reducing my massive stockpile of fabric! More new styles are coming very soon!

A little about our burp cloths…

  • Designed to quickly and easily fold to double up for even the messiest of spitter-uppers!
    • Or leave unfolded for extra coverage around your shoulder and neck.
  • Large enough to use as a changing mat if you left yours at home – which will inevitably happen!
  • Compact enough to easily fit into any mom’s overflowing diaper bag!
  • Use for infant feeding and burping, drool/spit up mat during tummy time, cleaning up messes, impromptu changing mat, mini blanket for added warmth, etc.
  • Made of 100% cotton and will get more absorbent with each wash.
  • Attention to detail in the construction and craftsmanship of this product.
    • I never sell anything I would not want for myself or as a gift for someone else.
  • A portion of all profits will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and United Through Reading!

NOTE: As with any baby product or accessory, never leave a baby unattended with a burp cloth and always use adult supervision. Not intended as a blanket for sleep or sleep use of any kind.

Our newest products…

Prefold cloth diapers were used as inserts in the burp clothes below. Prefold cloth diapers are an excellent and easy way to add absorbency to the burp cloths and influenced the three section design. In addition, these burp cloths are made of 100% cotton top layer and soft flannel bottom layer. Check them out below!


Being true to our name, we are launching our burp cloth collection with these sweet Navy inspired burp cloths!


Pink and white, teepees and antlers! These precious burp cloths are perfect for the adventurous baby girl!

Thanks for following along! Have a great day!



After having to step away from The Navy Home to become first-time parents, face various moves in addition to another deployment, resign from the Navy life, adjust to civilian life, and purchase our first home… we are so happy to be back and with a new look! We had so much going on in our lives that we were simply trying to keep up with what day it was. Through it all we have learned so much, have countless blessings to be thankful for, and now have our first home to make our own!

We are settling into our new home and are very excited to share with you all that we have going on here at The Navy Home! As you can imagine, we have LOTS of projects underway and on the drawing boards now that we have our home. According to my husband, I have filled my quota for the year on using the words “project” and “build” when it comes to our house, but he continues to be a trooper! We love that through our projects we are not only improving our homes aesthetics, but the functionality and monetary value as well!

In addition, we are adding some new content to The Navy Home – baby content! As some of you may know, I was pregnant with our first baby when The Navy Home was launched. Little did I know just how time consuming becoming a parent would be! Not to mention, I spent way too much time researching and reading reviews for each product that went on our baby registry. In my defense, I wanted to make sure every product purchased was carefully selected in hopes of minimizing the number of items potentially being replaced later. As a result, we now have loads of content to share with you! That’s right, we are sharing all of our favorite baby items we have used personally and absolutely love!

Stay tuned for more exciting home projects, organization ideas, baby products, as well as natural products for your home and family! Join us on this new adventure while we open our door, tell of our experiences, and share our home with you! Home is where you are anchored, it is where life happens, and we have much to talk about! 🙂


Curious to know what has been going on in our new home? Check out our first new homeowner projects below.


It’s official! We closed on our first home and our household goods have been delivered (minus one box that got lost in our cross-country move – not too shabby). Time for our first project as new homeowners! …


Want to know a great way to instantly become friends with your neighbors? The answer is quite simple – build some trellises. In no time, your neighbors will be saying “I knew I liked those neighbors” …

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!



Recycle your wine bottles into budget-friendly and versatile decor. All you need is a little bit of wine, cheese, … and chalk!

diy (how to make) chalkboard wine bottles

This post contains affiliate links to help support The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

If you are like me, then you probably have a small stash of wine bottles and corks in hopes of doing something creative with them one day. These chalkboard wine bottles are a creative and versatile decor option that work great on a wall shelf or fireplace mantel!

I stumbled upon this cute project when searching for some wedding gift ideas. Between the expense of airline tickets, hotel stays, and a rental car, we honestly didn’t have much in the budget for a wedding gift. You can look at it as our main gift was getting to be there to celebrate with them!

After some Pinterest inspiration and some ideas of my own, I ended up pairing these chalkboard wine bottles with a chalkboard serving tray and wedding date pillows for some handmade wedding gifts!

The idea of using chalkboard paint on wine bottles creates tons of versatility in the project. With three bottles you can write initials for bedroom decor or baby showers, his and her initials for wedding showers, “JOY” for Christmas, etc.

In addition, you can swap out seasonal floral to give them a fresh new look all year long! Flowers, branches, dried floral, Christmas tree clippings, etc. Using the same decorative items year round, but simply changing it up a tad for every season, is such a great way to stay in budget with home decor.

Now, this tutorial is going to be rather straight forward, but here it is none-the-less!

how to make chalkboard wine bottles


  • 3 Glass Bottles (wine, champagne, cider, etc.)
  • Floral (live, dried, faux, etc.)
  • #28 3-Ply Natural Jute (Mine is from Hobby Lobby)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Chalkboard Paint (This is our favorite paint brand!)
  • Sponge Brush
  • Wax Paper
  • Chalk


The first step is to determine which three glass bottles to use. I say three because of the rule of three; items arranged in odd number groupings is more aesthetically appealing. In addition, I chose to use varying sizes to add dimension; two of the same size wine bottles and one spiced cider bottle.

Remove the labels and any residue from the glass until the surface is free of any gunk. Wash and dry the bottles.

painted chalkboard wine bottles

There are two ways you could go about painting the bottles: liquid paint or spray paint. I had some liquid chalkboard paint on hand from my chalkboard serving tray and decided to use that.

When working with either liquid paint or spray paint make certain to work with THIN coats; otherwise, you will end up with paint drips running down the sides of the bottle – thanks a lot gravity.

Apply additional coats until you reach the desired thickness of chalkboard surface, allowing for adequate drying time between each coat.

I chose to not paint the bottom of the bottles; therefore, I was able dry them upright on wax paper. The wax paper works great by preventing any sticking to the bottles surface when dry.


Let your creative side shine and start decorating your bottles! I kept mine simple and only used jute to remain versatile for everyday decor, holidays, and other occasions.

Use a hot glue gun when adhering the jute and periodically apply beads of glue while wrapping the jute around the bottleneck.

decorated chalkboard wine bottles

After the decorating is done, grab some chalk and test out your new chalkboard surface! Finish them off with dried or faux floral.


Thanks for following along!

Filed under: DINING, FAMILY, FAMILY, FAMILY + OFFICE, KITCHEN, KITCHEN, KITCHEN + LAUNDRY, UncategorizedTagged with: , , , ,


Display the story of your family in the heart of your home. Learn how to decorate a fireplace mantel on a budget and start conversations with the personal pieces placed on your mantel.

how to decorate a fireplace mantel on a budget, budget-friendly decor

This post contains affiliate links used to help support The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

After weeks of trying to decide how to tackle this mantel, I had finally come up with a solution and in love with how it turned out! We were renting housing on base at the time and therefore could not do any permanent design work – mantel decor only.

Originally, the mantel was none other than where the television resided along with the cable box and the ever so glamorous Xbox. Not exactly the statement pieces I want to welcome guests with into our home.

We decided to change up the layout of our furniture, which meant we were able to relocate the TV and free up the fireplace mantel for a more welcoming entryway. The problem was I had no idea what to do next.

College apartments are not known for housing cozy fireplaces and now that we had a house with a fireplace, I wasn’t sure what in the world I was supposed to do with it.

At this particular time in our lives, we did not have the excess funds to go out and purchase an abundance of new decor. Instead, I chose to focus on selecting items we already had and arrange them in a way to illustrate the story of us.

To do this, we used these budget-friendly items:

  • secondhand items from family
  • gifts from friends
  • one souvenir
  • a few decorative books
  • a couple of DIY projects
  • a few inexpensive items we found on sale
  • family photos and a couple of candles

I wanted our mantel to be decorative and inviting, but to tell a story at the same time. By the way, the mantel in our base housing was massive! We are talking at least a foot deep so we had lots of room to work with on this one. There were several items I wanted to be placed on the mantel, but the challenge was which pieces and how to arrange them.

how to decorate a fireplace mantel on a budget, budget-friendly decor


In order for the mantel to illustrate our story, I chose to include a few different pieces of conversation starters. The first and most prominent piece would probably be the chainsaw carved bear – isn’t he just too cute?! No hand tools were used in the making of this bear; he was carved entirely by chainsaw! Our chainsaw bear came from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where lots of fun memories were made and one of our favorite vacation spots.


Next, I selected some decorative books to be placed beside our chainsaw bear. The maroon books not only represented our university and Aggie pride, but the color complimented our bear nicely by playing off of the red tones of the cedar. Below are the books displayed:


Our mantel is home to a couple different projects of mine, one of which is this preserved rose (updated post coming soon!). This particular project is dear to my heart being that it displays the first rose my husband presented to me. Placing this flower on the fireplace mantel was a must because it serves as a sweet reminder of the beginning of our life together.

how to decorate a fireplace mantel on a budget, budget-friendly decor


Floral arrangements are always a nice and recommended addition to any mantel. I had this mason jar vase that was a gift from my mom and decided to use it for our arrangement. Instead of purchasing new floral, I opened the my craft closet to find some dried floral that was left over from these chalkboard wine bottles.

I decided on a cotton arrangement with brown dried wheat accents. I love dried floral because it creates a natural, neutral, and rustic look. All I had to do was trim down the stems of the wheat and arrange as desired!

TIP: Use the excess stem pieces as filler in the bottom of the vase to help keep your arrangement in place.

Another great option would be to use faux or live greenery. Greenery gives a natural pop of color and brings the peaceful look of nature indoors.


Lastly, a cherished photo is the perfect addition to complete your story. The other DIY project here, and one of my favorites, is the window picture frame (updated post coming soon!). I am beyond thankful for the photographers who captured this photo of us while we were dancing at our close friends’ wedding! We had no idea they snapped this photo until the bride shared it with us later, but I am so happy they did, as it is one of my absolute favorite pictures of us. A picture really does say a thousand words, and this one says everything.

how to decorate a fireplace mantel on a budget, budget-friendly decor


Thanks for following along! Happy decorating!

Filed under: FAMILY, FAMILY + OFFICETagged with: , ,


diy wood pallet shelf

Learn how to build this easy farmhouse wall shelf on a budget! Display your favorite coffee mugs, chili bowls, dog leashes, etc. All you need is a little scrap wood, some chain, and a tiny bit of time.

diy wood pallet and chain wall shelf, chili bowl shelf, coffee mug shelf

This post contains affiliate links used to help support The Bluebonnet Farmhouse. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

When I was in college, I found these adorable chili bowls for only $1 each (a dollar!!) at my local grocery store. Am I the only one that was love-struck by that price? The price was perfect for a tight budget college student like myself!

I loved the antique, western flair of the bowls and wanted to use them as decor in my apartment. For starters, I did not have a wall shelf at the time – keep in mind a broke college student – but I did have a pallet and my dad’s tools.

I chose to do a basic construction, but added the chains for a unique feature and enhanced stability. By keeping the construction of the shelf simple, it accentuates the rustic aesthetics of both the shelf and the chili bowls.

The shelf ended up being an ideal size – not too big, not too small – because no matter where the Navy sent us, we have easily been able to find a wall to accommodate it!

This beautiful hunk of wood has moved with us between two apartments plus one home, and has been used in the kitchen, dining room, and entryway. You can see how we used it in our dining room here.

This cute little shelf is a quick and easy project to add some rustic flair into your home. Are you ready to start making your own rustic shelf? Check out our tutorial below!

how to build a wood pallet and chain wall shelf


  • 1×8 Board
  • 2×4 Board
  • 2’ #14 Black Jack Chain
  • (4) #8 Steel Eye Screws
  • (4) 1” Steel Cup Hooks
  • (3) 2” Black Screws
  • (2) 4” Black Screws
  • Black Spray Paint
  • Long Nose Pliers
  • Circular Saw
  • Drill
  • 2 Bar Clamps (optional)

NOTE: I was able to get my hands on a very unique and gorgeous wood pallet that was used to deliver some furniture. I have no clue what kind of wood the pallet was made of, but I do know that it did not require staining – yay!

I have since not seen another pallet made of these quality 1×8 planks instead of the typical 1×4 pine. Therefore, you may have to use and stain scrap wood or purchase new boards.

Three 2″ black screws used to attach the 1×8 to the 2×4.


Cut the wood to size. You will need a 1×8 board cut to 32” and a 2×4 board cut to 30”.

Use pliers to detach the links of the jack chain and create two 9½” long strands.

Paint the steel eye screws and cup hooks with black paint.

Two 4″ screws used to attach the shelf to the wall.


Lay the 1×8 board with the top facing up. Drill pilot holes ¾” x ¾” away from the two front corners where two of the steel eye screws will be and hand screw the eyes into the holes.

Use pliers to open the end links on the chains and attach them to each eye. Be careful to not chip the black coating of the chain, otherwise simply touch it up with the black paint previously used.

Use clamps – or your husband – to hold the back of the 1×8 to the top off the 2×4. Evenly space the three 2” screws along the back of the 1×8, drill pilot holes, and drill in the screws to attach the two boards.

Remove the clamps and lay the shelf with the topside facing down. Evenly space the four cup hooks across the underside of the 1×8. Drill pilot holes and hand screw the cup hooks into the holes.

You’re shelf is done and all that’s left to do is to hang it up!

Account for the size of the eye screw when hanging the chain.


Hold the finished shelf against the wall and make sure it is level. Drill two pilot holes through the 2×4 and into the wall. Next, drill the two 4” screws into the pilot holes to attach the shelf to the wall.

You can choose to add more screws depending on the anticipated weight of décor.

Lastly, take the chain and extend it towards the wall until taut. To ensure a tight tension, leave a small space between the wall and the end of the chain to allow for the eye screws to fit in between.

Mark the location for the two steel eye screws, drill small pilot holes, and hand screw the eyes into the wall. Use the pliers once more to open the end links on the chains and attach them to each eye.

chili bowl shelf, coffee mug shelf

Time to decorate! Hang your favorite chili bowls or coffee cups and enjoy your new pallet and chain shelf!


Comment below or tag us on social media to share your finished shelf! Thanks for following along!

Filed under: FAMILY, FAMILY, FAMILY + OFFICE, KITCHEN + LAUNDRY, UncategorizedTagged with: , , , ,