Much.Most.Darling.: DIY light up vintage rag tie garland

Sunday, February 21, 2016

DIY light up vintage rag tie garland

This is a sponsored post and does contain affiliate links

A lot of you have been asking for more details about the garland you've seen in a few of my Instagram pictures, so I thought I'd show you how easy of a Do It Yourself project it really is! And when I say easy, I mean really easy. You only need a few supplies, and a free afternoon and you can have your own shabby vintage chic rag tie garland. I spent under $13 for everything for this project, as I had most everything on hand that I needed, and I was able to use up a ton of my fabric scraps that had just been sitting in a closet being neglected!

There are a few things about the one I made that make it a favorite - first off, the only thing I bought were the LED string lights, because I had all the materials laying around the house, secondly, I love how it helps to tie our bedroom together, and third, I love the warmth and ambience it provides us when we turn the lights on. Plus, making this vintage rag tie garland banner was a really awesome excuse to binge watch the rest of Parenthood, so really, it's a win-win situation all around. 

Materials you'll need:
  • 1 20 ft strand of copper wire LED string lights (aka: "fairy lights") 
    • DEAL ALERT: from now until 3/31/2016, use code JX79AKOD to save 20%, making the lights only $10.39!
  • 2 C batteries
  • Roll of thick jute or twine
  • Scissors
  • Various materials to construct the rag ties
    • I used: 
      • 1 old white queen sheet
      • white burlap, brown burlap, linen and lace that were leftover from my wedding
Directions for the rag tie garland:
  1. Measure out 8.5 feet of jute, and cut to size. About 20 inches in from each end, tie a knot on both sides (this will help keep the rag tie tassels in place.). 
  2. For the rag tie tassels: I personally chose to vary the widths of the fabrics, to keep it from being too symmetrical, so I chose to rip and cut the lace, burlap, etc into varying widths from 1 inch wide, to about 2 inches wide. For the length, once again I varied them from about 5 inches to about 20 inches, because I like how the uneven lengths look together (see picture 1). 
    1. To make each rag tie tassel: (see the second picture below for a visual) Make a U with your fabric, and place the twine about an inch above the base of the U. Bring down the ends and tuck them over the twine and under the base of the U, and then pull the ends through and down. 
  3. Continue the rag tie tassel making process until you reach the knot on the other end. I used about 14-16 rag ties for each 12 inches, and had around 80 overall. 
  4. Once you're done with the rag tie portion - give yourself a little pat on the back, you're almost done! You can certainly stop at this point, but I love how the LED lights on the copper wire give our room so much more warmth, and they definitely help add to the vintage look as well. 

To really add a special touch to your DIY rag tie garland, I would definitely suggest adding the LED string lights. It only takes an extra 15-20 minutes, but makes a huge impact when the lights are low!

Directions for adding the copper wire LED string lights:
  1. Starting from one end next to the knot, twist the copper wire around the twine a few times to keep it in place (see picture 1 #1). 
  2. Take the wire down the knots about 11 inches, and, in between two knots, loop the wire around the twine one time (see picture 1 #2). 
  3. Repeat step 2 every 11 or so inches until you reach the knot at the end of the rag tie garland (see picture 1 #3). 
  4. Going back the way you came, take the wire down the knots about 5 or 6 inches (so halfway in between the existing loops you've already made) and, in between two knots, loop the wire around the twine one time (see picture 1 #4). 
  5. Repeat step 4 until you reach the knot at the end of the rag tie garland again. 
  6. You'll be left with a little copper wire overflow, so what I did was to just take it down the top of the knots again and looped it every so often until the copper wire ran out. 
  7. Hang up your super snazzy light up garland wherever you see fit, and admire your work!

And voila! Here's your final product three different ways! In natural light the copper wire is invisible to the naked eye when the lights are off. Once you turn the lights on, the copper wire itself still stays invisible, but the lights add a really fun touch. I especially love when the sun has set and I'm snuggled in bed watching a movie with the LED 'fairy lights' on. They add just enough light to the room and make it feel so comfortable and cozy. The lights definitely feel like something out of a spa and are just the relaxing touch the garland needed!

Have you ever thought to add copper wire LED string lights to any of your projects? Do you like how they change up the look of the vintage rag tie garland? If so, make sure to head over to Amazon and pick some up. At a really affordable price, they fit into any budget and yet still make a big impact! 


  1. Wow, this I can easily do, it's beautiful!

    The Flower Duet

    1. It is super easy, M! I hope you try it out!

  2. That is very cute! I love how it came out :)

  3. Holy moly this is one of the best DIY projects I've ever seen. I'm not very crafty so when I find a well written cute DIY project I kind of freak out. Thanks for sharing this. I can't wait to make it.

    1. Oh my gosh, Sola, that is so sweet! Thank you!

  4. I love the garland. I might try to make this one weekend. I just need some led lights.

  5. Wow I never realized how easy it was to make a garland and yours looks great!

  6. This is incredible. Sadly, I am not the crafty type so admiring yours is all I can do.

    1. It is so easy even my husband got in on the crafting :) Thank you!

  7. Wow! That's simply amazing! The girls will love this, they might want to copy it for their bedrooms.

  8. This is beautiful! I'm planning my wedding and I've seen a lot of things like this used as backdrops for the reception as well. So easy and looks so great!

  9. What a beautiful country feel! So easy to do too!

  10. No, I have never thought of adding that because I am so not a craft person. LOL...I have 20 thumbs

  11. What a great idea. Looks like something I could do with my daughter to spice up her room. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Nice neutral palette. Love the light behind your garland. Great project!


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