The fireplace mantel (or a prominent book shelf) is the traditional center of Christmas celebrations at home. It’s where you hang the stockings and display other Christmas decorations. We have some Christmas mantel decorating ideas with a rustic DIY stocking holder taking center stage. The stocking hanger is easy to make from an ordinary cedar planter box and some decorative coat hooks. Just follow the step-by-step instructions.
Materials for DIY Stocking Holder
- Behr Forbidden Red Interior/Exterior Paint Sample
- Wooster Shortcut 2 in. Nylon/Polyester Angle Sash Brush
- Minwax 8 oz. Oil-Based Classic Gray Wood Finish Interior Stain
- Minwax Finish Wax
- Ruavista Decorative Hook – Bronze with Copper Highlights
- Paint Rags
- Cedar Planter Box (Note: You can purchase a Cedar Planter Box online, they will come unassembled with instructions to assemble)
How to Build the Decorative Stocking Holder
Step 1 – Stain the Cedar Box
Apply the Classic Gray stain in the direction of the wood grain over the entire box with a brush or a clean cloth. You will need to apply the stain quickly, as it is a thin stain.
Allow the stain to penetrate the wood for desired finish. The longer you leave the stain on the wood, the richer and darker the finish will be. We let the stain sit for 15 minutes to achieve a nice gray ash color.
Step 2 – Remove Excess Stain
Use a rag to remove the excess stain. Wipe in the direction of the grain. As you are removing the excess, blend in light and dark areas of stain for more uniform color.
Allow the areas of stain to fully dry before moving to the next step.
Step 3 – Apply the Wax
Take a clean rag and apply the wax quickly and sporadically, hitting any areas that you know you want to reveal.
Tip: Quick and random strokes creates a truer rustic feel to your final piece. Using uneven strokes along the front, sides, tops and edges can help better achieve the desired rustic look.
Step 4 – Paint the Box
Apply a generous first coat of paint. We used an 8 oz. sample of Behr Forbidden Red to cover the entire 30-in. Cedar Box. When painting, try to move in the direction of the wood grain.
Apply the paint liberally over the entire box, including the areas where you applied the wax. Be sure to brush off any excess globs of paint by sweeping your brush in the direction of the wood grain. We chose not to do a second coat of paint, so that the gray stain would peek through the first coat. Allow paint to fully dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 5 – Sand the Box
Use your sanding block to lightly sand all surfaces. As you sand the paint off the waxy areas, the paint may remove easily but not fully peel off. Add moderate pressure to brush these areas with the sanding block and fully remove the peeled excess.
Step 6 – Lay Out and Map Hook Placement
In preparation for your final steps, lay out and map your hooks on the front facing panel of the window box. Our window box was 30 in. to accommodate for four stockings. We denoted three inches to each side, then six inches in between each hook. Once you have a desired layout and mapped placement, mark the screw holes for easy mounting.
Tip: When laying out your hooks, check for the distance between each stocking by placing them as if they were hanging from the hooks. This will help you achieve your desired final look with minimal stocking overlay.
Step 7 – Pre-drill
Using a 3/32-in. drill bit, pre-drill the holes for mounting the hooks.
Step 8 – Mount the Hardware
Place the hooks back on the box, and attach them with a screwdriver using the mounting hardware provided.
Step 9 – Decorate Your Stocking Hanger Box
Now that you have completed the DIY Decorative Stocking Holder, it’s time to decorate! We used a variety of holiday themed potpourri with brilliant greens, reds, and frosted pinecones to complement our paint color. Using potpourri can serve a dual purpose; it’s visually appealing but also gives off a charming holiday scent.
Bonus Decoration Tips
To dress up the fireplace mantel even more, we added holiday lanterns with battery operated LED candles. By mounting a small decorative hook to the underside of your mantel, your lanterns can hang securely all year long, and still be easily changed with décor theme!
I also came up with this creative wall hanging, using a rubber door mat from Home Depot. Painted with several coats of Metallic Champagne Mist spray paint, it makes a dramatic addition to the room and décor.