Coffee filter garland how-to

Good morning friends! I have a fun diy project for you today that only requires a few materials and some patience.  The results are fabulous and I think you'll have fun along the way.  

Join me in learning how to make a coffee filter garland! The grocery store's unsung heroes.  Anything that helps get me from asleep and warm and cozy in my bed to awake and ready for the day deserves a medal in my book.  Even without the coffee in them, these super thin papers come in handy.  About a month ago I styled a tea party for a little girl's birthday and made one of these banners to go along with the decor.  I was instantly hooked.  The garlands are easily customizable because you can make them any color you like and they are very affordable to make! No expensive paints required. 

To start, you'll need several packs of plain white coffee filters.  I used two whole packs for my over-the-table garland.  You'll also need some deep pans lined with foil and whatever colors of paint you'd like to use.  I used the inexpensive acrylic paints like you can buy at Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, or Joann's.  You will use almost a whole bottle. 
 Let's get this party started! 
First, line your deep pans with foil, coming all the way up to the edges.

 Next, squirt or dump a generous amount of paint into each pan. If you're using the acrylic paints from the craft store I would use at least half of the bottle, if not all. 
 Now you need to fill the pans with water and carefully use a paintbrush to mix the paint you just poured in with the water.
Last step for now is to divide your coffee filters into piles, based on how many colors of paint you have.  Then flatten each pile of filters and place deep in the water.  You want the water to completely cover the stack of filters!

Leave the filters in the paint water for at least 6 hours.  If you have time, leave for a full 24 hours.  The longer you leave them, the more saturated the color will be.  

*BLOG Fail, I forgot to take a picture of the drying out step. So stay with me here! After your filters are all done sitting in the paint water, begin picking up small sections of the stack at a time.  Once you pick up a small section, fold all the filters over and squeeze the excess water back out.  Since the filters are all stuck together they are pretty hardy and shouldn't tear.  Continue to do this with all the filters.  Pick up out of the water, fold over, and squeeze the excess water out.  Last, lay them on a foil-lined baking sheet in the sun to dry.  If it's cold and gray outside, it may take 3-4 days for them to fully dry out so be cautious of your time if you have an event coming up that you need them dry for!
 After your filters are all dried out (remember, this can take a few days since it's winter!) you end up with this!
A beautiful, interesting, full of texture, pile of coffee filters!
 My mind instantly races with all the possibilities for these vibrant papers, but for today I'll stick with sharing how to make a garland out of the filters.  This is a great step to do while watching a show or listening to some music! It's easy but repetitive.  Use something to poke a hole in the middle of all the filters.  I use an awl. (a small, pointed tool you can find at Joann's…so, so handy!) Next, scrunch several coffee filters in your hand at once.  If you watched the paper bird's nest video you'll remember I gave this tip about working with paper-always scrunch! It adds texture and depth to your project instantly.  

After all the filters have a hole poked in the middle and are scrunched and then fluffed back out, poke a string through the middle of the filters, doing a few at a time.  

 Then your hard work is done!  Hang anywhere for added joy. 
Can you spot my latest filter garland?

Where do you plan to hang your garland? Give yourself a few days to spread this project out over and give it a try! It's one of the easiest, most fun projects I've tried.  I hope you enjoy! 


  1. beautiful - looks like decorations you'd find at anthropologie!

  2. Totally making these for my spring decorations. Love.

    1. Thanks Jacqueline! They are so much fun to make! :)


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