Mum makes gorgeous festive arch for her front door for just £41

8 December 2020, 09:14

The mum-of-two's DIY project looks incredible, and it only took her a day
The mum-of-two's DIY project looks incredible, and it only took her a day. Picture:
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

After being inspired by gorgeous house decorations on Pinterest, Sarah Whiteley got busy foraging for branches so she could make her own - and the results are incredible.

Decorating the outside of your house used to be as simple as popping some fairy lights up, or maybe a ’Santa Stop Here’ sign. 

But one of 2020’s biggest trends (along with face masks and hand sanitiser), is going all out to give the front of your home a grotto-tastic overhaul.

When Sarah Whiteley, 41, discovered that recreating the celeb-favoured decorations would cost upwards of £250, she decided to make her own.

She told money-saving community that she managed to make the front of her house a winter wonderland for just £47 after foraging for branches and leaves in her garden, and visiting garden centres looking for cheap cuts. 

Read more: Mum reveals how to make trendy bauble wreath for less than £50

Sarah's cottage door looks incredible after her DIY project
Sarah's cottage door looks incredible after her DIY project. Picture:

Sarah said: “I didn’t want to pay a fortune for the ones I'd seen in the shops. The best, most realistic-looking ones cost £250. 

" Plus, I would have still needed to buy all the decorations to add to it. After doing a bit of research, I decided to get creative and was able to make my own for just £47. 

"Every time I look at it, I smile to myself knowing I saved some money. It feels really satisfying.”

Sarah lives with her husband Dean and children Iris, 10, and Ralph, 4, in East Yorkshire, and she got them and other family members to help with her creative vision.

She explained: “I have always been a bit of a wheeler dealer, buying and selling things on Facebook Marketplace.

“I’ve sent Dean on all sorts or errands, from collecting a roll top bath from the middle of nowhere to picking up some full-sized mannequins which barely fit into his car. It has become a running joke between us.”

Read more: What to get your mum for Christmas... the ultimate gift guide

She started by putting the bushier foliage at the bottom of the arch
She started by putting the bushier foliage at the bottom of the arch. Picture:

Armed with festive arch inspiration, and some extra help from Pinterest, Sarah put her plan into action.

"We live next door to my mum and dad and my mum passes a lot of her gardening tips on to me. 

“I explained to her what I was thinking of making, and she wanted to help so we set to work.”

Sarah bought the metal arch from Amazon for £10 and positioned it around the front door, standing it in the plant pots on the doorstep to help steady it.

“I ordered some wet foam brick blocks online to use as a foundation for the foliage. 

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She bought a red wreath from a garden centre and chopped it up to create colourful accents
She bought a red wreath from a garden centre and chopped it up to create colourful accents. Picture:
She also worked in smaller Christmas decorations
She also worked in smaller Christmas decorations. Picture:

“These cost £1.29 a block and I needed about 20. Using garden string, I tied the blocks to the front of the arch. This took a few hours, which was a bit frustrating, as I always like to get things done as quickly as possible.”

Next, she went on the hunt for the all-important foliage.

“We are lucky that my garden has lots of foliage, such as fir trees, conifers, laurel, holly trees, and ferns. I simply started chopping away some of the overgrowth. 

"My husband had got me some secateurs for Christmas but when he spotted me hacking about with some scissors he took pity on me and gave them to me early.”

Foliage collected, it was time to dress the arch.

She said: “I started from the bottom using the larger, bushiest offcuts and worked my way up. 

"The pieces I used were slightly larger than I originally thought I would have needed, but they helped to give it the rustic effect I was looking for.

“Our local garden centre sells loose flowers and other odds and ends so I often have a stash of those at home. However, for this project I bought a red flower garland for £8 and cut it up to add a dash of colour to the arch. I secured the flowers with florist wire so they wouldn’t fly away in the wind.”

The twinkling fairy lights were leftover from last year, and for a touch of festive sparkle, Sarah used glitter spray on some of the foliage, which cost £3 from B&Q.

“I’m amazed by how well it turned out, as I haven’t done a project like this before,” she said.