Our Mantel is Decorated for Christmas: with Nutcrackers!

Our mantel is decorated for Christmas, and I can not wait to show you how cute it looks! I can’t even remember where the inspiration came from, but I decorated the mantel with nutcrackers! Lots and lots of nutcrackers.

I had to do a quick DIY project to give the nutcrackers a new look, but that’s part of the fun, right? Remember this blue Nutcracker I painted? It’s nothing like that! And this opulent red and gold Christmas mantel from last year? Nothing like that either!

This year’s mantle has a much simpler and cleaner look, and all the nutcrackers are painted one color: gold.

Creating an Army of Golden Nutcrackers

I searched for plain, undecorated nutcrackers and found a sweet deal on 12-inch ones in shades of pink and white. They came in packs of three. ( I bought three packs).

For a bit of variety, I added six small ones that are about four inches tall.

Pink and white wooden nutcrackers ready to be spray painted black

The easiest way would have been to spray them with gold paint, but I wanted them to have a little dimension than just one flat color.

Black spray painted nutcrackers


I used a flat black primer to spray all the nutcrackers. It took a few rounds to reach all the nooks and crannies.

Nutcracker mantel 004


To give the nutcrackers their gold finish, I applied Rub n Buff (antique gold) over the black base color.

Applying gold colored rub n buff metallic wax to black painted nutcrackers.


I brushed the gold wax over most of the black paint but didn’t work it into the carved details around the knees, wrists, waist, etc. After they were buffed, they looked even better than I imagined!

Dressing the Mantel

This year’s mantel is really minimalistic compared to last year’s. No foam covered with chicken wire stuffed with a gazillion picks and stems and wrapped in several garlands. I used only two pieces of garland!

Draping green garland over a fireplace mantel

The first garland curves loosely on top of the mantel as a base for the nutcrackers’ feet.

Adding clear hooks to a mantel to hang green garland on.

The second garland is pre-lit with a few warm white lights, and I wanted it to cover the mantel’s edge. I used small, clear command hooks to keep it in place.

Nutcracker mantel 007

After pulling the front garland straight to cover the edge, I pulled the garland in the back forward to fill the gaps between the golden soldiers.

Nutcracker mantel 008

Don’t they look amazing? With their shiny gold finish and a little black showing in places, you could almost think they were made of brass! I adore this faux brass finish!

Nutcracker mantel 013

I moved the nutcrackers around to stand as random as possible. A couple of gold ornaments placed between the garland pulled the look together.

Nutcracker mantel 009

I said I was keeping it simple, but the ends looked just a tad unfinished.

Nutcracker mantel 016

I added three oversized ornaments and a royal blue satin ribbon on one side, and it already looked so much more polished.

A mantel decorated for christmas with gold nutcrackers and green garlands

A wreath that matches the front garland on the mirror completes the look.

Faux brass nutcrackers and greenery on a white mantel.

Giving these nutcrackers a new look was super easy, and I think they look amazing.

Nutcracker mantel 018

Thinking of making your own golden nutcrackers? If you scroll down to the end of the post, you will find handy shopping links.

A mantel decorated for christmas with gold nutcrackers and green garlands

I always love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments what you think of my mantel decorated with nutcrackers.

Until next time, happy decorating!