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.


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.

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.

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!

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

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

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.

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!

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  1. MaryJo Materazo says:

    Oh I love this so much! I just finished a nutcracker tablescape last week and I left some of them unfinished. I am pinning this for next year. Such a fabulous idea and they came out great. Merry Christmas! XO- MaryJo @ masterpiecesofmylife.com

  2. Creatively Beth says:

    Such an AMAZING upcycle, Marieza! I love rub and buff but never thought to basecoat with a dark color first!
    Don’t forget to join us over at the Creatively Crafty Linky Party every Wednesday through Sunday
    Followed and Pinned!
    Creatively, Beth

  3. Your mantel is SO pretty!! What an amazing display. All of those nutcrackers sure make for a dramatic scene and it’s just lovely for the season. Merry Christmas! Rachel @ The Antiqued Journey

  4. Julie Briones says:

    These nutcrackers are just lovely, Marieza. And I love how you styled them at attention along your mantel! Pinned, and I’m delighted to be featuring your post at Tuesday Turn About this week.

  5. Barbara at Mantel and Table says:

    Oh this is totally darling! What a great idea, and you pulled it together so beautifully! I love the faux brass paint job on the nutcrackers, and the minimal style is lovely! And the matching wreath and garland — you hit it out of the park! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving my friend!

    1. Barbara at Mantel and Table says:

      Oh oops – forgot you already had your Thanksgiving! Well, hope you have a wonderful weekend! 😊

      1. Just between us, I kind of wish we had Thanksgiving at the same time! In Canada it’s a distant memory by now but I guess that rids us of the guilt when decorating for Christmas super early, lol!

    2. Aaaw, your kind comments always make my day, thanks Barbara!

    3. Jeannette says:

      Simple and easy on the eyes. Beautiful!

  6. Very cute! I did that last year but in all white. I bought dollar tree nutcrackers (yes plastic), glued then to an upside down dollar tree small glass bowl (3 in a pack I think, maybe 2) and painted them with flat white primer. My decor was all red and white. Minus the primer, which I already had on hand, only $2.50 each.
    Nutcrackers are so fun! They inspire creativity! Your mantle is very pretty!

    1. That sounds exquisite, Teresa! And so creative! You are more that welcome to share a photo or two on the Facebook group called “Home with Marieza sharing group for members”.

  7. where can i buy the garland? Beautiful mantle. Are you accepting comments?

  8. where can i buy the garland? Beautiful mantle.

    1. Oh my goodness, I completely forgot to link any garland! So sorry, Kathleen. The first one I got from Michael’s a couple of years ago. The pre-lit one is from Canadian Tire. I assume you are in the US and that doesn’t help you much? Give me a minute to find a few, I’ll let you know asap.

  9. Walter Jackson says:

    I love the nutcracker idea. I will have to knit one of them a South African scarf. We like to bring in some of our heritage for Christmas.

    1. Ha Ha! That sounds like a great idea! We have one that looks like a Canadian Mountie.