How to make paper chains – a fun and festive craft to do over the holidays

Fancy making a paper chain? Read below to find out how, or, buy from our favourites instead!

Paper chains
(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

With so many Christmas decoration ideas available these days, we can sometimes overlook the classics that still look great! Paper chains were a simple way to create a decoration during the Victorian times, and we think they are still a winner!

Paper chains were first seen in the UK during the 1850s where they were used to decorate Christmas trees. In those days when money was scarce, newspapers were used to make them. We love this simple pared-back idea so we’ve decided to make our own from some Christmas wrap. 

You will need:

Paper chains

(Image credit: Sophie Warren-Smith)
  • Newspaper or wrapping paper
  • Glue or washi tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors 
  • Pencil or pen

How to make paper chains

1. Cut your wrap into strips, we did 3cm by 20cm as we wanted ours quite chunky. 

2. Take one strip and attach the two ends together, then pick up another and loop that into the first. Continue until you have the length you require. 

3. Drape around your tree, or use it as a garland across a fireplace, or hang them from one corner of your ceiling to another. 

The best paper chains (if your craft skills are questionable)

And if your homemade ones turn out not to be the glorious traditional Christmas decoration you hoped for, here are our best picks that you can just order online instead:

1. Add some pattern with paper chains

Paper chains

(Image credit: Cambridge Imprint)

Cambridge Imprint designs their own prints which are beautiful! In their online shop you’ll find stunning wrapping paper - in case you want to use it to make your own - Folk Art decorations, paper chains, Christmas cards, ribbons, tags and stickers. 

2. Go for a contemporary twist

Paper chains

(Image credit: Not on the High Street)

If you love paper chains but find them a bit flimsy, then consider these colourful beauties from Artbox. Made from recycled leather, they really are perfect if you want a modern twist on a trad decoration. You can have them personalised too and each piece is connected to the next with a brass coloured metal fastener for you to use. 

3. Use a kit for an easy DIY

Paper chains

(Image credit: Shop Floor Project)

There’s something therapeutic about sitting in front of the fire making traditional style decorations. These paper chain garland kits will look fabulous hung from the ceiling or used as a table centerpiece. Each of these five paper chain designs has a star or striped lining and have a classic print on the top.

4. Pick a fun design

Paper chains

(Image credit: Ginger Ray)

Festive jumpers have become synonymous with Christmas over the last few years so why not choose Christmas jumper shaped paper chain designs too! These fun chains come in two colourways and you get 5m of each one - plenty long enough to use as a Christmas tree decoration and you could even get the kids involved and see who can make the longest paper chain! 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 18 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie has a passion for flowers and colour and has recently launched an online styling course, Style with Blooms.