Christmas Mantel Decorating: Frosted Window Panes

Christmas mantel decorating idea that repurposes an old window sash to create the look of frosted window panes above a fireplace.

Christmas mantel decorating idea that repurposes an old window sash and tree branch to create holiday spirit above the fireplace.

I had the lyrics to the song, Christmas Waltz in my mind when I decorated my fireplace mantel this year for Christmas…

…Frosted window panes… Candles gleaming inside…

I know you have heard the song. Karen Carpenter’s version is probably the most popular.

I have had the window sash for a long time. It used to be painted pink and hung vertically for many years in the master bath in my previous house. I took it down about 10 years ago, but kept it even when we moved. I am glad I did since it fits perfectly horizontally over the fireplace mantel in my living room.

As you can see it is no longer pink, but I made it over using red chalk paint, a tree branch, red ornaments, ribbon and fake snow.

Christmas Mantel Idea Frosted Window Panes

To accent the sash, I added pine branches, chunky white Pottery Barn candles and needlepoint Christmas stockings along the mantel that was once the top of a dining room hutch that we repurposed into a mantel when we made over the fireplace last year.

Christmas decorating ideas for a fireplace mantel

I bought all the red ornaments at Walmart and the ribbon at Hobby Lobby. I found the pine boughs at Wegman’s. I found the tree branch when I was out on the lake, kayaking.  I saw it on the beach of an island and knew it would be perfect to attach to the window sash. I grabbed it and hooked it to my kayak and brought it home. 

Christmas stocking DIY ideas

The Christmas stockings were the first ones that Ed and I had when we first got married. I haven’t used them in a while, but since I am decorating with red this year, I unearthed them from a Christmas bin. To give them a trendy update, I made tassels using red yarn and tied one onto the hook on each stocking. 

Display ideas for Christmas ornaments.

You know I love candle glow. When the candles are lit, the mantel takes on a totally different feeling. If you don’t want to use real candles, Pottery Barn sells pretty amazing looking Flicker Flameless Candles.

Christmas decorating ideas for fireplace mantels

It is quite magical at night.  I sprayed spray snow in the lower right corner of each pane. To add the snow along the top of the tree branch, I brushed on white glue and then sprinkled fake flake snow over the top of the branch.

I made the tassels for each stocking 5 – 1/2″ long. I simply used a strand of yarn to wrap around each tassel in two different places to create the two rounded top tassels. Here is a basic tassel making tutorial

Living room holiday mantel decorating idea
Window sash decorating hacks

I made two simple wood stands using scrap pieces of wood to raise the sash and give it something to sit in on the mantel. You can see from this photo that the sash is leaning slightly against the fireplace.

Creating this holiday mantel was not hard, but to help you better understand how I made it all come together, I broke-down the steps in the tutorial below.

How to Paint a Window Sash for Decorating a Christmas Mantel

I found my window sash in curbside trash, but they can be found in all sizes for a few dollars at most antique malls and flea markets.

Christmas mantel decorating idea that uses an old window sash and tree branch.

supplies needed:

  • Window sash or glass cabinet door
  • Red chalk paint – I used Folk Art Home Decor Chalk Paint in the color Imperial. It is from the craft store
  • Clear paste wax
  • Antiquing glaze or Black/Brown shoe polish or Dark Paste Wax
  • Sandpaper
  • Soft cloth or old t-shirt
  • Paint brush
Aging-Furniture-Painting-Technique using $2 chalk paint
  1. Paint sash using red chalk paint. Let dry.
  2. Sand surface with 100 grit sandpaper to distress finish along edges of sash.
  3. Clean off sanding grit with damp paper towel. Let dry.
How-to-age-a-painted-furniture-finish using inexpensive chalk paint

4. Wipe a thin coat of clear paste wax over painted areas. Buff with soft cloth. I used Fiddes and Sons clear wax, but Johnson’s or any clear chalk paint wax can be used. You want to add a clear coat of wax first, so that you will be able to manipulate the dark wax or stain on the finish.

If you don’t add the clear wax first and use the dark color stain or wax right on the paint you won’t be able to move the color around on the surface to get it exactly where you want it.

Holiday Mantel Decorating Idea that shows how to repurpose a window sash and turn it into mantel decor.

5. Next, wipe on a thin layer of dark wax or Antiquing Glaze. If you don’t have either of these, you can also use brown or black shoe polish to add the antiquing.

6. Rub the dark wax/glaze/shoe polish over surface and then buff to a shine with a clean cloth.

Christmas antique red or vintage paint treatment

If you want the finish darker, add another layer of the dark wax or shoe polish and buff.

Pottery Barn pillar candles on a Christmas mantel

How to Make a Window Sash Stand

How to make a stand for a window sash

I made two stands using scrap pieces of wood.

supplies needed:

  • 2″ x 4″ cut into four – 5 inch pieces
  • 2″ x 2″ cut into two – 5-inch pieces

To make the stand,  I used two screws to sandwich a 5″ long, 2″ x 2″ in between two 5″ pieces of a 2″ x 4″. If you look at the ends of the finished stands, they look like the letter “H”. I painted the stands in the same way I did the sash.

Christmas decorating repurposing hack using a window sash

The sash sits right into the center of the stands.

How to Attach Tree Branch to Window Sash

How to attach a tree branch to a Christmas mantel window sash

supplies needed:

  • Drill and drill bit
  • Two, 2-1/2″ long screws

I centered the branch along the top of the sash and marked the branch and sash where the branch met the corners of the sash. I pre-drilled a hole in each corner of the sash and then drilled a hole on the mark I put on the branch. I screwed the screw into the pre-drilled hole in the branch and then into the drilled a hole in the sash. I repeated the process on the other end of the sash.

Christmas mantel decorating idea that uses a tree branch.

I left the screw exposed so that the branch sits away from the sash. This is needed so the ornaments will hang freely and not hit the sash.  I did not paint the screws since the fake snow I added hides them.

How to Add Snow and Tie Ornaments to Tree Branch

Christmas mantel decorating idea that uses an old window sash and tree branch.

supplies needed:

  • Thin ribbons
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Hot glue gun and glue stick
  • Fake snow flakes
  • Spray Snow
  • Scissors
  • White glue and small paint brush
  • Paper towels

Using a paint brush, I brushed on a thin layer of white glue and then sprinkled fake flake snow over the wet glue. Once it was dry, I simply tied the ornaments onto the branch using ribbon.

If you want more Christmas mantel decorating inspiration, here is what I did in for last year’s Christmas Mantel. Perhaps you want to go way beyond the mantel to all of my Christmas decorating ideas?

I also made a fireplace screen for my previous home using a window sash. You can find out how I did that in this post: Window Sash Fireplace Screen

Christmas mantel decorating idea that repurposes an old window sash to create a frosted window pane holiday mantel. #Christmasdecorations #ChristmasDIY, #ChristmasRepurposedDecor #TraditionalChristmasDecorations
Christmas decorated mantel using an old red window sash and ornaments

More Christmas Decorating Ideas:

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  1. Heather M. says:

    I love this idea, and how pretty it turned out. I especially love how easy it (seems) to add the frost effect and the weathered look. I think it would look even cuter if you “striped” the paint using tape to create the divisions and green or white chalk paint (white makes it look like a candy cane!). Thank you very much for sharing!

  2. I love this look! What type of hook do you use to hang the stockings?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joy – Perfect name for the season. :-) I used white screw-in cup hooks. You can find them at Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes or any hardware store. I screwed them in under the mantel ledge. It does create small holes when you remove them, but no one can see them. I have hung stockings this way for years in my previous house and now in my current house.

  3. Katy Beacher says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing your great talent!

  4. I think I’m the biggest fan of Christmas of all. :D I started preparing for this one two months ago :D I almost have all needed decorations, however, I just found some new great ideas here. So thank you so much!

  5. Lisa Marie says:

    You are SO creative and talented and this is SO CUTE!!!

    I hope you and your family have a WONDERFUL holiday season!!!

  6. Sharon Warren says:

    This is the cutest! And a great tutorial. Just love the repurposing, and that red!

  7. Thanks for sharing the detailed decoration in pictures you have even shared the minute details with the help of images really appreciate that thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you for always keeping it ‘real’ for us and showing step by step how you make your magic happen

  9. Debbie Mayfield says:

    Love it! So cute!

  10. Love your mantel Diane. Wish you could share a picture of what it looks like when the lights are dim in the room and the candles are lit. Did you needlepoint those stockings? They are beautiful. The choice of red and white is perfect and I really like the ornaments. Walmart carries some pretty Christmas decorations. Vikki in VA

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Vikki – Thanks – I do have a few photos of the candles at night, but they are grainy images, plus they don’t capture the candle light in all its glow. Let me look through them and see if one is clear enough and I will add it to the post. It is hard taking photos in dark. :-)

  11. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh what an adorable idea thank you for sharing your mantel is amazing

  12. Michelle Hanson says:

    SIMPLY STUNNING!! I just LOVE Your imaginative upcycles and oh the creativity!!
    It is so evident that Your home is truly YOU and it looks just gorgeous!!
    Thank You for sharing how to create these looks and styles in Our own homes
    and most importantly Your honest and humble approach to all You do!!
    So jellie of the ease and availability to so many products……Living on an Island
    does have it’s pitfalls however they pale in comparison to the joys and beauty
    of Island life!!
    Blessings from the North,
    xo Michelle

  13. Carla from Kansas says:

    I love because it is simple and home made.

  14. valarie sanford says:

    pure genius!

  15. mary heicher says:

    wonderful idea I really like this one :)

  16. I very much like this and am sending the link of this post to my friend. She has a lovely wood burning fireplace quite similar to yours and will love the rustic with a little glam too.

  17. So beautiful….Perfect!

  18. As usual Diane you are amazing!!! I am bored with the “I ran to the store, spent $$ on the latest marketing trend” Christmas decorating. You are so creative! Inspiring, tree branch floating, old window in garage….love that you take what you already have & recreate with it!

  19. Great mantel! Love the materials and the way you put it all together.

  20. Angelica K says:

    Such a great idea! Beautiful! Merry Christmas!

  21. Mary Boger says:

    Love this!! I have an old window that travels around my house, for at least ten
    years. It’s a useful thing. My family poked fun when I bring largish branches in
    the house. Lucky you to find a notch branch. The red and white and snow is
    so spirit lifting!

  22. Fresh and unique! I love it all.

  23. I really love this look! My fireplace is very jealous! I need to go on a hunt for a window pane and doll it up like this! Thanks for the tips and great photos!