How to String Cranberries for Christmas Tree Decorations

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To create a crimson, fresh-from-nature garland for your Christmas tree, you need a string or thread, a needle, and, of course, cranberries. Thanks to cranberries' wax-like coating, your garland will retain its loveliness through the season. Like other fruits, people and pets shouldn't eat the lingering berries. When you take down your tree, hang the cranberry decoration outside for winter birds, who will digest them just fine.

Things You'll Need

  • Large-eyed needle, such as an embroidery needle, per person. Give any young helpers plastic craft needles.

  • 1 12-ounce bag of cranberries for every 5 to 6 feet of garland.

  • String, heavyweight thread or waxed dental floss. To more easily down the needle and thread, on the needle and thread, or use waxed dental floss to string them.

Tip

  • To make the cranberries slide more easily down the needle and thread, rub beeswax on the needle and thread, or use waxed dental floss to string them.

Warning

  • Uncooked cranberries are hard, and, like nuts and hard candy, they present a choking hazard to children under 4 years of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Keep the cranberries out of reach of young children, unless one-on-one adult supervision is provided.

Prepare the Cranberries

  1. Choose cranberries
    that are hard, and discard those that are soft or have bruises, tears or
    mold.


  2. Place them in a sieve and wash with water.
  3. Dry them with a dishtowel or paper towels.

Warning

  • Cranberries stain. Keep them away from items you don't want tinted a vibrant cranberry red.

Calculate String Length

Step 1

With the ball of string in hand, begin on an uppermost branch, unwinding it as you bring it down and around the tree, resting it toward the ends of branches. Use the same method you would to hang other types of garland, creating loops as you go around the tree from top to bottom.

Step 2

Mark the string once you reach the bottom back side of the tree. Add about 4 extra inches to allow for tying knots after stringing. Mark and cut.

Step 3

Measure the string with a tape measure, and write down the measurement for future use or if you're making more than one garland.

Tip

  • If you plan to string a single garland with others, which means you will cut the string into shorter strings, begin with a longer string, allowing an extra 4 inches for each so you can knot and tie them together.

Thread the Berries

Step 1

Knot the bottom of the long end of string, as you would when sewing, to prevent cranberries from slipping off. Alternatively, thread the first cranberry twice, and tie a knot, as Better Homes and Gardens suggests.

Step 2

Insert the needle into the stem end of the cranberry, pushing it through the berry and out the opposite end, taking care not to prick your finger.

Step 3

Slowly slide the cranberry to the bottom of the string.

Step 4

When you've strung the cranberries within about two inches from the top end, remove the string from the needle, and tie a large enough knot to secure the berries.

The cranberries should dry nicely and add beauty to your Christmas tree for a few weeks. When you take down your tree, hang the garland outside for the birds. While birds are attracted to red, cranberries are not among their favorite berries. They will eat them when hungry, but to make the garland more attractive to birds and festive as well, attach millet with red bows to the garland. Use a biodegradable product, such as wool yarn or paper ribbon, for the bows.

  1. For outdoor usage, string cranberries or any edible decoration on cotton or another type of [biodegradable string](http://www.clemson.edu/extension/natural_resources/wildlife/publications/trim_a_tree_for_wildlife.html).


    * To save money and
    add a pretty design, alternate cranberries with popcorn, stringing about one
    cranberry for every four or five kernels of popcorn. Use natural, not
    microwaveable popcorn and a fine needle.

    * Or, to make a [red and green garland](http://www.bhg.com/christmas/crafts/garland-with-cranberries-limes/), **add slices of lime** to
    your cranberry garland; both will dry nicely and last about three
    weeks.

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