Make your own cranberry and popcorn garland as an all-natural way to trim the holiday tree, or for a tasty treat for the birds outdoors during months when food may be scarce. Use fresh cranberries and unsalted, unflavored popcorn, whether you're making the garland for indoor or outdoor use.
There's a good chance you already own most of the supplies you need to make a cranberry and popcorn garland, in addition to fresh cranberries. Select a strong thread, using a natural fiber such as cotton if the garland is for the birds. A sturdy sewing needle, scissors and popped plain popcorn round out the supplies for the most basic garland.
Making the Garland
Unwrap the thread so it's a bit longer than you'd like to make the garland, and cut it at this length with scissors. Tie a knot in one end and thread a needle onto the other end, leaving several inches of excess thread dangling out the eye of the needle. Push the needle through a popped popcorn kernel, and then push the popcorn down the length of thread until it reaches the knot. String on four or five pieces of popcorn, then a fresh cranberry, repeating with four or five more pieces of popcorn and another cranberry until you reach the end of the string. Adjust the amount of popcorn between cranberries based on the length of garland or the amount of berries and popcorn you have on hand. Tie another knot at the other end of the string after filling it with berries and popcorn.
Deck out your garland by adding other natural elements to it, such as raisins, acorns, dehydrated citrus fruits or apple slices. Tie ornament hooks onto each end to make the garland easier to hang. If you're using the garland outdoors, stick with items the birds and squirrels can eat, such as raw, unsalted peanuts in the shell, acorns or apple slices.
Preserving the Garland
While the cranberries may last for weeks on their own before rotting or shriveling up, a coating of a clear spray sealant such as polyurethane makes them last even longer. Popcorn garland does not require a preservative, although it should be kept away from moisture. Do not hang the garland outdoors if you've sprayed a sealant or any chemicals on it, as these may make it toxic to wildlife. Likewise, do not hang a preserved garland -- or any garland, for that matter -- indoors in an area where pets or young children may be tempted to eat it. For best results, remake your garlands each year, because storing them for most of the year may damage them or may tempt rodents or insects to the storage area for a snack.
- Photo Credit Alexandra Grablewski/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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