A fresh cranberry garland is a classic choice for DIY Christmas decor. With their beautiful crimson color and natural shine, fresh cranberries add an all-natural pop of color to your Christmas tree.
Cranberry garlands are easy to create yourself, and any children old enough to safely handle a sewing needle can help with this DIY project, too.
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Fresh and frozen cranberries both work well for a Christmas garland, but offer different advantages and disadvantages. Frozen cranberries create much less mess while you thread them onto the garland. They’re a little tougher to pierce with a needle, and naturally your fingers will get cold if you choose to work with frozen cranberries. Fresh cranberries are easier to thread but yield their juice when you pierce them, which can make a mess and cause potential stains.
The project is straightforward, but this tutorial will help you select the best tools and technique to create a long-lasting berry garland with minimal mess or fuss.
Things You'll Need
Waxed dental floss, fishing line or heavy sewing thread
Plastic or wooden beads or buttons (two per garland; optional)
Fresh or frozen cranberries (approximately 1 cup per yard of garland)
Clean kitchen towels
Acrylic sealant spray (optional)
1. Wash the cranberries
If you are using fresh cranberries, transfer them to a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Gently shake off the excess water.
Spread out a clean kitchen towel and transfer the berries onto the towel. Gently pat the cranberries dry with a second towel.
2. Prepare for potential mess
Wear old clothing or cover your clothes with an apron in preparation for potential splashes and smears of cranberry juice. You might want to put towels or an old cloth down on the surfaces where you will be making the cranberry garlands.
3. Thread the needle
Pull out double the desired length for the garland of waxed dental floss (the ideal choice for easy threading), fishing line or heavy sewing thread. Thread the needle and pull the eye to the center of the length of floss. Smooth the double-thickness of floss with your hands a few times to reduce tangles and kinks.
Insert the two cut ends of floss through a plastic or wooden button or bead, and tie them with a secure knot. The button or bead will act as a stopper for the cranberries.
This step is optional. If you prefer to skip the bead or button, just tie a double or triple knot in the end of the string.
5. Thread the cranberries
Insert the needle through the center of a cranberry, and slide the berry along the floss until it's up against the bead or button. Cranberries only have tiny seeds inside, so thread them right through the middle for the most secure attachment.
Skip over any soft or discolored berries, and use only firm, nice-looking berries for the garland.
Continue threading cranberries in the same way, sliding them up to meet the previous cranberry. Stop when you have around 6 to 8 inches of floss remaining.
Cut off the floss from the needle with scissors. Thread the two cut ends of floss through a second button or bead and slide it up against the last cranberry on the garland. Securely knot the ends of the floss.
If you are not using beads or buttons, tie a double or triple knot as close to the final cranberry as you can.
7. Apply sealant spray
To keep a cranberry garland fresh, optionally apply an acrylic sealant spray to the finished garland. Work in a well-ventilated area, cover your surfaces, and spray a thin and even coat of sealant over the garland on both sides. Allow it to dry for about 12 hours before wrapping a Christmas tree into a garland.
This step is optional, and doesn't stop a fresh cranberry garland from deteriorating forever. However, if you tend to keep your holiday decor in place until New Year (or beyond—no judgment here!), it will keep your red berries looking lovely for longer.
Other Crafty Cranberry Garland Ideas
Use the same method to create other kinds of garlands, such as cranberries with popcorn, dried orange slices, raisins or cinnamon sticks. You might also want to add some sprigs of greenery, such as fresh eucalyptus greens and pine cones.
Got Leftover Cranberries?
It can be tricky to estimate how many feet of garland and how many bags of cranberries you need for tree decorations and other holiday home decor. If you find yourself with leftover fresh or frozen cranberries, try some of these delicious recipes:
Ready to String Cranberries?
Making your own strings of cranberries for a Christmas tree is fun, easy and inexpensive. The strings also look stunning thanks to the natural shine and crimson hue of cranberries, and they suit all styles of holiday decor. Next time you visit the market, why not pick up an extra bag of cranberries and get going on this great Christmas craft project?