How To String Cranberries (DIY Cranberry Garland)

Stringing cranberries for Christmas trees is a tradition that probably began back in the 1840’s with the earliest Americans who decorated their trees with fruits, nuts, and candies.  I prefer a simply decorated tree – some white lights and some sentimental ornaments are all I really want or need.  This year, I thought it would be fun to sit down with the kids, listen to Christmas music, and celebrate traditions past by making our own cranberry garland.

Here’s how we did it…

The materials are pretty simple – cranberries, string or twine, and an embroidery needle.  I used embroidery needles because they are blunt, and I didn’t want the kids sticking themselves, but really, you could use any good, thick needle.  You need something that can hold its own as it pokes through the cranberry.

How to thread your needle:

1.  Push the string through the needle and pull through so the ends of the string meet.  I made each little garland about three feet long (and tied them together later), so you will need approximately six feet of string for each three foot garland.

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2.  Make a knot or two at the end so the cranberries do not fall off after they are threaded.  I found that my knot was a better thickness if I doubled up my string by bending it over a few inches and then knotting it.

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I experimented with poking the needle through the end of the cranberry and the side.  In the end, I don’t think it makes any difference, but I did make most of my garland by poking the needle through the side of the cranberries.  (I just felt like it looked better.)

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Side note:  If you are still worried about the needles even though they are blunt, you can buy a plastic version.  I had some of these on hand so I let the kids use them.

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While you are threading the cranberries, you may notice some soft cranberries in your bunch.  I placed a white bowl on the table so the kids and I could put those in there as needed.  Mushy cranberries do not thread well and will make a big mess!

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We used three bags of cranberries plus a few we had left over from Thanksgiving, and it made 12-14 feet of garland, which is a fine amount for a seven foot tree.

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This is great for fine motor skills too if you have little ones!

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**Make sure you leave enough thread at the end of your cranberry garland to tie a good knot and still have enough left over to tie the garlands together. **

Once we were done and had used all of the cranberries, we joined all of our three feet pieces to make one big garland!

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The kids were so proud of their work, and there is something really sweet about having something fresh and handmade on the tree.  Next year, popcorn!

Written by Grace

3 Responses to “How To String Cranberries (DIY Cranberry Garland)”

  1. Sara December 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Looks great! We actually string popcorn and cranberries. Three pieces of popcorn then one cranberry. I think the tree looks naked without it.

    • Grace December 31, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Hi Sara, how cool! I will definitely try that next year! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I hope you have a great new year! Grace

  2. Allison December 12, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    How long do they last since theyre made of real cranberries? Just for the season or can you store them and use them again?

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