This year we are having a lot of fun decorating our new home for the holidays. New spaces to hang our beloved treasures and tons of opportunity to create new things! Our family wanted to try our hand at old-fashioned popcorn & cranberry garland with dried orange slices. Here are some tips we read beforehand & some we learned along the way:
• 2-3 bags of plain white microwave popcorn (no butter, extra flavor or salt). You could also pan fry kernels or use a popcorn machine but use very little oil. Air pop popcorn would work well too.
• 2LB. of fresh cranberries
• 4LB. bag of oranges
• Needle & thread (thicker thread works well). We used a size 2 crewel needle.
1. Pop your corn, the more stale the better so you could even pop it a day before you intend to string it.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 200°. Slice your oranges into 1/4″ – 1/2″ slices. Lay them on top of paper towels, then cover with towels and lightly press out the excess juice. Lay them directly on to your racks and bake for 3-4hrs. Turn them over every hour or so.
3. When the oranges are to your desired dryness remove them from the oven and place on them cooling racks. You could also use blood oranges, grapefruits or any citrus fruit for a variety of shapes and colors.
4. You are ready to start assembling! Thread your needle through any length of your sewing thread up to about 5ft. Anything longer gets hard to keep untaggled as you string. Tie a few good size knots at the end. You want to start each strand with a cranberry to avoid slipping.
5. Grab only the hardest cranberries to thread as the riper ones will bleed all over your pretty white popcorn.
6. Thread your starter cranberry and then have at it! Go for a balanced pattern (cranberries x3, popcorn x3, orange slice, repeat) or random fun (berry, popcorn x4, orange slices x2, berry). The possibilities are endless and the results are always beautiful so it doesn’t really matter.
NOTE: If littles are helping, a reminder that needles are sharp and can poke is a good idea!
7. Finish your pattern and tie a few good knots to end it.
8. Optional: you can spray your garland with spray acrylic to preserve. You can find matte or if you prefer a glossy finish.
9. Hang wherever you see fit with pride!