Hello, hello! We’re back today with the second installment of our 12-Days-of-Handmade-Christmas posts! Incase you missed the first one where we made salt dough ornaments you can find them here. But, on to today’s craft.
Phil and I both come from tinsel loving families. Thick bushey red and gold tinsel, stringy silver tinsel (which, lets be honest should have been replaced a while back), you name it, it is festooned on our families trees. But, true to our pledge to make our tree beautiful without buying decorations, and by making ornaments for minimal cost with things we have hiding around the house, we decided tinsel was out this year (plus, its a little bit bling for the theme we have going on).
So, instead we decided to try our hand at an all american favorite – the popcorn and cranberry garland. Now, I say all american because, at least in our experience, it really isn’t a holiday tradition which has found its way to the UK. Partly because we have absolutly zero access to cranberries which arn’t dried, and partly because …. well …. its just not a thing. But, we think they look super cute, so we decided to give it a go.
We did, however, have one small hiccup, namely the afore-mentioned lack of cranberries. So, we decided that rather than having a boring old plain popcorn string, we would instead raid my button box and see if we could find any cute jewel toned buttons we could substitute. The good news is I had a fair few buttons which fit the bill so we were all set! (And, yes, I plan to salvage the buttons after Christmas, as popcorn garlands only last one year, and it would be a shame to loose all those pretty buttons).
The garlands turned out super cute and we are really happy with them. Plus, there was something very therapeutic about sitting surrounded by popcorn, just threading it away for the tree. I think these will become a must have for future years
Anyway, enough chitter chatter. Here’s how we did it.
Popcorn and Button Christmas Garlands
All you will need to make these garlands are:
some corn kernals (or pre-popped corn works just as well),
an assortment of buttons,
a needle and some thread (I decided to use quilting thread — hmm, note to self, I should probably post on quilting soon, stay tuned! — as I figured it would be less likely to snap, but you could also just double up regular thread if you were worried).
1) Pop your corn – If you have bought corn kernals you will need to pop them first. You can do this in a microwave or popcorn maker, just follow the instructions on your popcorn packet. But, if you are like us and don’t own a microwave, just use a large sauce pan with a lid. Heat the pan to medium heat and add around two handfull of kernals. Then put the lid on quick and wait. After a minute or so your corn should begin to pop. Leave the lid on (important otherwise you will have to duck flying popcorn) and wait until you are only hearing about 1 pop every 2 or 3 seconds. Then carefully uncover (lots of steam will have built up, so watch out) and leave them to cool for a few minutes before you use them.
2) Pick your buttons – While the corn is cooling, have a sort through your button tin and find a few that work with your colour scheme, we chose a mixture of jewel tones from our ancient mess of buttons, to look a little like cranberries, but use whatever you have handy.
3) Thread your corn – All that’s left is to thread your needle with the thread and very gentle skewer each piece of corn and run it along the thread, slowly building up your garland. We used a small button as an anchor at the very end of our thread to stop the popcorn sliding off. Every 10 or so pieces of popcorn we added one of our buttons but just threading it on like our popcorn.
4) If you have any left over popcorn, make a tasty snack – there comes a point when a boy can only sit surrounded by popcorn and sewing thread for so long before he gets kind of hungry so at somepoint in the process Phil disappered with one of the bowls of popcorn into the kitchen and came back with it covered in caramelly goodess. Who, can blame him, our house smelled like delicious popcorn all afternoon!
So there you have it. Very easy, very cute and pretty cheap – all we had to fork out was £1.10 for a bag of popping corn. Everything else we had to hand.
Go ahead and give it a go, and don’t forget to share if you have any popcorn success stories (or, popcorn snack recipes, Phil would like me to add!)