La Crosse middle school staff members are coming to the aid of a truant teenager being bullied over hygiene.
When it comes to holiday decorations, it’s difficult to get more traditional than festive popcorn garlands on your Christmas tree. Making them is also an easy, budget-friendly way to get in the yuletide spirit — and it’s fun for the entire family! Children will especially delight in helping string the popcorn so pop plenty– some for the tree, and some for the decorating team.
EditMaking the Popcorn
Pop your corn. While you can pop it using any method you prefer, it’s easier to work with unsalted, unbuttered popcorn, so an air popper usually works best. If you don’t have one, you can also pop your corn in a pan or skillet on your stove top or put kernels into paper bag semi-closed in the microwave or 2:30 minutes . 
To figure out how much popcorn you’ll need for your garland, keep in mind that 1 cup typically covers 3 to 4 feet of thread.
If you pop the corn in pan, you’ll need to add a little oil to the bottom to help the corn cook. To prevent it from becoming soggy, place the corn on a paper towel-lined plate or dish when you remove it from the pan, so some of the oil will be absorbed.
When you’re in a hurry, you can use microwave popcorn or a pre-popped bag. Just make sure that it has no salt or butter.
Inspect your popcorn. After it’s cooled off, go through the kernels to find the best candidates for the garland. You’ll obviously want to eliminate any burnt pieces, but you may decide to remove broken or misshapen kernels from the batch as well. The best popcorn for garland has a full, almost flower-like shape. Set all of the best pieces of popcorn in a bowl so it’s easier to work when you start to string the garland.
Let it sit. Freshly popped corn can break easily, so it’s usually too fragile to thread. If you allow it to sit out for a day or two, it becomes less brittle, making it easier to string your garland.
For a more festive look, you may want to color your popcorn after it’s sat for a couple of days. Powdered food coloring works well to give the kernels a bright tint of color. You can go with the traditional Christmas colors, red and green, or custom color the popcorn to match the theme of your tree.
EditStringing the Garland
Choose your thread. You can use any sturdy thread that you like, but some work better than others. Heavy embroidery floss is a good choice because it’s strong and comes in a variety of colors. However, you can also use clear fishing line, which is even stronger and won’t show up if there are any gaps in the garland.
If you don’t have any thread or fishing line on hand, you can even use dental floss to string your popcorn. In fact, using a waxed variety can make the task even easier because the kernels will easily slide along the floss.
If you’re using thread for your garland, consider using red, green, or a shade that matches the decorating scheme for the rest of the tree in case it shows in any gaps between the popcorn.
Cut the thread. If you’re making a garland longer than 5 feet, it’s best to leave the thread attached to the spool so it’s easier to work with. However, cutting the thread in lengths of 5 feet or less makes them more manageable, and you can always connect them later by tying the ends together for longer garlands
Thread the needle. Thin needles typically work best when you’re making a popcorn garland. Choose one with a large eye too, so it’s easier thread. Make sure to tie a knot at the end of the thread to ensure the kernels don’t fall off when you begin to string them.
String the popcorn. You’ll want to push the needle directly through the center of the kernel and pull it through to the end of the thread. Continue adding popcorn until the garland is full. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the pieces of popcorn, so push the kernels all the way down to keep them tightly strung on the thread as you go.
Get creative with your garlands by mixing the popcorn with other items, such as fresh cranberries, dried orange, lemon, or lime slices, and cinnamon sticks. You can create striking patterns by alternating the other items with the popcorn. Fresh cranberries start to go bad after a couple of days, though, so you’ll want to spray the garland with shellac before putting it on the tree.
You can also dress up your garland by dotting the popcorn kernels with craft glue and sprinkling colorful glitter across them. Allow the glue to dry fully before placing the popcorn string on your tree.
Secure the finished garland. You’ll need to leave enough thread at the other end of the string so you can tie another knot to keep the popcorn in place.
If you plan to connect several shorter garlands, make sure that there is enough thread at the end of each so you can tie them together.
If you’re making a long garland and left the thread attached to the spool, you’ll need to cut it when you finish the string. Then just tie off the end with a knot as you would with a shorter garland to secure it.
EditDecorating the Christmas Tree
Add the garland after the tree’s lights. While your popcorn garland might seem like the finishing touch to your Christmas tree, it’s actually easier to hang it when there aren’t ornaments in the way. You should add your lights before the garland, though.
Place the garland on the tree. The best way to hang popcorn strings on your tree is to softly drape them over the branches rather than firmly stuffing them in gaps. Start at the top and carefully work your way down.
For a formal look, make sure to drape your popcorn strings in even, uniform loops.
For a more casual look, allow the popcorn strings to drape unevenly.
If you want your popcorn garland to stand out on your tree, consider doubling up the strings and draping them together over the branches.
Add ornaments. Once the popcorn strings are in place, you can hang your ornaments on the tree. However, you should take care when placing them among the garlands because you don’t want any large, heavy ornaments to rest on the popcorn and possibly break it.
It takes some time to string a nice long garland, but it can be saved and used for future holidays. Place it in a plastic bin with a lid that seals, taking care to gently coil the popcorn garland between layers of tissue paper. Choose a dry, cool location where you don’t have to worry about mice or other animals for storage.
If you don’t plan to keep your garland, hang it outside after the holidays for birds to enjoy. However, if you’ve added fruit and applied shellac to keep it fresh, you’ll have to throw it away because the chemicals may harm the birds.
Popcorn strings don’t just make great decorations for your Christmas tree. Hang them in other areas of your home where you want to add some holiday cheer, such as the fireplace, doorway, or banister.
Don’t try to eat the popcorn after it has been used for decoration. Your Christmas tree may have dirt, insects, or other debris on it that you don’t want to be eating.
Needles are sharp and the popcorn kernels can be very hard. You may poke your fingers a few times, so it helps to wear a rubber thimble to protect your skin.
If they’re helping with the project, watch children with the needle too. You may need more than one thimble on hand.
Popcorn garlands are usually not a good idea if you have pets, such as dogs and cats. The animals may be tempted by the popcorn, and wind up destroying your tree to get it.
EditThings You’ll Need
Medium size needle
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Make Popcorn in a Pan
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Pick out a Christmas Tree
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Get Ready for Christmas
EditSources and Citations
Videos provided by Kin Community
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Painting stripes on your wall is a great way to change up a room without doing expensive remodeling. Stripes look wonderful on an accent wall in a large room, or they can cover all of the walls in a small room, like a bathroom. When you’re deciding where and how to paint stripes, you should pick between horizontal or vertical stripes, and then you can mark the design on the wall with tape and begin painting!
EditPicking a Design and Base Color
Choose between horizontal or vertical stripes. Look around your room and decide where you’d like to paint the stripes. If you want the room too look longer or wider, opt for horizontal stripes. To make your ceilings look taller, go for vertical stripes that reach the top of the wall. If there are fixtures on the wall, like lights or windows, remember that they will interrupt the stripes and can lessen the visual effect.
Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to picking a pattern. You can even do diagonal stripes for an interesting and eye-catching design. You can also go out of the box with a chevron design or stripes of varying widths.
Pick 2-3 coordinating colors for the stripes. Once you decide on a design, choose a color scheme for the stripes. Opt for monochromatic warm tones, like red, orange, yellow, brown, cream, or tan, for an inviting and cozy space. If you want to make a bolder statement, go for cool, contrasting shades, like blue, purple, black, white, or silver.
If you’re having trouble figuring out your shades, consult a color wheel for assistance, or look at photos of striped walls online for some inspiration.
Remove all furniture from the room and lay down a drop cloth. If you’re painting the entire room with stripes, move as much furniture as possible out of the room. If you’re only painting one wall, push any furniture that’s on that wall into the middle of the room. Then, lay down drop cloth or plastic to prevent paint drips from staining your floor or carpeting.
You should also remove anything that’s hanging on the walls that you will be painting, like pictures or shelves. This will ensure that you get crisp, clean stripes with no interruptions.
Paint the entire wall with 2 coats of your base color. Choose the lightest shade in your color scheme for the base, since it will be easier to paint over a light hue than a dark one. Use a roller to apply the first coat of paint evenly, and let it dry for 24 hours. Then, apply a second coat with the roller for more coverage.
If the wall is already a color that’s part of your scheme, you don’t have to apply fresh paint.
Let the base coat dry for 48 hours before marking and taping. After you apply the 2nd coat of paint, let the paint dry completely before you begin the process of adding stripes. This will help to prevent chipping or peeling of the base color when you remove the tape from the stripes.
If the paint isn’t dry when you begin marking and taping, you can smear the paint and ruin your stripes. Be patient!
EditMarking and Taping the Stripes
Measure the wall and divide by the number of stripes to find the width of each. If all of your stripes are going to be the same width, use a tape measure to find the length or height of the wall. For vertical stripes, measure the length of the wall, and for horizontal stripes, measure the height. Then, divide the measurement by the number of stripes you’d like to have.
For example, if you have a wall that is long and you want to paint 16 vertical stripes, you would divide by 16 to find that each stripe should be wide.
If you’re doing chevron stripes, you’ll still measure the wall the same way to decide where to start the stripes.
Use a ruler to mark the sides of the stripes on the wall. Start at the top left corner of the wall and measure down for horizontal stripes or to the right for vertical stripes, measuring the width of 1 stripe. Mark a small “X” with a pencil, and measure the width of another stripe from that mark, continuing until you’ve marked and marked the edges of each stripe. Once you finish one side, move to the opposite side of the wall and repeat the process.
For instance, for 16 vertical stripes on a wall that is long, you would mark the edges of each stripe with of space between the marks along the top of the wall. Once you’ve marked all of them, you would do the same along the bottom of the wall.
For chevron stripes, you should also mark the high and low points of each stripe, keeping an equal distance between the top of the strip and the bottom of the stripe.
Connect the marks for the edges of the stripes with a level. Use a carpenter’s level or a laser level to line up the markings on the top and bottom or left and right side of the wall so they’re perfectly straight. Then, run your pencil along the level lightly to make a straight line, which will be the edge of your stripe.
If you don’t have a level, you can have 2 people hold the ends of a tape measure in place and carefully run your pencil along the tape measure to connect the markings.
If you’re painting chevron stripes, hold the level at an angle to connect the dots at the high and low points of each stripe, making a zig-zag pattern.
Lay painter’s tape over the lines and press down firmly on the tape. Lay the tape so that it sits just outside of the line that you marked for the stripes, creating stripes that are the correct width. This will ensure that none of the paint gets onto the base color and that all of the stripes are the correct width. Then, run your hands down the tape, pressing firmly to prevent the paint from bleeding under the tape.
If you’re worried about the paint bleeding, run the edge of a credit card firmly over the tape to press it down onto the wall. This will create a stronger seal.
For chevron stripes, your tape lines should meet at the high and low points of the stripe.
EditAdding the Stripes
Paint around the perimeter of the stripes with a mostly dry paint brush. Dip a medium-sized dry paint brush into the color that you want your stripe to be, and let the paint drip off of the brush until it’s mostly dry. Then, paint along the tape on the inside of the stripe to make a large rectangle, also known as “cutting in” the shape, which helps to prevent bleeding when you use a roller.
You only need to apply 1 coat of the perimeter paint to prevent bleeding before you use a roller.
Don’t be afraid to get some paint on the tape, but be careful not to get it on the areas where you want the base color to show!
Use a small roller to apply 2 coats of paint on the stripes for even coverage. Dip a small, medium-nap roller into your paint, and roll it out a little on a piece of cardboard or a paint tray. Then, use long, even strokes to apply the paint to the stripe, working on 1 stripe at a time. Once you’ve completed the first coat on all the stripes, let the paint dry for 24 hours and apply a second coat..
The smaller the roller, the more control you have over where the paint goes. Rollers create a smoother, fuller finish than paint brushes.
Let the walls dry overnight and peel off the tape. After applying the 2nd coat of paint, allow the stripes to dry almost completely. When the paint is still slightly wet, lift one end of the tape, and pull off the tape at a 45-degree angle from the wall. Work smoothly and quickly to avoid pulling off the paint or chipping the base.
If you pull off the tape when the paint is completely dry, you risk chipping or peeling the stripes.
If you do have some chips or peeling, wait until the paint is dry and then use a small paint brush to touch up the color as much as possible. You may need to re-apply the tape to get a crisp line for your stripes when doing touch-ups.
Plan out the pattern of your stripes beforehand to avoid having one stripe that is larger than the others.
EditThings You’ll Need
Basic paint tray
Ladder or stool
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Handpaint Knobs for a Room
EditSources and Citations
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