“Garland” for Your Next BBQ!

July 1st, 2010

If you’re having a big BBQ this weekend, or just love to entertain during the summer, here is an idea for a fun (and very functional!) kind of garland!

You can do this project for just a few dollars and less than an hour of your time. Gotta love that! :)

Think of possibilities here! We’ve placed napkins, plastic utensils, and even corn on the cob trays inside each pocket.  But we’re sure you can think of even more ideas for this type of garland! We’d love to hear your ideas so leave a comment here on the blog if you’ve been struck with an ah-ha moment!

The following steps are to make one pocket.  We made 5 pockets for this garland, but make as many as you need!

Materials:  1/2 yard clear plastic vinyl (will make plenty of pockets!), ric-rack trim, double-fold bias tape, 1 sheet of computer paper, sewing machine, thread, and scissors; optional: ribbon for embellishing

*Note: This is the kind of plastic vinyl that comes on a large roll (usually 54″ wide) and is often used to cover couches or made into a tablecloth. It can be purchased at just about any fabric/craft store.

Step 1: From clear plastic vinyl, cut a rectangle 7 x 16.5″.  Cut 8″ of ric-rack.

Step 2:  Place ric-rack along the top edge of the 7″ side of vinyl.  The ric-rack will be slightly longer than the vinyl. That is ok. We did that so it will fold over to the other side, making a nice, finished edge. (*Note: We have placed a gray line around the vinyl so that the photo is more clear. We’d also suggest using the same color thread across the ric-rack as the color of the ric-rack. We used 2 different colors for clarity in the photos.)

Step 3:  Take a piece of white computer paper and lay it down on the bed of the machine.  Then place plastic and ric-rack over the paper and sew a straight-stitch down the middle of the ric-rack.  The paper just helps the project move smoothly while you are trying to keep the ric-rack in position.  Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end.

Step 4:  Carefully remove paper from the back of the vinyl. This will be easy to do since you made a straight stitch.

Step 5:  Bring the bottom of the plastic vinyl up towards the top.  Stop 1″ from the top and keep folded.

Step 6:  Finish the pocket by sewing 3 sides as indicated by the red arrows.  We used a zig-zag stich to complete the 3 sides. (*Note: We did not use the computer paper underneath while sewing because the paper will not tear away nicely when you have done a zig-zag stitch.)

Step 7:  Once you have the number of pockets you’d like, lay them out on a table with about 2″ between each pocket.  Take your double-fold bias tape and place along the top of each pocket and pin.  Sew together and before you know it, you have a string of pockets ready to decorate your next bbq!  Embellish with extra ribbons and fill those pockets!

What ideas do you have for this garland? Make a comment below and let us know!

And if you’d like some super-fun, super-crafty, super-sewing activities to do with the kids this summer, check out our new DVD: Summer Crafts for Kids. Click here for more info.

  • Cheryl Croshaw
    July 1, 2010 at 7:10 am

    What a cute idea! Ooooh, do I have time to make one before Sunday?! Look out sewing machine, here I come!

  • July 1, 2010 at 7:30 am

    How about filling them with bunches of fresh herbs and flowers

  • July 1, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    How cute! It would make a great house warming gift.

    I think I would make one for Halloween. Use orange, yellow, black and white ribbons.. you could fill with candies or make the shape of candy corn and fill with those.

    The ideas are endless.


  • Mariana
    July 1, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    This is a great idea … in this way I can decorate my deck and save space on the tables … and each of the guests can help themselves …

  • July 1, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you, so much, for the tip about putting the paper under the project to make it move smoothly. I worked with vinyl before and had an awful time with it sticking to the machine. I will now try it again. Thank you!

  • July 1, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    This has so many possibilities. It would be great for birthday parties too.

  • Lesli
    July 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Oh I LOVE this!! So many different possibilities with this one!! Yay!!

  • VickiT
    July 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Oh this is an awesome idea! I’ve sewn with vinyl before and have used heirloom stabilizer which is about the size of adding machine tape rolls (if you are older like me you’ll know what those are ha) but tissue wrapping paper works just as well and rips much easier than typing/copy paper does. Just a hint.

    Also, this would be super cute at a party for a way to hang up pictures. Imagine a graduation party and making this to hang the garland and show off all the different school pictures or others through the years prior to graduation. That would be super cute and would mean too that you don’t have to put any tape or anything else on the back of the pics.

  • memismom
    July 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    This is completely cute! We CONSTANTLY have a dozen or so kids over to swim and for lunch. I believe I will adapt the colors to coordinate with our pool decorations and simply refill as needed! THANKS!

  • Sandra
    July 2, 2010 at 1:24 am

    So cute! Drinking straws could go in one; another could hold little candy favors tied with ribbon and one of those cute USA flags. Everyone is right…the ideas to use these garlands are endless!

  • July 2, 2010 at 2:01 am

    This is a great idea!! I’m trying to figure out how to utilize this at school as I am a teacher. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Lanelle
    July 2, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Speedy way to use for 4th would be to use ziploc bags, colored tape to stabilize, & curly ribbon or other ribbon to decorate. Then you will have more time for the next occasion to make the above. Awsome concept!!

  • Shana
    July 2, 2010 at 4:22 am

    I agree with paoli96, I’m a teacher as well and when I saw this I immediately thought about how I could use this at school! Right now I’m thinking about using these as giant pockets for center items with velcro on the back! Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea =)

  • July 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm

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  • Cindy
    July 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    You could also make the pockets the size of copy paper and put pictures or letters printed out on the computer in each one to say “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” or whatever you want.

  • July 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm

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  • July 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Very cool idea. Bookmarking for later…

  • July 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Ok this is brilliance…I featured ya’ll today. I am just thinking of making one up in neutral colors with lots of pockets (maybe smaller in size) and then you can cut out paper to fit inside to spell out Happy Birthday or Christmas or something like that changing out the colors as need be. I totally love this ladies.

  • July 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    This is a really really cute idea! I want to try it! visiting from infarrantly creative :)

  • Renee
    July 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    This is adorable!!! I’ve actually got some of this plastic sitting for a project I’ve been trying to the find the time to try. I’m pretty new to sewing so I was wondering what size needle you have used in your machine?

  • July 4, 2010 at 1:02 am

    P.S. I also stumbled this!

  • July 5, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Love this idea! How clever!

  • July 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm

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  • July 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Okay crafty people, I have a question: I have family that come over for Sunday dinner every other week and this idea is PERFECT for us because we are always scrambling for utensils and napkins and this will just organize it so well AND help me remember to always have some! :) So this is my problem: do you have an idea (maybe a whole diff project) for what to do with the cups? We all have plastic cups w/our names on them, do you have an idea for how to display/store those in a cool way we could set out along with this garland for easy access during Sunday dinners and also for storage afterwards? Thanks for your help!

  • July 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Awesome idea! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing such a great tutorial!

  • Suzie
    July 7, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Hey Lisa, Tie up another ribbon (matching the garland) you could even tie ribbons intermidently (to match the garland) to add a crafty look. Then use clothespins to clip the cups to the line with the names facing out so people can find their cups.

  • admin
    July 7, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Hey Suzie! What a FANTASTIC idea to do with the cups!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing that idea with Lisa and with all of us! I’m going to definitely add this to my garland! -Kris

  • Elizabeth Keller
    July 8, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Love this idea! Never thought of it and you can make these pockets in any size you need;o)

  • Mindy
    July 8, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Lisa, It really does not go along with the garland idea but I have seen where you get the cups and make the napkin and all of the silverware wrapped up and put inside the cup of a tray or in this caes as as Suzie had mentioned you can use a a clothspin and clip the cup to the garland.

  • July 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Very cute idea!


  • jules p
    July 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I absolutely love this idea. What a fab thing!!

  • Raeleen
    July 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    This is genius! I think I’ll make one to hang in my sewing room as art with different fabrics in the pockets. I love the idea for birthday parties!

  • Donna Cowan
    July 8, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    What a fun idea!! Great for a birthday party cook-out! I like the “serve yourself” idea. Keep those great ideas coming our way!

  • July 8, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I just finished a BBQ onight here…. Seeing this email and blogging…
    LOVE it!
    especially with kids this is great!!!!

    Love miranda

  • July 8, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Great idea for children’s toys too. Hang it in their room for added decor. Love it!

  • Enis
    July 9, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Oh, you ladies are just full of fun ideas! And this festive garland is yet another. I think it would be perfect for baby showers, birthday parties, and so on. How totally perfect for any get together!

  • July 9, 2010 at 6:57 am

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  • July 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    So cool and fun 😉 At first I thought that you used sheet protectors…till I read the instructions. Thanks for sharing, fondly, Roberta

  • sarah
    July 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I saw this and loved it. I thought about using it for our camping trips to Disney. I am going to tie it to the poles that hold the awning out on the camper. This will make it easy to always know where everything is and easy for the kids to grab what they need. I also plan on using the Disney ribbon that is at Joann’s.

  • Lynda
    July 11, 2010 at 1:53 am

    How cute is this garland. You can use this for so many things for so many occasions. Your ideas just get our creative juices flowing with every new epidose. Keep up the great work!

  • Julie
    July 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    That is so adorable and clever! Thanks!

  • Christy Frederickson Rees
    August 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I am going to buy stuff to make one right now. I saw this on Studio 5 today. I love this idea. By the way I was a student teacher up at Utah State when you were supervisors up there. I just quit my teaching job to be a stay at home mom. I taught for about 9 years. I love all of your ideas. Thanks!

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  • Paula Smith
    August 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Wow! I’ve been so busy this summer that I hadn’t taken time to look at this. Wish I had! We just had a Phineas and Ferb backyard beach party for my son’s 7th birthday. This would have been a great addition to the decor by the pool.

  • Linda Kinder
    May 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    This would be cute for the party favors at childrens parties. It would be a decoration until time for the child guest to leave and then they would get to have the contents of one pocket.

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