Nothing says “classic Christmas” like a homemade popcorn garland strung across a festive Christmas tree. Learn how to make a popcorn garland of your own with this easy step-by-step tutorial.

It’s full of helpful ideas and tricks, plus ideas on how to personalize and display your garland.

A popcorn string on a white marble surface.
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I love handmade touches throughout my home, especially during the holiday season. There’s something cozy and inviting about homemade that you just can’t buy from a store.

Popcorn strings can be customized to look exactly how you want it. String plain popcorn for a truly neutral garland that adds texture and fun to your decorating. Or you can string some cranberries in with the popcorn in any pattern that you want. The white popcorn and red berries look so fresh and festive together.

The best part is you don’t have to spend hours making something for it to feel special. My favorite crafts are the ones that are quick, easy, and still look beautiful. If you’re looking for a handmade Christmas, you need to check out natural Christmas decor ideas and 10-minute Christmas decorating ideas

Alongside popcorn garland, incorporate other homespun details into your holiday decor, like the best salt dough ornaments, cinnamon applesauce ornaments, and a dried orange garland. You’ll have your home feeling cozy, inviting, and festive in no time!

A string of popcorn garland on a white marble surface.


In the mid-1800s, colonists in Virginia adorned their trees with popcorn strings, following a tradition they had brought with them from Europe. German Americans dyed their popcorn different colors and added in fruit, especially cranberries.

The tradition took root and grew. Today, popcorn and cranberry garlands are considered part of a classic American Christmas. They are especially fitting if you’re trying to create a homespun, rustic feeling.

A bowl of popcorn next to a bolt of gold wire.

Where to Use Popcorn Garland

  • Christmas tree – A popcorn string is most popular strung loosely around a tree, along with lights and ornaments.
  • Mantel – One would also be charming swooped across a mantel, intertwined with greenery.
  • Staircase – Or how about a popcorn string draped on a garland going up a stair railing?
  • Wreath – A popcorn garland wrapped around an evergreen form makes a traditional Christmas wreath.
  • Outside – Wrap an outdoor evergreen tree to share a holiday treat with your animal friends.
  • What ideas do you have for a popcorn garland? I’d love to hear them!
A bowl of popcorn next to a bolt of gold wire.

Tools and Supplies You’ll Need

  • Needles
  • Strong thread – Embroidery floss, Waxed cotton or nylon, even waxed dental floss. (floral wire, fishing line, waxed dental floss)
  • Scissors
  • Shellac (optional)
  • Popcorn kernels – white or yellow
  • Fresh cranberries (optional)
A bowl of popcorn, and a woman's hands showing how to make popcorn garland.

How to Make Popcorn Garland

  1. Make popcorn. No butter or salt. Let sit for a couple of days in open air to become stale. Becomes less brittle and fragile. It makes it easier to thread!
  2. Rinse cranberries and toss out soft ones (optional- only if you’re using them.)
  3. Cut a length of thread at approximately arm-length (fishing wire, waxed floss). Thread the needle and tie a knot at the end.
  4. Decide on your pattern. 1 cranberry to 2-3 popcorn is a pretty combination, or simply use just popcorn as we did.
  5. Slide on. Easiest to put needle through biggest puff of popcorn. Can slide 2-3 down at a time.A bowl of popcorn, and a woman's hands showing how to make popcorn garland.
  6. Spray with Shellac. Let dry and turn over to do the other side.

Of note: this popcorn string is not edible, especially once sprayed with shellac. Ensure you’re displaying it out of the reach of young hands and pets!

A popcorn string on a white marble surface.

Tips and Tricks

  • For flexible popcorn garland, use needle and thread.
  • Floral wire eliminates need for needle. Popcorn slides right on.
  • Leave extra lengths of thread on each end, so you can tie strands together or secure them to the tree.
  • Floss stronger than thread, less likely to break.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of string do you use for popcorn garland?

You can use thread, fishing line, or floss. Thread string through a needle and gently push through the popcorn. Floss is the sturdiest, but will require a needle with a bigger eye.

Can you preserve popcorn garland?

Yes, when you’re done making your garland, spread over newspaper and spray with Shellac. Rotate garland so all of it gets sprayed.

What kind of popcorn do I use?

Use white or yellow kernels. You can pop them in an air popper or in a brown bag in the microwave. Just remember that it shouldn’t be buttered or salted.

A string of popcorn garland on a white marble surface.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you enjoy these simple little holiday projects as much as we do?


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