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Been wondering how to make popcorn garland for nature-inspired decorations or earth-friendly natural Christmas decorating ideas for kids? This easy, old-fashioned cranberry popcorn garland is not only beautiful and charming for stringing on the tree, but is perfect for DIY natural Christmas decorations. Make homemade Christmas decor ideas easy and quickly with kids this year with this beautiful cranberry popcorn garland!
I love this as one of our DIY christmas tree ideas because it forces us to slow the holiday down, enjoy some family time, and create organic Christmas decorations!
It’s a fun preschool christmas craft all the way up to teens (and even adults)!
This will become one of your favorite homemade Christmas decorations (perfect for rustic Christmas decorations!).
(So, skip that artificial popcorn garland stuff and use this festive and traditional holiday craft instead!)
Why do you put popcorn on the Christmas tree?
Popcorn and Cranberry Garland History
The origin of the practice of putting popcorn on the Christmas tree is not really known. However, many think that it’s carried over from the practice of German’s decorating their trees with fruit. Because the Christmas tree tradition was foreign to the United States, many people did not have things to decorate the trees. So, they used what was affordable and in their house—which included things like popcorn and cranberries, as well as fruit.
Nature-Inspired Christmas Decorations
Popcorn and Cranberry Garland
Before we get to how to make popcorn garland and how to string popcorn on a christmas tree, let’s answer some common questions (FAQs) that will REALLY help.
Be sure to read through them BEFORE you get started.
We recently tried to make popcorn and cranberry garland at an event and the popcorn kept breaking and it was so frustrating!
We’re going to tell you how to get popcorn to stay on the string without falling off!
How do you make Christmas garland popcorn if the popcorn breaks?
Popped corn breaks more easily when it’s fresh.
(What?! I. KNOW.)
If you’re trying to string garland with popcorn that keeps breaking and falling off, it’s probably because the popcorn is too fresh.
It’s best to pop your popcorn 24-48 hours ahead of time and let it sit.
We’ve used this brand of popcorn maker that we absolutely love. It still has that yummy (oil) taste that microwave popcorn misses and it’s fast, easy, and fun to watch! (So if you need to quickly pop more popcorn for your garland, it’s no problem!)
What kind of popped corn do you use for popcorn garland?
White popcorn has smaller kernels than yellow popcorn. If you’re going to use the popped corn for Christmas tree garland, go with the yellow popcorn kernels. The larger size makes stringing the garland easier. You should plan on popping a lot of popcorn if you are going to string your entire tree. (It takes a lot to make one long string.)
What kind of string do you use for popcorn garland?
Any thicker, strong threading string (like waxed cotton thread or nylon) will work for your popcorn garland.
Many people also use dental floss string that is coated or thick thread that is rubbed with beeswax. The coated floss or beeswax on the thread will make the popcorn, cranberries, dried fruit (or whatever you put on your garland) slide down the “string” better.
How long does popcorn garland last?
Classic popcorn garland alone (with nothing else on it) will last the entire time you have your tree up.
How long will cranberries last as a garland?
Cranberries will last on garland between 7-10 days. So, if you are going put cranberries on hour popcorn garland (or use them in other holiday decorations), be sure that you make them close to your event or closer to Christmas. You can always make long strings of popcorn garland and then, closer to Christmas, make a few shore strings with cranberries that you string on the tree later.
Can you save popcorn garland?
You can save your popcorn garland (and even preserve it for next year) by spraying it with a craft sealer.
IMPORTANT: IF YOU DO THIS, YOU WILL NEED TO KEEP IT AWAY FROM KIDS AND PETS (INCLUDING BIRDS OUTSIDE) SO THEY DON’T THINK IT IS EDIBLE.
If you don’t glaze your popcorn garland with anything, then you can use the popcorn and cranberry garland for birds!
Before the cranberries go bad, take the garland out and hand it on the limbs of a tree. The birds will enjoy the extra munchies for the winter!
How do you hang garland on a Christmas tree?
The easiest way to hang garland on a Christmas tree is to string the garland in shorter strands (and not one long string). That way you can easy move the garland around.
I find it easier to put this kind of garland on last since sometimes the popcorn can be fragile.
Gently lay the popcorn across the limbs in varying places going down the tree.
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HOW TO MAKE POPCORN GARLAND
So, how do you string popcorn and cranberries for Christmas?
- Popcorn (24-48 hours old)--1 popped cup for every 2-3 feet of string
- Fresh Cranberries
- Large Needle (with large eye)
- Thread (waxed cotton, nylon, or wax coated dental floss)
- Pop corn and allow to sit for 24-48 hours so that it doesn't break easily.
- Cut 12-24 inches of thread/string.
- Thread string through needle, knotting the end.
- Take a piece of popcorn and stick needle into the kernel portion of the popcorn. Gently push the popcorn all the way down knot on the end.
- Gently thread a cranberry onto the string and push all the way down, to the piece of popcorn near the knot.
- Repeat process, making any kind of pattern that you like. For example, three pieces of popcorn, then one cranberry, then three more pieces of popcorn, etc.
- Fill the string with popcorn/cranberry until about 1-inch from the needle. (You need to leave room to knot the end with the needle.)
- Cut the string right at the base of the needle and knot it.
- Repeat the process until you get the number of popcorn garland strings that you want.
- Carefully lay/drape strings onto Christmas tree.
Children’s Christmas Books
These Christmas tree books are great with this craft!