Wondering how to make a popcorn garland (without popcorn breaking off!) or 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 or DIY minimalist Christmas decorations. Make homemade Christmas decor ideas easy and quickly with kids this year!
How To Make A Popcorn Garland On Christmas Tree
I love t DIY old-fashioned cranberry popcorn craft 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)!
How To Do Popcorn Garland
To make DIY popcorn garland, you’ll need:
- Fresh Cranberries
- Dried Oranges (optional if you’re making popcorn, cranberry & orange garland)
- Large Needle
IMPORTANT TIP: If you’re wondering how do you make Christmas garland popcorn if the popcorn breaks, don’t miss the best way to make popcorn garland so it doesn’t break below!
Do you dry cranberries for garland?
There is no need to dry cranberries for holiday garland. However, you can use dried cranberries on your Christmas popcorn garland. Both fresh cranberries and cranberries that are dried look great on a popcorn string, but using fresh cranberries will decrease the amount of time your DIY garland will remain good.
Keep reading for the full tips and homemade tree garland ideas…
How do you make a cranberry and popcorn garland last?
There are several ways to make your fresh popcorn garland last:
- Use only popcorn
- Use dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries
- Make the cranberry popcorn garland closer to Christmas (around 10 days before) and add it to your tree or mantle decorations
- Spray the garland with clear shellac craft spray
IMPORTANT: If you are making this as a cranberry-popcorn garland bird feeder craft or if you have pets or little ones who like to pull things off the trees (and put them in their mouths), DO NOT spray your holiday garlands with any type of spray for preserving the garland!
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. Gently lay the popcorn across the limbs in varying places going down the tree. I find it easier to put this kind of garland on last since sometimes the popcorn can be fragile.
But, before we get to how to make popcorn and cranberry garland step by step directions, let’s answer some common questions…
What is a popcorn garland?
Popcorn garland is a Christmas tree decoration and part of old-fashioned holiday decorating ideas. The homemade decoration is made out of popcorn threaded on a string to create a long garland that can be hung on a tree, from a fireplace mantel, or used in other Christmas decorations.
This will become one of your favorite homemade Christmas decorations (perfect for rustic Christmas decorations!).
(So, skip that Hobby Lobby garland / artificial popcorn garland / crochet popcorn garland / fake popcorn garland stuff and use these festive DIY popcorn Christmas decorations and traditional holiday craft instead!)
Read on for the cranberry and popcorn garland history!
DON’T MISS OUR CHRISTMAS PRINTABLE: HOLIDAY TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Why do you put popcorn on the Christmas tree?
Let’s cover a little of the history of popcorn garland and why do we put popcorn on Christmas trees…
Popcorn and Cranberry Garland History
You may be wondering what is the popcorn on Christmas tree meaning or what is the popcorn garland origin?
The origin of the practice of putting popcorn on the Christmas tree and exact popcorn garland history 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 (popcorn strands for Christmas tree), as well as fruit and even candles.
Nature-Inspired Christmas Decorations: Popcorn and Cranberry Garland
Before we get to popcorn garland DIY and how to string popcorn on a Christmas tree, let’s answer some common questions (FAQs) that will REALLY help with these homemade Christmas craft ideas.
Be sure to read through them BEFORE you get started on your popcorn chain Christmas garland.
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 string popcorn garland and a secret tip on how to get popcorn to stay on the string without falling off!
Keep scrolling for the DIY cranberry & popcorn garland secret, how to make a cranberry popcorn garland, and even information on how long does cranberry garland last!
After popcorn and cranberry garland for Christmas…
YOU’LL ALSO HAVE FUN WITH THIS HOLIDAY KIDS ACTIVITY:
How To Make Dried Fruit Garland (Stringing Orange Garland)
(Orange slices are great on your natural holiday garland with your cranberry popcorn, too! So be sure to try a popcorn cranberry orange garland and add it to your popcorn on a string Christmas decoration.)
How do you string popcorn without breaking it?
Our secret tip for stringing popcorn and cranberries: Popped corn breaks more easily when it’s fresh. 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.
Stale popcorn works better!
(This is an important how to make popcorn string for Christmas tip!)
We’ve used this kind 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!)
You can also make old-school stove top popcorn (learn how here) for this recipe.
What is the best popcorn for stringing and making popcorn – cranberry tree garland?
What kind of popped corn do you use for popcorn garland?
What is the best popcorn for 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, so be sure to measure out your length of the garland.
It’s a good idea to add a little extra length to your string of popcorn garland and fresh cranberry garland.
What kind of string do you use for popcorn garland?
Any thicker, strong threading string (like waxed cotton thread or nylon or even think florist wire) will work for your popcorn garland. Many people also use dental floss string that is coated, fishing line, or thick thread that is rubbed with beeswax for the best results.
The coated floss or beeswax on the thread will make the pieces of popcorn, cranberries, dried fruit (or whatever you put on your garland) slide down the “string” better, starting at the end of the string and sliding it down.
You can get coated string at a craft store or use some like this.
(You can use any sturdy popcorn string for Christmas tree if you don’t have any thing else.)
Be sure to put a large knot in the end of the string before stringing popcorns or using the air-popped popcorn.
LOOKING FOR MORE CHRISTMAS KIDS ACTIVITIES? YOU’LL ALSO LIKE EDIBLE CRANBERRY TREATS TO GO WITH YOUR CRANBERRY GARLAND FOR CHRISTMAS TREE IDEA:
Simple Sugared Cranberries
NOTE: We don’t recommend sugar cranberries for Christmas tree garland. A sugar cranberry Christmas garland will attract bugs!
What about how long do cranberry garlands last and how to make cranberry garland last?
How To Preserve Popcorn Garland
How to seal cranberry garland when learning how to make a cranberry garland…
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. If you don’t glaze your popcorn garland with anything, then you can use the popcorn cranberry garland for birds and for nature garland!
Before the cranberries go bad, take the garland out and hang it on the limbs of a tree.
The birds will enjoy the extra munchies for the winter (and you don’t have to worry as much about how long does a cranberry garland last!).
Making cranberry popcorn garland for birds and stringing popcorn for birds is one of our favorite parts.
If you do this, be sure you DO NOT use any popcorn oil, butter, or popcorn seasonings (including popcorn salt) for popcorn strings for birds.
IMPORTANT: IF YOU SPRAY YOUR GARLAND, YOU WILL NEED TO KEEP IT AWAY FROM KIDS AND PETS (INCLUDING BIRDS OUTSIDE) SO THEY DON’T THINK IT IS EDIBLE.
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. However, once you start adding things like fresh cranberries, you significantly reduce the amount of time garland will last to around 10 days.
You can learn how to preserve cranberry garland below…
Popcorn garland is perfect for a Little House On The Prairie Christmas Party Craft!
Will cranberry garland rot?
Yes, fresh cranberry garland will eventually rot. Don’t make it too early before Christmas or preserve it to make it last longer.
(Learn how to string popcorn and cranberries and preserve them below.)
Can you string fresh cranberries?
Yes, you can use fresh cranberries for stringing popcorn cranberry garland. Be sure to blot the cranberries with paper towels and use only firm cranberries uncooked.
Do you have to dry cranberries for garland?
Although you can dry cranberries for a dried cranberry garland, it’s not necessary. You can make stringed garland with fresh cranberries that haven’t been cooked. The Christmas tree with popcorn string using fresh cranberries won’t last as long.
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 your 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 shorter strings with cranberries that you string on the tree later.
ALSO CHECK OUT : HOW TO MAKE COLORED POPCORN FOR CHRISTMAS
OK, on to how to make popcorn berry garland and how do you string popcorn and cranberries for Christmas!
This is one of our favorite family holiday activities to do while watching family Christmas movies like this.
Here’s how to make popcorn Christmas garland…
HOW TO MAKE A POPCORN GARLAND FOR CHRISTMAS TREE AND DECORATING
You have to try making popcorn garland at least once with kids and then putting the popcorn garland tree!
There’s something really beautiful about old-fashioned Christmas trees with popcorn garland and cranberries on Christmas tree.
And, stringing cranberries is one of those holiday kids activities that they’ll remember forever.
(Learning how to string cranberries and popcorn is great for all ages! Just follow the popcorn garland how to steps below and be sure to use a plastic needle for young kids.)
This would be fun to do as a kids’ holiday group activity for how to make a popcorn garland kit and then let them give the kit to their friends or family as an early Christmas gift!
Learning how to make popcorn garland for Christmas tree is super easy and a fun craft for kids, but success of your real popcorn garland depends on two things:
- The popcorn needle you use (like an embroidery needle, tapestry needles, or plastic needles for younger kids), and
- Whether or not you’re using fresh popped popcorn.
(We’ll talk more about these in the printable directions below.)
You don’t have to make this garland with cranberry. You can try it as different popcorn and berry garland!
Here’s how to make your own popcorn garland (DIY homemade popcorn garland)…
How To Make Popcorn Garland With Cranberry
Have fun making this DIY Christmas craft with your kids!
- 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.
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Popcorn String On Christmas Tree Ideas
After you learn how to make popcorn strings for Christmas, try this with your popcorn-cranberry garlands activity: How To Have a Christmas Tree Campout
Fun holiday theme night for the entire family, holiday edible treats crafts, or if you need 12 days of Christmas ideas!
Definitely add this along with learning how to string popcorn for Christmas tree / cranberry on Christmas tree craft!
Then, before sleeping under the Christmas tree you can hang your homemade popcorn garland on tree!
Sleeping under the tree and old fashioned popcorn garland are both sweet old-school activities for families.
Be sure to add learning how to make popcorn cranberry garland to your family holiday activities and then make it a tradition to put the popcorn string on tree!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!
We tried stringing fresh popcorn for hours before I decided to look it up. I’m so glad this popped up what an informative post! I’ll be putting my popcorn out today in hopes we can get the cranberries and popcorn up by Christmas! Happy holidays!
Hi Hannah! I’m so glad you stopped in and found the secret tip! Have fun making your garland! They’re so beautiful!
This is such a great tutorial! Do you find that the cranberries last longer if sprayed with the craft sealer?
Hi Rachel, They DO last longer, but you need to be careful if you have little ones or pets (especially dogs who can eat things off the trees). Also, if you spray them, don’t put them out for the birds after. Just discard it.
Tried this. I double strung my thread so it wouldnt come out of the needle. I also put tape at both ends. The popcorn would slide right through the knot. Im going to take the whole thing outside for the birds after. Also adding dried clementine slices and gingerbread men with masks
So smart with the tape idea! I’m so happy to hear that you’re putting it out in nature after! Have fun! Tag us in pics if you post it online!
I threaded a button on either end and that worked very nicely at keeping the ends on and making the knot-tying easier. Thank you for the spray tip… I made mine November 29 thinking I was so clever being ahead of time… but I read this after making my garlands. So I’m off to buy the spray tomorrow!
OOOO! I love the button tip! Using that next time. Thanks!