Popcorn is one of the most well-loved snacks for all sorts of recreational activities. Buying popcorn pre-popped or even in microwavable bags can get expensive, and using disposable paper bags can feel like a huge waste. Instead, you can make a reusable microwave popcorn bag at home!
To make a reusable microwave popcorn bag, you need 100% cotton thread and fabric, scissors, pins, needles, a ruler, and an optional sewing machine. Sew a small bag with a flap at the top that can fold over and stay closed when popping the popcorn. Pop 1/2 cup of kernels for 2.5 minutes.
This project is super simple so anyone can do it! It is a great alternative to buying popcorn in any form and being reusable makes it a great time investment. Keep reading to learn how to make one for your own home.
Why is this Popcorn Bag Better?
Before we teach you how to make this reusable microwave popcorn bag, it might help to know why you should take the time to make it instead of buying microwavable popcorn bags at the grocery store, buying pre-popped popcorn, or buying paper bags to pop your kernels in. Using a reusable popcorn bag will help reduce waste, minimize the number of harmful chemicals you ingest, and it will save you money.
A reusable popcorn bag will help you reduce waste in a lot of ways. If you usually buy microwaveable popcorn bags, you will not have to throw the paper bag away and you will not throw away the plastic wrapping either. If you usually buy pre-popped popcorn, you won’t have to throw away the bag after you are done with it. Finally, if you pop popcorn in a paper bag, you won’t have to go through so many paper bags and buy more when you run out.
No more harmful chemicals
While it is not as prevalent in pre-popped popcorn or paper bag popcorn, microwavable popcorn bags can have a lot of harmful chemicals in them. Microwave popcorn is sometimes made with harmful chemicals that make it really unhealthy to consume.
The bags themselves also contain a lot of harmful chemicals that can be really bad for you as well. A reusable popcorn bag has none of those chemicals and the unpopped kernels that you buy will not have these chemicals either.
Making a reusable microwave popcorn bag will save you a lot of money. Whether you typically buy paper bags, microwave popcorn, or pre-popped popcorn, a reusable bag will help you spend a lot less on popcorn overall. When you make it, you might have to purchase the fabric and some supplies, but after you have it, you will only have to spend money on the kernels, which are super cheap. No more wasting money on expensive popcorn!
What Materials Will You Need To Make This Popcorn Bag?
Now that you know why it is a good idea to use a reusable microwave popcorn bag, you can start gathering your materials to make it. Most of the materials needed are standard in any sewing kit, and you will likely only need to buy the fabric. Here are all the materials that you need for this project.
- 1 yard of fabric: This is what the bag is going to be made out of. You only need about one yard of it, and every fabric or craft store sells fabric by the yard. Because it is only one yard, it should be pretty cheap. The other important part of the fabric is that it needs to be 100% cotton. We will talk about why this is so important in the next section.
- Thread: The thread for this project can be in any color you would like. Just make sure that you have enough of it and that it too is 100% cotton. This is very important.
- Scissors: Any pair of scissors will work fine as long as they can cut through the fabric. If you have fabric scissors, that would be ideal, but don’t worry if you do not have any. Another option is to use a rotary cutter, a ruler, and a cutting mat.
- Sewing needles and pins: For any sewing project you need sewing needles. These can be as thick or thin as you want, but make sure you can get the thread through the eye of the needle. You will also need sewing pins or clips to hold the fabric together while sewing. You need these for a lot of sewing projects as well, so they are a great investment.
- A ruler: This can be used in conjunction with an optional rotary cutter, but it will mostly be used for measuring out the pieces of the pattern. It can also be used to aid in cutting straight lines. You will also need a fabric pencil in addition to this.
- A sewing machine (optional): You can sew this project by hand if you want to or if you don’t have a sewing machine, but it will be much faster and easier with one. It is a simple project, so doing it by hand is easy enough.
The Importance of 100% Cotton
We have emphasized how important it is to have a fabric and a thread that are made from 100% cotton, but why is it so important? This is an essential part of this project because it is meant to go in the microwave. The reason is simple: cotton will not melt or burn in the microwave.
If the fabric or thread has any polyester or even metals in it, it will burn up in the microwave. If even just the thread is not cotton, it can melt and then burn the fabric, creating a fire hazard.
If the fabric is not 100% cotton, the other fibers mixed into it could also melt or catch fire. This can be incredibly dangerous because a fire can easily start in your microwave if anything similar to those materials melts. Double-check that your fabric and thread to ensure they are both 100% cotton before diving into this project!
How Do You Construct the Popcorn Bag?
Now for the most important part, how to make the bag! You have collected your materials, so it is time to construct the bag so that you can start making homemade microwave popcorn with no harmful chemicals, no waste, and for a low cost! Here are the steps to make it:
Step 1: Cut the fabric
The very first step in this project is to cut the fabric to the size and shape you need. With your ruler, measure out two 12 inch by 22 inch panels. Mark them with a fabric pencil, fabric chalk, or even a regular pencil. With your scissors or rotary cutter and mat, cut the two panels out of the fabric. These are going to be the only pattern pieces needed. Ideally, the sides of the panels would be cut straight, but if they are a little off it will not matter after the seam is sewn.
Step 2: Pin and Sew
Now you are going to place one panel on top of the other. Put the first one down with its right side facing up. This is the side with the pattern on it, not the white or faded side. Place the other panel directly on top of the first one in the same orientation, but this time with the wrong side up. The wrong side is the white or faded side.
Pin the panels together along the edges with your sewing pins or clips. This will keep the panels together when you sew. Sew a seam about a centimeter from the edge of the fabric around most of the edge. Make sure to leave about 4 inches of the edge not sewn. This is where you will turn the fabric inside out. Make sure to remove the pins after sewing, or you can remove pins as you sew.
Step 3: Flip it inside out and sew it shut
With the edges sewn with the wrong sides together, you can now turn the fabric inside out. This is the step that will reveal the colored side of the fabric. This is the side you want to see! Push the fabric through the hole that was left not sewn. This should turn the whole thing inside out. Push the corners out so that they are sharp and everything lays flat.
With everything flat, pin the opening closed and then sew it shut. To do this, fold the raw edges of the fabric underneath so that it looks cleaner, Sew along the opening to make sure it stays closed. You can sew a hem around the whole panel if you would like, but that is optional. Again, make sure to remove the pins as you go or after you are done sewing.
Step 4: Fold and sew the sides
Now you have your flat, sewn fabric, use a ruler to measure two inches from the top of the bag and fold these two inches of fabric over. Pin or clip the fold down so that it stays put. The next part of this step is to fold the bottom of the bag up until it meets the new edge that the two-inch fold that was created. Pin or clip this down as well.
With the sewing machine or just by hand, sew the two sides that were not folded. This should leave one opening at the top where the two-inch fold was. This will stay open until the bag is completely finished, so make sure to not close it up.
Step 5: Sew the corners
This step will give you that bag shape so that the popcorn has room to pop in it. Push one corner of the bag out and lay it flat so that the side seam that you just sewed is right down the middle, pointing toward the corner. From the tip of the corner, measure two inches toward the top of the bag. This two-inch spot is where you will sew.
Sew a line perpendicular to the side seam all the way across the corner. There should be a little triangle at the corner after you have sewn. Follow the same steps and sew the other corner of the bag in the same way. This will make the corners pop out in the next step.
Step 6: Flip right side out
Everything has been folded, pinned, and sewn at this point. Now, all that is left to do is fold it right side out. Similar to how the panels were folded right side out before, push the fabric through the opening at the top of the bag. Your bag is complete! There should be two sides, a bottom, and an opening at the top. The bottom corners should pop out and there should be a two-inch flap at the top facing outwards.
Watch the video before for a visual on how to make a DIY resuable microwave popcorn bag.
How to Use the Popcorn Bag
This reusable bag is a little different than just any old paper bag, so here is how to use it properly. The flap at the top is able to fold over so that it stays closed when popping the popcorn. This prevents any popcorn from escaping the bag and burning in the microwave.
Put a half cup of kernels in the popcorn bag and fold the flap over. Microwave the bag with the kernels in it for two and a half minutes, or 150 seconds. Keep an eye on the bag the first few times you use it to make sure it does not burn, but otherwise, just let the popcorn pop! There is no oil necessary to pop the popcorn.
If you would like to put oil and salt, or any other seasonings on the popcorn, we recommend transferring it to a different bowl to keep the bag clean. While the reusable microwave popcorn bag is machine washable, it is always better to not have to deal with it getting messy and gross. The bag is machine washable, but take care to wash it on cold, or at least do not put it in the dryer. The fabric is 100% cotton, so you don’t want it to shrink when it’s washed.