String Popcorn

You can’t deny how popular popcorn is as a snack all over the world, but did you know that popcorn strings have also been used for decorations for hundreds or even thousands of years?

There are 7 easy steps to stringing popcorn:

  1. Wash your cranberries
  2. Pop your popcorn
  3. Get your needle and thread ready
  4. Push your needle through the first piece of popcorn
  5. Add a couple more pieces of popcorn and then add a cranberry
  6. Repeat step 5 until you have the desired length completed
  7. Tie a knot at the end of the string

You can make decorations or garlands for your holidays or celebrations and that is what we are going to discuss today.  Our family has been stringing popcorn for the past 25 years for our holidays and you will enjoy the simple rewarding activity.

Why Do People String Popcorn?

Stringing popcorn is not an entirely new practice, in fact, it has been around for a very long time. It has been found by European explorers that the ancient Aztec people were using popcorn as headdresses and necklaces. In that sense, this practice has been around for more than a thousand years already.

However, it was only during the 19th century when popcorn stringing became a practice among Americans. It became popular when the young people of that time saw that popcorn was inexpensive, fun, and that they could do almost anything with it, including stringing them up and using them as decorative pieces for Christmas.

It was the German immigrants that brought this practice to America and the younger American generation soon followed the tradition.

Since 1842, it has been a practice in America to adorn Christmas trees with string popcorn, which was also decorated with other ornaments to make the Christmas tree look festive.

What Kind of Popcorn Should You Use to String Popcorn?

Before we learn how to string popcorn, you might be wondering what kind of popcorn you should be using. You’ll be happy to hear that you can use any type of popcorn, regardless of its color and shape if you are using plain popcorn.

It is best to use popcorn that has been sitting in the fridge or on the countertop (covered) overnight because this will make the popcorn stale and harder, which makes it easier to string it without breaking it apart.

We recommend that you pop your popcorn the night before and enjoy it as a snack while leaving a cup or two behind. Once the leftover popcorn has become stale, you’re ready to string them up.

One cup of popcorn will be enough for you to string about 3 to 4 feet of popcorn, depending on the additional decorations that you add to the popcorn string.

What Supplies Do You Need to String Popcorn?

Keep in mind that it is best to make sure you are using supplies that are safe for kids because this may become a family tradition that even your kids can enjoy. That means that you should avoid needles that are sharp to avoid accidents.


  • White Popcorn (popped)
  • Scissors
  • Tread or Fishing Line
  • Blunt Darning Needle (for kids)
  • Regular Needle (for adults)
  • Cranberries/Blueberries or Other Additions (to add to the string)
  • Shellac

We recommend that you use blunt tapestry or darning needles because these don’t have sharp tips that are unsafe for children and kids can also grip them well. Adults can use any kind of needle that is used for sewing if safety measures are practiced, and the needle hole is big enough for the string to easily pass through.

As for string, this can be almost anything because once you are done, no one will be able to see the string. That’s why a decorative string that is sturdy should do the trick.

Decorative twine might work well but we recommend that you go for regular sewing thread or even a fishing line. The fishing line is a fine choice because it tends to be quite sturdy and is transparent enough to not be visible.

How to String Popcorn: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to create your popcorn string:

  1. Wash your cranberries or blueberries and let them dry if you’re using fruit.
  2. Pop your popcorn. Use plain, unflavored popcorn and leave it overnight so that it will become stale.
  3. Get your needle and thread or string and then thread your needle. You can cut about 5 feet of the thread or string, but we recommend leaving it on the spool if you want a longer popcorn garland. However, cutting the thread makes it more manageable. Make sure to tie a knot at the end.
  4. Push your needle through the center of the popcorn
  5. Add a couple more pieces of popcorn and then add a cranberry. Push them to the end of the thread.
  6. Continue the process of adding popcorn and berries until you have reached almost the end of the string.
  7. You need enough string at the end to secure the stringed popcorn. Tie a knot at the end of the string to prevent the popcorn from falling off.

In most cases, a string of popcorn should be able to last for the entire Christmas season. However, if you want it to last for a longer period you can spray shellac on it. This will increase the lifespan of the stringed popcorn but will make it inedible.  If you choose to use shellac, keep your kids and animals away from it.   

What Else Can You Add to Your Popcorn String?

Aside from cranberries and blueberries, you can add a lot of different things to your popcorn garland.

  • Glitter to add some sparkle to the garland.
  • Spray the garland with colors to make them more colorful and fit for the Christmas season.
  • You can color your popcorn before you string it. Use food coloring and it will still be edible
  • I had a friend that added dried orange, lime, and lemon circles to her garlands to add fragrance and color.

At the end of the day, you’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to decorating your popcorn garland.

Learn More – Read These Articles

How To Make Popcorn Balls For Birds In 10 Easy Steps

Eight Uses For Unpopped Popcorn Kernels – Do Not Toss Them

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