How to Make a Popcorn Garland


This garland for your Christmas tree is so pretty! Here are your instructions for how to make a popcorn garland and even how to turn it into a cranberry popcorn garland if you want to. 

Image shows a collage of DIY popcorn garland, with images of garland on the tree, a bowl of popcorn and cranberries, hands assembling the garland.

If you love old-fashioned, homemade, and frugal Christmas decor, then this is your perfect Christmas DIY project! I love homemade Christmas ornaments, but I’m not as good at making painted ornaments as my sister. I much prefer the rustic look of snowy pinecones and, of course, this garland. 

My nine-year-old daughter and I spent an afternoon, each working on a separate end of one super-long garland to wrap around our Christmas tree, and we love it! 

I love the old-fashioned and organic feel of it, but more than that, I love that it was something I was able to spend time with my daughter over. She loves crafting far more than I do, and I think being able to participate in making our house look festive in a meaningful way was important for her. 

If you want to learn how to make a popcorn garland, it’s so easy! 

I’ve read a number of articles to we did it the best way, and the main thing I learned is you can be flexible! 

I’m going to share a number of pictures along with the steps and notes. 

How to make a popcorn garland 

First, you need popcorn. 

Images shows the supplies for making a popcorn and cranberry garland for your Christmas tree.

It’s best to pop it a few days ahead of time and let it get stale so it’s not as breakable. However, if you want to make it today, that’s fine too! Just be gentle with your popcorn kernels as you string them. 


Personally, I think adding a cranberry every 3-5 kernels adds a really pretty pop of color, so if you want to make a cranberry popcorn garland, grab some fresh cranberries, and sort out any soft or mushy ones, leaving you the nice, firm berries for stringing. 

Image shows a string of popcorn garland on a table, with a bowl of popcorn and cranberries to make the garland.


You have a couple of options for this. I don’t think I would try to use regular sewing thread because it’s thin and would break through kernels easier, plus, it itself is more breakable. 

Some people like to use thin floral wire, which makes a stiffer garland. That might be nice if you’re wrapping it around a light pole or stairway banister because it will hold its shape somewhat. But if we’re talking about popcorn garland for Christmas trees, I don’t care for it. 

Instead, I use waxed dental floss. It’s thick and sturdy and “swoops” like you want a garland on a tree to do. Using thread instead of wire makes it much easier to situate among the branches as well. 

A needle

If you do use wire, you won’t need a needle, but using floss will necessitate something sharp to poke through your popcorn and cranberries. 

Use a regular sewing needle, making sure the eye is large enough to get your dental floss through. 

A thimble

This is an optional tool you might appreciate. 

I don’t really find it necessary, but some of the cranberries can be stiff, so it’s an option if you decide you want to use it. 


If you want to preserve your garland, you will need to spray it down with acrylic spray or Shellac. This way, you can pack it up and store it for future Christmases. 

Personally, I don’t. That may sound wasteful, but the chickens will enjoy it, and I won’t have to untangle a garland next year. 

Without shellac, your garland will last a few weeks without a problem. 

Image shows a close up of popcorn and cranberry garland on a Christmas tree with ornaments and orange slices hanging nearby.

Making the garland

This is very simple. So simple you’ll wonder why you looked up a tutorial. 

Just decide on your pattern. The garland in this picture is 3 popcorn kernels and 1 cranberry. But you can do 5 or 10, or randomly throw in a cranberry here and there if you want. 

Once you’ve decided that, cut your floss: decide how long you want the garland to be, and cut that length, plus a few inches to give you room for knotting. 

I recommend threading a needle at both ends and working toward the middle rather than working from one end to the other. That makes it easy for someone to help but also makes your movements more efficient since you’re pushing popcorn kernels over significantly less distance. 

Thread your needle, and start stringing! 

Go through the big, soft “puff” of the popcorn kernel. Thread about three of them at a time, then push them down the thread into place. That way, you don’t have to push them one at a time. But be wary of doing too many at a time, as they can start to break. 

Image shows a string of popcorn garland for Christmas tree being assembled on a white table.

Thread them tightly. You don’t need to worry about getting the garland too stiff – you won’t! It’s almost impossible to squish the popcorn too tightly. 

Once you’re done, take the garland outside and spray with shellac on all sides IF you want to preserve the garland. As I mentioned, I prefer garland making to be an annual tradition and let the chickens enjoy their corn and cranberry feast after the holidays. 

Image shows a string of popcorn garland to wrap around a Christmas tree laid out on a white table after assembly

You’re done! Hang it on your tree and enjoy. We liked pairing our cranberry and popcorn garland with homemade dried orange ornaments this year. They’re easy to make and add a nice color contrast. 

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