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stringing popcorn

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One of the most old school things you can do to decorate a Christmas tree is to string popcorn for a garland. The tradition of decking your tree with food is as old as they come, and popcorn is cheap and easy. It’s a fun activity to do as a family, too.

Pop some corn (like this?). and if you can stand to wait, let it sit out and get stale for a day or so. Fresh popcorn is crisper, and sometimes breaks when you poke it with a needle. So yes, for once you are purposely trying to make stale popcorn. (Air-popped, plain popcorn would be the best choice to avoid attracting pests. Insect-type pests, that is. You’re on your own for keeping children-type pests out of your tree.)

Choose a medium needle…long and stiff enough to pass through a popped kernel. Don’t stress. The majority of the needles in your pincushion fall into this category. The thread can be most any kind, but a nice quality thread will last longer, and popcorn garlands can be saved for many years if you treat them nicely. Some people like to use waxed dental floss, but the Damsel isn’t sure why you should go to that expense. Others use fishing line.


Thread the needle but leave the thread attached to the spool. This way you can keep going as long as you like–until you run out of popcorn or get sick of the project.


Insert the needle slowly and pull through. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough, and if a few kernels break in half, oh well.

When it’s long enough, loop the end of the thread around the last popped kernel into a knot to secure it. Do this at each end.


You can also alternate popcorn with dried fruit for even more old school fun. Cranberries are traditional. If you use fresh cranberries, it’s easier to work with them frozen, so less cranberry goober gets all over the place. These garlands can’t be saved until next year, so when Christmas is over, you could drape this on a bush or tree outside and make a bird happy.

Popcorn and cranberry garland

You could use dried cranberries or other dried fruit as in this picture, for a long-lasting garland. Use whatever pattern makes you smile.

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  • Jamie

    This is fun to do. Therefore, I recommend this quiet project while watching Rudolph or the Little Drummer Boy for the nth time with the family.

  • Elaine

    Ooh, I keep saying that my tree just needs some sort of garland and perhaps something white or red. And then this! Viola! The answer to my quest 🙂 A long time ago, I tried to string popcorn and had quite some difficulty, now I know it must be stale! Thank you, thank you!

    • thedamselindisdress

      Yay! Glad to help.
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Jeanne Ireland

    This is so simple yet grand. I am going to share it with my readers. Hope you don’t mind!
    Jeanne from “Keep It Simple, Folks” http://cjmai.blogspot.com

    • thedamselindisdress

      Thank you! Hope you come back soon.
      Margot (The Damsel)