Some people love popcorn so much that they string it to make a garland for their Christmas tree. Yup, that’s right, popcorn isn’t just a tasty food item; it’s also a Christmas decoration and a holiday tradition.
Popcorn was first put on a string and placed onto a Christmas tree in 1842. It’s a tradition that’s never let up and is still done today.
Perhaps you have memories of stringing popcorn as a child and want to have a go at it again. Or, maybe you’ve always wanted to string popcorn but haven’t been sure where to start. Whichever it is, this article will tell you all you need to know about stringing popcorn so that you make a popcorn garland to be proud of.
What Do You Need to String Popcorn?
To string popcorn, you need the following items:
- Popcorn kernels
- Air popper
- Cranberries (optional)
How Do You String Popcorn on a String?
Stringing popcorn is a fun and easy thing to do. One to two days before you want to string popcorn, do the following:
- Make your popcorn – throw your kernels into an air popper and wait for it to work its magic.
- Wait for the popcorn to cool – when the popcorn is cool to touch, sift through it and pick out the pieces that will string well. Burned popcorn, half-popped kernels, old maids, and broken pieces should be discarded.
After letting the popcorn sit for a couple of days you can move on to the next steps:
- Color the popcorn – some people like to leave popcorn its natural color when stringing it. But if you want to color your popcorn so that it’s the color of the rainbow or matches the rest of your tree decorations, you can use powdered food coloring.
- Cut your thread – it’s best to cut your thread so that it’s easier to work with. If you decide later that you want a longer garland, simply tie it to another piece of thread.
- Thread your needle – choose a needle with a large head to make this task as easy as possible. Then, tie a knot at the end of the thread.
- Start stringing your popcorn – push the needle through the center of a piece of popcorn and pull through to the end of the thread. Continue stringing pieces of popcorn until the thread is full. Tie a knot at the end.
You may also want to string cranberries between pieces of popcorn for an extra festive feel.
If you’re stringing popcorn with kids, let them loose with glue, glitter, and paint after all the popcorn has been strung. They’ll love getting creative with their popcorn garland and making it their very own.
What Kind of String Do You Use to String Popcorn?
You can use any of the following kinds of string to string popcorn:
- Waxed dental floss
- Fishing line
- Sewing thread
- Floral wire
Can You String Popcorn Without a Needle?
The best way to string popcorn is with a needle. If you’re worried about young children pricking their fingers when stringing popcorn, you could use plastic needles instead.
Does a Popcorn Garland Attract Bugs?
A popcorn garland may attract bugs. But if you follow the below tips, you can lower the chances of bugs hiding out in your popcorn garland:
- Use plain air-popped popcorn – sticky, sweet flavorings are attractive to bugs, so stick with plain popcorn.
- Spray your garland with a spray adhesive – spray adhesive will repel bugs away from your popcorn garland.
- Put a few drops of peppermint oil around your tree – insects hate peppermint, so splash it around or on your tree to keep them away.
Why Do Americans Thread Popcorn for Christmas?
Stringing popcorn is a holiday tradition that dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries.
Popcorn was first threaded for Christmas because it was a cheap snack that so many people loved. Today, families spend quality time together threading popcorn to go on their Christmas trees, around their fireplaces and frame their front doors.
Threading popcorn is also fun as you get to sneakily munch on pieces of popcorn while making your decorations, so it’s no wonder it’s a tradition that’s still around today.
Can You String Popcorn for Birds?
Popcorn is safe for birds to eat, so stringing popcorn for them is a great way to give them a delicious festive snack.
The process of stringing popcorn for birds is the same as the one for making a garland for your tree. But it’s worth stringing lots of other bird-friendly treats onto it too. These include:
- Mixed berries, such as cranberries and blueberries
- Mixed nuts
- Apple slices
What Type of Popcorn Should You Use to String Popcorn?
The good news is that you haven’t got to buy a fancy type of popcorn to string popcorn as any type can be used. The popcorn does need to be between 24 and 48 hours old, though. Fresh popcorn breaks up too easily during the stringing process, while slightly stale popcorn will thread much easier.
How Much Popcorn Do You Need To Make A Popcorn Garland?
The amount of popcorn you’ll need to make your popcorn garland will depend on how long you want it to be. 1 cup of popcorn will usually make a garland that’s between 3 and 4 feet long. But not every piece of popcorn you pop will be ideal for stringing, so it’s best to have slightly more available.
Can You Reuse Popcorn Garlands?
Part of the fun of popcorn garlands is making a new one each year. But if you’d like to reuse the ones you’ve already made or keep them for old times’ sake, you can.
You’ll need to spray the entire popcorn garland with Shellac. When the first coat has dried, another coat of Shellac should be applied.
Never put a popcorn garland that has been sprayed with Shellac outdoors as it is toxic to birds and other wildlife.
Stringing popcorn is a great activity that you can do on your own, with friends, or with children. When you string popcorn, you can make some beautiful and memorable festive decorations that, with a little love and care, can last for years to come. So, why not try stringing popcorn this holiday season and see what stunning creation you can make?
Sue’s favorite pastime? Watching a good movie with a giant tub of popcorn by her side. Her friends and family know that if they want to get her something, popcorn is always a safe bet. Sue has an adventurous spirit and loves to travel exploring new places – she’s been to more than 40 countries!