How-to: Make Upcycled Newspaper Popcorn Holders

National Popcorn Day crafts

recycled newspaper popcorn holder, painted with watercolors

I swear I’m not a germaphobe, but watching a dozen children reach their grimy hands into one big popcorn bowl at a recent children’s birthday party simply skeezed me out. I’d prefer not to get a tummy bug today, thank you very much.

Dishing popcorn into individual containers keeps kids’ hands out of the serving bowl, but then is your choice more time washing re-usable popcorn bowls, or more disposable bowls in the landfill?

Neither! A couple days’ worth of newspapers (stored somewhere sanitary) is plenty to make enough paper popcorn cones for everybody at your party, and if you’re feeling especially mitchy-matchy, the finished cones are easy to dye in your preferred colors. Here’s how:

roll the folded newspaper into a cone shape

To begin, choose a size for your template; 12″x12″ is the size that I used to make the cones in this tutorial, allowing me to use a piece of scrapbook paper as a template. Any square size is suitable, of course, depending on how large you’d like your cone, and thus your serving size, to be.

Unfold a double-wide piece of newspaper, then use your template to fold the newspaper down to size. Turn the square so that the folds meet up at the corner where the cone’s point will be, and the uneven edges are at the opposite corner.

Using a small piece of tape or a glue stick to adhere the cone’s tip, roll the newspaper into a cone. Use a little more tape or glue at the top edge to secure it. Press the cone flat without creasing it, and cut it straight across to trim the uneven edges (or leave them, if you’d rather).

spray the newspaper cones with liquid watercolor spray paint

To make a non-toxic spray paint, you can pour liquid watercolors into travel-sized spray bottles. You can then use your liquid watercolor spray paint to color a wide variety of materials, from unfinished wood to the popcorn garlands on your Christmas tree. Use the liquid watercolor spray paint, or stickers, or any other non-toxic art materials to decorate the individual popcorn cones.

I re-taped a used mailing box from the post office, asked my children to paint it in their party colors, then used a box knife to cut holes approximately 1″ in diameter all across one side of the box. My girls and I put the popcorn cones into their homemade serving tray, popped a giant batch of popcorn, and filled all paper cones full just before the guests were due to arrive. The popcorn cones were the second most popular party food (just behind the fresh blueberries, and WAY ahead of the blue tortilla chips), likely because they were easy to carry around between party activities, AND because popcorn is delicious!

And nobody had to stick their grubby hands into the serving bowl.

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