How-to: Painted Popcorn Garland

painted popcorn garland on the Christmas treePopcorn garlands are a kid-friendly, easy, and fun holiday craft that the whole family can make together. Edible, natural popcorn is a great environmental choice, especially since you can simply take it outside to compost or leave for the birds and squirrels to enjoy after the holiday, and if you’re looking for a food craft to do, then popcorn is also a great choice for everyone’s tummies, since you won’t have to worry about all that candy, meant for gingerbread houses or sugar cookies, that somehow ends up in your mouth!

Of course, since I’m from the South, a plain white popcorn garland isn’t nearly gaudy enough for me, so read on and I’ll show you not only how to easily make a great popcorn garland, but also how to easily paint it to match (or NOT match!) your holiday decor.

spray paint popcorn with liquid watercolors in spritz bottleFor your popcorn garland, you’ll want plain, unsalted, unbuttered popcorn. If you don’t have an electric popcorn air-popper (I found mine for four dollars at Goodwill a few years ago), you can make DIY microwave popcorn with just popcorn kernels and a paper bag.

If you want to leave your popcorn white, skip these next couple of steps. If you want painted popcorn, however, you’ll need either liquid food coloring or liquid watercolors (hint: I also use liquid watercolors to stain unfinished wood).

Pour a small amount of the liquid dye into a small spritz bottle; I found these spritz bottles in the travel aisle at some big-box store or other, and I primarily use them with liquid watercolors to make kid-friendly spray paint for my daughters to use.

Spread the popcorn out in a single layer on a large piece of newspaper, and lightly spritz–just once or twice in each area–all the popcorn with the dye. After the dye has dried, in just a few minutes, stir the popcorn around to expose the unpainted sides, and spritz again. You can repeat this until the popcorn is painted to your satisfaction.

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. I just love this idea! And I’m from the south too and yeah I get it needing colored. Ooo ya know a great purple and yellow for LSU would be great in the front yards Christmas tree. =) Thanks for the idea.

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