glass popcorn ball ornament diy

How to make glass popcorn ball ornaments | DIY

Today’s ornament idea is really quick and easy, but super nifty…popcorn inside clear glass ornaments. I can’t take credit for this idea…I saw it on (and there are a few other cute ideas for clear glass ornaments on that page, too, so check it out) and I’ve been wanting to try it for myself and see if it actually worked.

I did have a few tragic glass ornament casualties while I was experimenting…but once I figured out the correct popcorn kernel to microwave time ratio (very scientific), they came out really cute.

You’ll need:

  • Clean and dry clear glass ornaments. (These are cheap cheap cheap at Michael’s and Joann’s at Christmas-time) Make sure you only use clear ones, not any that are frosty or pearly or anything like that…those could cause major issues in the microwave. And even though I love Christmas ornaments, they certainly aren’t worth burning the house down over. Oh, on that note, count on a few extra than you expect to need…I had one break on me, and I also used a few extra while I was trying to get my microwave time right.
  • Plain popcorn. Don’t use the microwave kind, because they are all greasy and will make the inside of the ornament all icky looking.
  • A brown paper lunch bag
  • A small microwave safe dish…I just used one of those little mini Pyrex prep bowls.
  • A ribbon to hang the ornament from.
Remove the top from the ornament (and make sure you don’t put it back on at all until after you’ve popped the kernels, of course) and fill it with about 30 kernels. I know that seems like a lot, and I originally tried it with 10 or 15, but the problem is, they won’t all pop. So I found that using around 30 worked out okay, with enough of them popping to fill up the ornament before things started burning.


fill clear glass ornament with popcorn kernels
Place the ornament in the little microwave safe dish, and put that into the brown paper bag. Roll up the top so it’s closed, and then microwave it on high. The time that worked for me was about a minute and a half, but you’ll have to experiment to find the right time for your own microwave. Don’t leave the microwave or get distracted, because you’ll need to stop it when you hear more than 5-10 seconds between pops.
Be careful taking it out of the microwave, and let it stand for a few minutes…the dish and the ornament will be HOT.

There will still be some unpopped kernels left…after the ornament has cooled down, just shake the leftover kernels out, pop the lid back on, and tie a piece of ribbon to the top…voila!

You could even dress it up a little by adding other things, like artificial berries, mini pinecones…just keep in mind that if you put anything in that’s got any weight to it, it’s going to fall to the bottom and stay there.

Very simple, but also really festive!

popcorn ball ornament

An update!

I had a few people ask if this ornament would last in storage. Here is mine after a year in my stifling hot Florida attic… it’s still looking pretty good!

popcorn in glass ornament



  1. danielle on January 14, 2012 at 3:24 am

    I love this idea. I just have a stupid question: do you have to get rid of the popcorn after Christmas or does it “keep”?

    • ornamentgirl on January 14, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Not a stupid question at all…I’m actually wondering the same thing myself. I am going to pack mine away and see how it looks next Christmas. :D

      • Savanna on November 25, 2012 at 7:52 am

        You can pack them i have some from 2010 and it still looks great!!(:

        • ornamentgirl on November 29, 2012 at 1:12 am

          Thanks, Savanna! Mine still looks great too!

          • Scraprageous on November 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm

            Until this year, I had some that were 12 years old. They still break when you drop them LOL, but I always just put them back into their box and stored the box in the same rubbermaid tote as the rest of the ornaments. Never had an issue – they looked great every year.

            Thanks for the directions – I couldn’t remember exactly what we had done and I did want to make some more as they always receive comments. I do remember the paper bag as extremely important when figuring your microwave settings. Every one is different. Mine at home did one setting, when we did them at school, that microwave took less than 45 seconds!

            • ornamentgirl on November 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm

              Wow, that is awesome that they still looked great after all that time. Thanks for sharing that with us! :)

          • Deana Miller on December 2, 2023 at 1:03 pm

            My ornaments are make of plastic. Could I use them the same or do they have to be glass.

            • Sarah Cinocco on December 3, 2023 at 3:23 pm

              Hi Deana, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use plastic for this ornament. Have fun!

      • Patty C. on November 30, 2015 at 11:58 am

        I made these about 12-15 years ago and they are still as fresh and beautiful as the day I made them. They are definitely conversation starters. EVERYONE wants to know the secret to getting the popcorn inside the ball.

      • Milena on December 7, 2021 at 2:26 am

        No, I’ve done some that are over 16 yrs old and looks good as the day I made them.

      • Margie on November 11, 2023 at 12:11 pm

        I’ve had mine for like 10 years looks good happy holidays

    • Anonymous on December 1, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      It would be helpful to know what size ornaments you used. Mine were too large and I had to go back to the store and start over.

  2. lindsey on November 5, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I tried to make these awesome ornaments but I tried twice and both times hot kernels like shot up out of the ornament and broke it. Has this happened to you? Do you know what is going wrong???

    • ornamentgirl on November 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Hey Lindsey… I had a few breakages too. I had to figure out the right amount of kernels and the right amount of time, and once I got it, they all worked pretty well after that. You might try adjusting the amount of kernels a little from what I wrote above because of our microwaves being different.

      But yes, I probably broke 3 or 4 before I got it right, which is kind of a bummer, but once I got that time/kernel ratio down, I didn’t have any more problems.

      I wish I could give you an exact answer…. good luck though!

    • ornamentgirl on November 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Lindsey, I never asked before, but did you make sure to use the paper bag? I think that helps them pop faster, in the same way that the microwavable popcorn bags do… you probably did, but I just want to make sure.

  3. […] Popcorn Ornament by theornamentgirl It’s the biggest saver I’ve ever found. So many good things about this idea: […]

  4. abfenn8 on November 21, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Could this possibly work with the clear plastic bulbs? As well

    • ornamentgirl on November 29, 2012 at 1:11 am

      I definitely wouldn’t try microwaving a plastic ornament, but they do make plastic balls that open all the way up. You could pop some popcorn separately, and then add them to the ball afterwards, and I’m sure that would work great!

  5. Melissa on November 29, 2012 at 4:33 am

    This is adorable! I’ve linked to it on my blog… Thanks for sharing!

    • ornamentgirl on November 29, 2012 at 5:41 am

      Melissa, thank you SO much…I appreciate it! :)

  6. Renee on December 20, 2012 at 1:54 am

    I made these, and they came out so nicely! I actually used larger plastic ornaments, which were great because I was able to pop the popcorn before hand and just put it into the ornament through the larger opening. I added some rhinestones to the ornament, ribbon around the hook and paired them with handmade fancy hangers (you posted about) and they look AWESOME.

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • ornamentgirl on December 20, 2012 at 7:20 am

      Renee, that is great to hear! Thanks for letting me know how they came out! I love the idea of using the plastic too, so you don’t even have to worry about the ornament breaking. That’s awesome!

  7. […] This brilliant idea was done by […]

  8. Diana on November 11, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Great tutorial!! Must have been fun to make. I shared on my site. Thanks!

    • ornamentgirl on November 11, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks, Diana! I checked out your ornament round up… lots of super cute ones!

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  10. Mel the Crafty Scientist on December 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Just wanted to let you know I featured this project in my roundup of glass ornament crafts here too. : )
    -Mel the Crafty Scientist

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  14. Ped on May 6, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Ornamentgirl, do you have any idea how I can start off with a small ball and kernells inside and have it expand into an ornament size ball in the microwave as the kernells pop? I really appreciate it. This is for a kids project.

  15. PandagirlMI on November 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    I tried in a brown paper bag and the bag burnt and none of the kernels even popped. What can I do?

  16. Jessica on November 28, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Any suggestions on coloring the popcorn?

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  19. Brianna on November 21, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    I made these when I was 12!!! I’m 24 now and we still use them on our tree every year. They last EXTREMELY well in storage!

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  21. Linda M on December 22, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    I was looking for how to do these popcorn ornaments. I have had the one my aunt made in 1999. I use it on the tree every year.
    Someone asked how long they last so I just wanted everyone to know – mine is over 10 yrs old

  22. pajo on February 7, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Thank You THANK YOU Ornamentgirl for sharing this :) I looked all over youtube & couldn’t find out how to do this. Gonna try this soon

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  24. Cory althouse on December 2, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    I have some crystal ornaments. Will they work as well.?

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  26. Pam on November 22, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    I have a couple of these that I mad over 20 years ago. They look just like they did when I made them.
    I just made more to give away and I have a tip for you.
    I put a quarter piece of paper towel in the Pyrex dish before I put in the ornament to lessen the chance of breaking. So far, so good

    • Sarah Cinocco on November 24, 2023 at 10:10 am

      Hi Pam, that is a great tip! Thanks so much!

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