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


39 Responses
  • danielle
    January 14, 2012

    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
      January 14, 2012

      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
        November 25, 2012

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

        • ornamentgirl
          November 29, 2012

          Thanks, Savanna! Mine still looks great too!

          • Scraprageous
            November 29, 2012

            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
              November 29, 2012

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

      • Patty C.
        November 30, 2015

        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.

    • Anonymous
      December 1, 2019

      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.

  • lindsey
    November 5, 2012

    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
      November 5, 2012

      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
      November 29, 2012

      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.

  • abfenn8
    November 21, 2012

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

    • ornamentgirl
      November 29, 2012

      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!

  • Melissa
    November 29, 2012

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

    • ornamentgirl
      November 29, 2012

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

  • Renee
    December 20, 2012

    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
      December 20, 2012

      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!

  • Diana
    November 11, 2013

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

    • ornamentgirl
      November 11, 2013

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

  • Mel the Crafty Scientist
    December 11, 2013

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

  • Ped
    May 6, 2015

    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.

  • PandagirlMI
    November 20, 2015

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

  • Jessica
    November 28, 2015

    Any suggestions on coloring the popcorn?

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    October 31, 2016

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  • Brianna
    November 21, 2016

    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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  • Linda M
    December 22, 2016

    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

  • pajo
    February 7, 2017

    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

  • Cory althouse
    December 2, 2017

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

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