How to Crochet: Popcorn Stitch

By Claire Ortega-Reyes – 17 Comments

Aside from being eye-catching, the popcorn stitch lends interesting texture to crochet work. This works great for cleaning items like washcloths or dishcloths. It also adds bulk—perfect for cold weather outerwear like hats.

Popcorn Stitch

Popcorn Stitch Swatch

This stitch can be made to pop out either in the front or the back of the work. This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to do both. It also shows how to create the popcorn stitch for both right-handed and left-handed crocheters. Mousing over the images shows the photos for the left-handed tutorial.

The popcorn stitch is made by working a number of stitches into a single space or stitch (this particular tutorial uses 5 double crochet stitches). The hook is then pulled out of the working loop and inserted into the top of the first stitch in the set of stitches. If the hook is inserted from the front to the back of the work, the stitch will pop out in the right side (front) of the work. If inserted from back to front, the stitch will pop out in the wrong side (back) of the work. The working loop is picked up from there, and is pulled through and out of the first stitch. A single chain closes the popcorn stitch.

Front Popcorn Stitch

It is practical to learn the popcorn stitch by starting with a few foundation stitches. I used a row of double crochet stitches as my foundation.

Yarn over, insert hook into designated stitch or space.

Yarn over, pull loop through stitch or space. [Yarn over, pull loop through two loops on hook] twice – one double crochet stitch made. For more detailed instructions on how to make the double crochet stitch, please read How to Crochet: Double Crochet Stitches (dc).

Make four more double crochet stitches in same stitch or space—a total of five double crochet stitches in one stitch or space.

Being careful not to undo the last stitch made, remove hook from working loop (yes, it’s safe to let go; it will get back on the hook again soon). Insert hook into the top of the first of five double crochet stitches, from front to back. Pick up the working loop, putting it back on the hook.

Pull loop through top of the first double crochet stitch.

Yarn over, pull through loop – one chain made. This secures the popcorn stitch.

One popcorn stitch made!

Continue practicing the popcorn stitch until end of the row, skipping a stitch or two before and after every popcorn stitch made; or as pattern instructs.

But what to do when you have to turn your work, and you want the stitches to pop out on the same side of the work? We continue with the back popcorn stitch.

Back Popcorn Stitch

The back popcorn stitch begins the same way as the front popcorn stitch.

Make five double crochet stitches in designated stitch or space.

Remove hook from the working loop. Insert hook from under the top of the first of five double crochet stitches, from back to front.

Pick up working loop, putting it back on the hook.

Pull loop through and out of the top of the first double crochet stitch.

Yarn over, pull through loop – one chain made. One back popcorn stitch made.

It may take a little practice to make all your popcorn stitches turn out roughly the same size and shape. Maintaining tension is the key. As with everything else, practice makes perfect!

I hope that was helpful. If you need any help, just leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

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  1. Margaret Marks says:

    Looks beautiful, Rachel, and thank you. Is this the same stitch as Picot as I have just been attempting to complete a Kleenex box cover (adjusted for Australian sizing) and its decorative stitch instructions are exactly the same, except for name?

  2. Margaret Marks says:

    Thanks Rachel….it must be the abbreviations. What abbreviation is used for Popcorn and for Picot?

  3. Diane says:

    Margaret, I’ve usually found special stitches to be described either before the instructions for something start and/or the first time it’s used in working it, along with the abbreviation that will be used the next time it’s to be used. I THINK that “pc” is used most often for a popcorn stitch and “p” for picot.

  4. Margaret Marks says:

    Thanks for your help, Diane. Converting patterns in Australia not only involves stitch nomenclature but also sizing differential. I find it hard to believe that Kleenex tissue boxes would be so different in each country!

  5. Tennyemaye says:

    I’ve done this before, but the patterns I’ve used have called it “making bobbles”. I’ve never heard the term popcorn stitch. Its a lot of fun though, especially in different colors!

  6. Claire says:

    Hi Tennyemaye! A bobble is a little different from a popcorn (although it looks a lot alike!). The popcorn stitch is made up of finished stitches (in this example, dc stitches), while the bobble is made by starting a few stitches, and closing them all together in one move. Maybe we can post a step-by-step tutorial for this too. 🙂

  7. Thanks, Claire….I used to know how to do a popcorn mother showed me how a million years ago, but I had forgotten. I was doing a bobble, thinking it was a popcorn, but knew it didn’t look right! Now I remember how! Thanks so much.

  8. Claire, I am even more grateful for the instructions now…since last night I started on timothy the turkey, and had to make 3 popcorn stitches for the feet! I had printed out your instructions….but didn’t have them with me where I was crocheting the turkey! After one aborted try, the lightbulb came on and I remembered! Whew! Thanks again!

  9. Christina says:

    How would i continue this to make a hotpad???? Please get back to me soon!

    • Claire says:

      Hello Christina! I think the popcorn stitch would work really great for a hot pad; thanks so much for the idea. Maybe make a square with alternating rows of plain dc’s and dc’s spaced with popcorn stitches. If you want to make it thicker, make a square the same size with plain (not textured) stitches, and sew the two squares together. Oh and use natural fibers because acrylic yarns melt when burned.

  10. Christina says:

    Claire, I understand that but, Do I work on the previously made popcorn stitches??? I don’t get it. Oh and I believe I asked the expert…. lol

    • Claire says:

      Hi Christina, I think there are quite a few free patterns out there that make use of the popcorn stitch. Maybe alter what you find to your purpose? I can’t think of a way to help you short of posting my own pattern… Maybe I would do that in the future. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  11. […] bobble is similar to its cousins the popcorn stitch and the puff stitch. They may all look alike, but they are made […]

  12. […] puff stitch is related to the popcorn stitch and the bobble stitch. They all provide interesting texture, but the puff stitch’s advantage […]

  13. […] a quirky potholder for you: a potholder using the popcorn stitch, shaped like a tub of yummy popcorn! The textured popcorn stitches prevent pots and pans from […]

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