December 13, 2013

Make Big Candy Decorations

Want some ideas on how to make inexpensive but large
candy decorations for Christmas decorating,
 Candy Crush Saga Party or candy-themed birthday party?  

The decorations featured here are in Christmas colors but
could be easily changed for other occasions or events.

The main "ingredients" in these candies are insulation foam
in a can, disposable plates and bowls, wrapping paper and paint.
 There are other brands of this type of product too...they give similar results for craft projects
(although that is NOT the purpose of the foam).

The foam will stick to anything it touches including floors, kids,
 pets and you until it dries.  Keep the kids and pets away and
protect yourself and your floors.  Spread out enough paper for
the whole project to begin with.  After you start releasing the 
foam from the can, you need to keep going because it can
dry up in the nozzle quickly and clog the tube up.

The foam sticks to the newspaper too.  That means that your
foam shape will have a newspaper back.  It can be painted or 
covered.  You could use wax paper to release the foam onto
but I thought that would be too expensive.  

If you are doing this project outside, use objects to hold the
paper down in case a breeze blows up.  If the paper blows up
on top of your foam shape before it has hardened, it can 
ruin the look of your object. 

It is better to make your foam shapes when it is warm.
Out of necessity, these shapes were done on a cool early
morning...they may have gotten puffier if I could have waited.

The plan was to make spiral lollipop shapes on sticks with
the foam.  I really did not like how they were turning out.
It took lots more "rounds" of foam than I thought it would.

Plus, the stick was making a bump in the foam.

In trying to think quickly (before the foam dried on the paper
and in the nozzle of the can), I grabbed a few Dollar Tree
plastic bowls to cover up the less-than-desirable lollipop shapes.

Well, maybe the biggest foam disasters could become
Tootsie Pops instead of swirl-y lollipops in "Plan B".

To make more "Plan B" suckers, I tried to make a foam
circle about the size of the rim of the plastic bowl with 
 dowel included in the foam to be the sucker's stick.

After placing the rim of the bowl in the foam ring, a 
mound of foam was added to the bottom of the bowl
to try to round it out for more of a ball shape.

On the next foam shape, I also added a vertical foam squirt
to add support and adhesion for the dowel.  

In addition to the sucker shapes, I formed some foam rounded rectangular shapes that would become giant Jolly Ranchers.

Here's what four cans of spray foam insulation yielded:
The foam shapes take about 30-45 minutes to get a semi-firm shell.  Depending on how thick the
foam shape is, it takes longer than that for the whole shape to be fully dried. 

Some of the swirled lollipop shapes were not too bad so they
got left as is (plus I didn't have anymore cheap bowls). 

I didn't want a lot red objects (I AM an Auburn fan...too much
red makes me's a University of Alabama color)
so these lollipops got spray painted a base color of green.
For the lollipops that did not have a dowel incorporated during the foam squirting
process, a dowel was pushed up inside of the foam after it dried. 

You can also use acrylic paint to color the foam.
This sucker took two coats of each color. 
OK...I will admit it turned out to be one of the best even if it is mainly red. 

The green lollipops had red stripes added with paint.

To help the "Plan B" suckers have a more rounded shape,
my friend and neighbor, Debbie (a well-organized person who
actually already had up her Christmas decorations and offered
to help me execute my giant candy ideas) had the good idea
to fill in the gaps with rolled newspapers held on by tape.

After the rounding out with newspaper, the Tootsie Pop
got a wrapping paper covering... 

...that was cinched at the base with a thin ribbon...

...then taped down on the sides.  

We didn't worry about a messy tape job because it won't be
noticed when the clear basket wrap it added on top.

We also didn't worry about a messy tape job on back
since these suckers will be mainly viewed from the front.
Wider packaging tape was used in hopes that it will 
withstand the weather these suckers will be subjected to.

Trim the wrapping paper into a pretty skirt.  Make the clear
basket wrap covering longer than the paper if you are going
to use these outside so it can be kind of an umbrella for the
wrapping paper. Tie on a pretty bow (wired ribbon is best).

To show how another foam shape turned out in case
 you want to try it instead, here is a shape that was
 formed more like a bee-hive by adding foam from the 
can on in circles on top of each other. 
 It did not need a bowl or any enhancements. 
These foam shapes can be trimmed with a serrated knife after they are dry.
The cut areas do not paint well, however, so keep that in mind when trimming. 

Here's how the bee-hive foam sucker turned out with the
wrapping paper and cellophane wrapping applied:

The painted lollipops got a spray of clear coat to help 
protect the finish and then a cellophane wrapping too.
How to make the smaller "mint" shaped candy in these photos is described further down in the post.

Above two photos by Weston Markwell

The "Plan B" Tootsie Pops ended up in the urns on the
front porch.  A couple of things that I would do 
differently on them next time is to use thin PVC pipe
for the sticks ( instead of wooden dowels) and I would not
add the extra mound of foam on the bottoms of the bowls.
It actually hurt the rounded shape instead of helping it. 

Above two photos by Weston Markwell

The candy canes in the urns came from the Dollar Tree. 

The Tootsie Rolls' sticks were just inserted into the dirt already
in the urns. White "snow" sheets, inexpensive tinsel, and picks
made from decorative basket wrap were all used to try to
hide the dirt.  

Nothing really looked good until I got a really fluffy tinsel
garland from Michael's on sale to cover the base. 

So far, the pops are holding up well even in the rain. 

The smaller mint-type and Jolly Rancher-ish shapes were
even easier.  The mints were made from disposable plates 
(some plastic some paper) being joined together along their 
rims with glue.  Since these are going outside, I used Super
Glue.  If your candy is going to be inside, regular glue is fine.

Put the plates together so they bow out on each side. 
Place a small object on the plates to hold them together
while the glue dries. 

Another option to make the mint shape is a solid foam shape.
This one came from the Dollar Tree along with a each
circle is fifty cents.  More expensive than a plate but more sturdy.

 If you want the wrapping paper to extend into the flared 
ends of the mint, allow plenty of paper on the ends.

To give your mint a more authentic look, also wrap the form
and paper in clear basket wrap or cellophane.

If you mint is going to be outside, make the cellophane extend
well past the wrapping paper so that you can fold it back in
to protect the paper.  Our cellophane was not long enough to
accomplish that so we layered it and covered the seam with
packaging tape. 

Gather the paper and cellophane close to the round shape
and tie the gather with ribbon, pipe cleaner, etc. 

It was easier to fold the cellophane back inside the wrapping
paper end if both the paper and cellophane were taped shut
into separate tube shapes.

Another option for the mints is to paint the plates.
Weston, Debbie's son, was a good enough sport to come help 
out with making the giant candies.  It's embarrassing to ask a
guy with a degree in Industrial Design to paint pie slices on a 
paper plate...such a waste of talent...but aren't they wonderful?

These don't have to be two colors but I did that to further
the bright green and red color scheme for the front decorations.
These were then just wrapped in clear cellophane leaving
enough on the ends to create flares. 

I didn't want to risk Weston's work being ruined out in the 
weather so I used them on the mesh garland on the covered
part of the porch.  To attach them to the garland, a floral wire
was twisted onto the ribbon tie.

The paper plate mints are so lightweight that the wire could be
threaded through the mesh poufs...

...and then twisted on from the back.

Less time-consuming mints were made in a similar fashion but
the plates were just covered with a paper that carried out the
color scheme and then wrapped in cellophane. 
This is the backside of the mint

Even easier mints to go with a party color can be made by
purchasing plastic plates that have the color on the bottom,
gluing them together and wrapping in cellophane.

The mints wrapped in paper are going out by the mailbox so
they need to stand on their own.  They got dowels glued onto
their backs. The green mint has a patterned cellophane on it. 

If I get a chance, I might paint the mints' sticks green to blend into the evergreen foliage.

The Jolly Rancher shapes were made similar to the paper-
covered mints.

The candy land Christmas decor may be a bit much but 
after a couple of years of subdued white and snowflakes in
the front yard, I was ready for some fun and color. 

Weston is also a very talented photographer!  The above four
photos are ones that he took for me.  Many thanks to him and 
his mom, Debbie, for helping me get this project done before


  1. My goodness! THAT is really adorable. A lot of work but so worth it in the end. You better hold onto those suckers (no pun intended) forever! In our area they would have already been blown to Kingdom Come with our heavy winds. That is what I, personally, want to move somewhere warm!;>) xo Diana

  2. This is adorable!. I saw somewhere,someone had used the foam pool noodles for candy. They sliced them to the size needed-or in the case of suckers, just rolled and glued in a spiral. I know you can get those really cheap at the end of summer. Just a thought for next year.

    1. I've also see colored duct tape added and then the pool noodles glued in a spiral. I've seen ladies do big ones using the whole noodle or smaller ones with half or both.

    2. I've been researching how to do this for my yard when we have the yard for it and you can also make gumdrops out of paper mache eggs and I've seen sugar or epsom salts.

  3. These are absolutely incredible and so cute! Your neighbors are lucky to be able to enjoy this view every day. Thanks for the great tutorial! Dee :)

  4. How whimsical and pretty! Looks like you had fun making these candies and the results are just awesome! Hope you have lots of kids, both young and old, stopping by to enjoy your display!

  5. Amazing, I can't get over how much fun these all look! I have pinned, this would be a great idea for one of my grandkid's birthday party! And who knows? Maybe next year I might decide to veer away from my greens planters & wreaths to try this for Christmas. I love all of it!
    Debbie :)

  6. It's really funny! Merry Xmas :D

    greetings from Brazil!

  7. Wow! How much fun is this! Great tutorials too! you worked hard and it looks amazing! So cute!

  8. What a fun idea! Using the plastic wrap is genius!

  9. would love to have you create for easter sessions for me and I would buy!!! I have no time to make these!

  10. It all looks amazing! Thank you for posting this. I'm doing the candy theme this year and your beautiful decorations have been a great help.

  11. It all looks amazing! Thank you for posting this. I'm doing the candy theme this year and your beautiful decorations have been a great help.

  12. I'm a photographer and I've been scratching my head for days trying to figure out how to make giant candy props without spending a fortune on cake forms or wooden discs. When I came across this post, I had to give myself a little kick for not thinking about the foam! Thanks for sharing, you're a life (and wallet!) saver! 😊

  13. I'm a photographer and I've been scratching my head for days trying to figure out how to make giant candy props without spending a fortune on cake forms or wooden discs. When I came across this post, I had to give myself a little kick for not thinking about the foam! Thanks for sharing, you're a life (and wallet!) saver! 😊

  14. I love all of these ideas and I am going to be a copy cat too! ;0) I am a party planner (on the side) and have always seen these decorations and wondered how to make them, I've been making mini creations, for my hairdressers party this weekend, Now I will jump in feet first and make some bigger ones for her too, (no foam this time tho!)
    Fantastic post, great tutorial and pictures!

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