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Gumdrop Trees: A Sweet Holiday Craft Using Candy

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hand-crafted gumdrop trees for Halloween and Christmas

hand-crafted gumdrop trees for Halloween and Christmas

Christmas Gumdrop Tree

Making a gumdrop tree for Christmas was a holiday tradition when I was a kid. When the Christmas boxes came down from the attic every year, I was most excited for my mom to unpack a simple Styrofoam cone.

She would wrap the cone in red tissue paper and sit me down at the kitchen table with some toothpicks and a bag of gumdrops purchased especially for that moment. I would take my time and enjoy myself. My dad would walk by from time to time and snag a gumdrop, and of course, I'd say, "Hey!! Those are for my gumdrop tree!" Preparing this craft for this article was very fun, and nostalgic—my husband even walked by and took some gumdrops not knowing that too was part of the tradition.

red and green gum drop Christmas Tree

red and green gum drop Christmas Tree

making my annual gumdrop tree as a little girl

making my annual gumdrop tree as a little girl

Christmas Inspiration

Other seasonal candies that reflect the winter holidays.

  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Peppermints
  • Candy Canes
  • Ribbon Candy
Green Styrofoam cones purchased at Michael's.

Green Styrofoam cones purchased at Michael's.

You will need:

  • Styrofoam Cone
  • Tissue Paper
  • Scotch Tape
  • Toothpicks
  • Gumdrops
  • Styrofoam Cones: They come in different sizes. The two sizes I used in this hub were 9" and 12". You can find them in the floral department of your local craft store. They usually come in green or white.
  • Tissue Paper: You don't have to use tissue paper, but it's what I prefer. Are you preparing this candy tree to serve at a holiday party? It might look nicer with tissue paper showing as the candy is removed from the tree. The Styrofoam look isn't very pretty. It's also almost impossible to get every inch of that cone covered with candy, so keep that in mind when choosing a color to use. A little bit will show. Use a color that compliments your design.
  • Spice Drops, Gumdrops, Dots: If you don't like any of these candies, you can switch them out for each other or even use mini marshmallows coated with Jell-o sugar.

Instructions

  1. Wrap your Styrofoam cone using tissue paper and scotch tape. It doesn't have to be perfect.
  2. Decorate your base with gumdrops using the toothpicks. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Toothpicks can be cut in half with scissors if too long. If your tree is purely for holiday décor, you can use hot glue instead of toothpicks.
  3. Enjoy!

Note: If you won't be eating the candy on your tree, protect it with a glossy spray sealer. I like Aleene's Final Step Spray Acrylic Sealer in Gloss Finish. When it's time to pack up the holiday decorations, store your tree in a Ziploc bag or airtight container to keep out bugs and critters.

Halloween Gum Drop Tree

Candies I used:

  • Marshmallow Peeps
  • Crows (licorice-flavored Dots)
  • Spice Drops
  • Black Raspberry Candies (they come in a bag of red and black candies)

Halloween Inspiration

Other festive treat options to decorate your tree.

  • Popcorn
  • Gumballs
  • Licorice
  • Candy Corn

Whether you call them spice drops, gum drops or gumdrops, they're absolutely suited for this fun holiday craft. Have fun making this sweet tree and turn it into your own family tradition.

Comments

Anna from chichester on October 14, 2014:

I adore this as an idea for a special holiday! Thanks for sharing :D

Ann Hinds from So Cal on October 14, 2014:

Super cute but don't have time today. Pinned it so I can go back and find it whenever I want. Great idea.

Heather (author) from Arizona on March 18, 2014:

@RTalloni-- Thanks for stopping by! I hope you were able to make some with the grandkids during the holidays. Thanks again :)

@rebeccamealey-- Thanks for reading and commenting. Your holiday tradition sounds neat! It actually reminds me of something we did growing up here in Arizona. We would use a cholla cactus skeleton (which is naturally tube-(or) log-shaped and filled with holes). My mom painted it with lovely white, glittery paint and we'd fill all of the holes with tiny wrapped lollipops for a lollipop tree.

@poetryman6969-- I'd have to agree with you! Holidays that are associated with tons of yummy food and treats tend to be my favorites :)

RTalloni on December 14, 2013:

Haven't thought about gumdrop trees in a long time. My grands would enjoy this timeless little craft very much. Thanks for the reminder! :)

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 14, 2013:

I like this, it reminds me of the gumdrop trees we made as kids. We sawed down a thorn bush and stuck them on the thorns.

poetryman6969 on December 08, 2013:

Edible holidays are the best holidays.

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 22, 2013:

@LisaKoski-- Thanks for stopping by. Baby shower versions sound like a great and adorable idea. Congratulations, btw. If you do make them and post pics online, I'd love to see :)

Lisa from WA on November 22, 2013:

This is such a cute idea. Maybe I can make a version for my baby shower in a few months? I really like the ones you made here too :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 16, 2013:

@Sue Lillie-- Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your experience. I'm sure it will be so much fun to share this tradition and they'll come out beautifully :)

Sue Lillie on November 10, 2013:

Fun to read your description and it was like a deja vu since I did it as a kid, too! Actually continued it when I returned at Christmas while in college and Daddy didn't wanna touch it after I returned...rather sacred! Anyway, we're about to do it with our 3 little GrandAngels when babysitting them this week!!!! Thanks for the trip back in time!!!!

Heather (author) from Arizona on October 16, 2013:

@oldiesmusic-- Thanks! You'll have to stop back by and let me know how it goes. Thanks for stopping by and commenting today :)

oldiesmusic from United States on October 16, 2013:

Yes, it makes a fabulous centerpiece indeed. I might use this idea for the coming holidays. Thanks for sharing! :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2012:

@Jeannieinabottle-- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck on yours. I hope it comes out great and you enjoy the process :) .

@ComfortB-- Thanks for reading and commenting. Luckily the shellac will stop anyone who tries to eat it-- or at least they'll learn their lesson ;)

@Rusticliving -- Thanks so much for reading and sharing :) It's so nice to hear that this was also a family tradition for you. Many people where I live (in Arizona) have never heard of this. I think it may have something to do with my parents (born in 1946 and 1947), who were originally from New England. Who knows.

@whonunuwho-- Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm sure I did that too when I was smaller-- I just don't remember, but my mom probably does ;)

@Eiddwen-- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2012:

@TIMETRAVELER2-- I hope you try it. Don't be intimidated. If you're unhappy with how it comes out, you can always just eat it ;) I'm sure it'll come out great though. Good luck and thanks for commenting :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2012:

@mary615-- Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Sugar ants do sound pesky. We have all kinds of weird Arizona bugs that would attack my trees if not shellacked! ;)

@Robin-- thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I hope you and the girls enjoy it as much as I always have ;)

@Gypsy48-- Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like it. :)

@debbiepinkston-- Thanks for reading and commenting ;)

@donnah75-- Thanks for stopping by and sharing. The ghost and pumpkin peeps were an accidental streak of brilliance. Thanks again :)

@carol7777-- Hey neighbor. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Luckily once I shellacked the candy no one wants to eat it anymore ;)

Sondra Rochelle from USA on October 27, 2012:

I LOVED this hub! My mouth is already watering. Usually crafts hubs seem difficult to me as I'm not the craftsy type, but I actually think I could handle this one. Voted up and awesome!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on October 27, 2012:

Oh how pretty! I will have to give this a try, just as long as I don't eat all the candy first. ;-) I really love the photos, too. Voted up!

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on October 27, 2012:

Mouth watering holiday craft. Hope it makes it to the holiday! :)

Voted up and useful.

Liz Rayen from California on October 27, 2012:

Heather.. I love this hub because it brought back a flood of memories when I was a little girl (a very long time ago) The only problem I had when making these trees was that I would never have enough gumdrops to finish the project. (I just couldn't figure out why) I particularly love the Halloween tree. Great job. Thumbs up and shared!

whonunuwho from United States on October 27, 2012:

Neat ideas, only my grand kids may try to disassemble the trees. Just have to deal with it I suppose.

Eiddwen from Wales on October 27, 2012:

Wow how original and a great share.

Eddy.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on October 27, 2012:

Great idea for the Holidays! I like your idea of spraying the tree with a sealant, because I have those pesky little sugar ants that would attack my gumdrop tree!

Thanks for the great idea. Voted UP, and will share, too.

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on September 11, 2012:

I am absolutely starting this tradition with our girls! I love the Halloween tree. So fun. ;)

Gypsy48 on September 09, 2012:

That is so cute, what a great idea:)

Debbie Pinkston from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas on September 08, 2012:

What a cute idea!

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on September 08, 2012:

Oh, I love this! The Halloween tree looks great. I like the ghosts and pumpkins around the bottom edge. Great presentation. Voted up, pinned and shared.

carol stanley from Arizona on September 08, 2012:

Makes a lovely centerpiece. Very creative..Hope the candy doesn't disappear.