By Brookelynn Morris
When I was thinking of a holiday project that would capture the season’s spirit of color and sparkle, I decided to approach a technique that was easy and familiar — stringing garlands — but to challenge myself to think of a more interesting material than the standard popcorn or cranberries.
Gumdrops. Glittery and bright, they bring back holiday memories of making gingerbread houses and playing Candy Land. Little did I know that they would also present the challenge in methods that I was hoping to avoid!
I gathered my materials, and started shooting my step-by-step. The formula was going to be exactly the same as my Fall Flower Garland: cut the paddle wire, string the gumdrops, add the ribbon. But, after stringing 3 gumdrops onto the thin wire, the wire wouldn’t pierce the tiny gumdrops without bending. So, I decided to poke a hole in the gumdrops with a needle, but it was too sticky and didn’t work. Then I stuck the needle in a cork, so that I could push the needle into the candy. Didn’t work. Then I got a long nail, and poked holes in the gumdrops with a long nail and tried to string them, and that still didn’t work.
What follows is the tutorial for the process that DOES work. It is a result of being forced into finding solutions, working with unexpected materials, and having a ton of fun doing it.
Gumdrops, large and small
Notes on the Wire: Choosing to abandon my 22-gauge wire for the thick 14-gauge wire was crucial. There was no way that these gumdrops would string onto the thin wire, and I think I would have had a really hard time using thread as well. The stiffness and gauge of the wire made all the difference.
Step 1: Cut the wire to the length you want your garland plus 4″.
Step 2: Bend 2″ at one end of the wire into a hook.
Step 3: Cut the other end of the wire at a 45° angle to create a very sharp end that will make it easy to pierce the gumdrops.
Step 4: String the gumdrops onto the wire one by one. Mix up the colors and the sizes, or make a pattern if you like. I went with chaotic, because that’s more fun! As you string the candy on, the wire will get sticky, and if you like you can wipe the wire down with a warm, damp cloth every so often.
Step 5: Stop stringing with 2″ left on the wire. Cut the sharp end blunt, and then bend the remaining wire into a hook.
Step 6: Add bows, and hang your garland by the hearth!