Creating Primitive Candy Canes

December 11, 2013

CHRISTMAS   |   Published December 11, 2013

Candy canes are one of those "symbols" of the Christmas season that can fit into any decor.  I've created this great ornament that can be made very primitive or be left clean and modern.  They have an little added sparkle with a dusting of mica flakes.

As we get closer to Christmas, I wanted to create a project that anyone could enjoy making. Candy canes are one of those traditional Christmas items that look good in any type of decor. These ornaments are no exception and they can be made super primitive or kept clean and modern. I put my own little twist on a classic and am thrilled with how they turned out.

Don't they look great in the jar? Or picture them on a tree...Or tied on a package...Or attach a name tag and use them as a place card at the Christmas table. The possibilities are endless!

I love being able to turn something from the dollar store into a creation that looks like it costs a lot more. These plastic candy canes were from Dollar Tree and come six in a package. They are a super cheap base for an amazing looking craft!

To make these candy canes, you’ll need:

  • Plastic candy cane ornaments
  • Air Dry Clay (I used FIMO brand)
  • Acrylic craft paint in Red and White (I used Americana brand….Tuscan Red and Light Buttermilk)
  • Acyrlic sealer
  • Instant coffee
  • Mod Podge
  • Mica Flakes

I began by covering the plastic ornament with a thin layer of air dry clay. This layer can be as thick or as thin as you’d like your candy cane to be when it’s done. Don’t worry about making the clay totally smooth while you are doing this step. I’ve found that as the clay dries, it gets little cracks in places. The cracks and smoothing can be fixed in the next step.

Allow the candy canes to dry overnight. I laid mine on a small tray so they could be easily moved.

Once the clay on the candy cane is dry you can fix the cracks that have appeared and smooth out the clay over the ornament.

To do this, put a tiny amount of clay over wherever you want to smooth or fill. Wet your finger and smooth it out over the clay. You do not need to let them dry before moving on to the next step.

Now for the part that requires patience and time…..the stripe. I think this is the part that makes these ornaments truly special.

To make the stripe, take a chunk of clay and roll it out into a long snake shape. Again, the thickness of your stripe can be as thick or thin as you like. The secret to the stripe is to make sure your hands and rolling surface is dry. I rolled my clay out on an old glass storm window….it gave me a large, smooth rolling surface and could be easily cleaned.

Wet the candy cane slightly (and then dry your hands). Using a gentle touch, apply the stripe to the clay cane. Start at the bottom and gently press the end of your clay snake to the end of the cane. Then, wrap the stripe around the cane gently pressing the stripe onto the cane….too much pressure and your stripe will break…..too little pressure and the stripe will break. This is why you need some patience with this step. When the stripe is wrapped around the entire cane, go back over it with a little water on your finger to smooth everything down and attach it completely to the cane. Let it dry overnight.

Paint the entire clay candy cane with the light buttermilk first and then paint the stripe Tuscan red when it is dry. I typically paint two coats of red on anything I’m doing because red is such a hard color to cover in one coat… really don’t need that with these ornaments, though. Even though one coat does not fully seem to cover, it is not noticeable by the time you are done staining it. I cannot say that the same will be true with another color of red or a different brand of paint…..Americana is a slightly thicker, more pigmented paint which is why I like it for craft projects.

When your paint is dry, seal the entire candy cane with an acrylic sealer or polyurethane.

When the sealer is dry, brush on some strong instant coffee using an old brush. This is the first project I ever “stained” with instant coffee and I couldn’t be happier with how it turns out. I knew that trying to put antiquing stain on these ornaments would be almost impossible to get off easily because of my stripe around the cane. I experimented with using the coffee and it works perfectly. Lay your candy canes out, brush on some coffee onto one side and let dry. Then flip them over and do the other side. If you get too much coffee in spots once it is dry, put a little more coffee on your brush and brush the spot out.

After the coffee stain has dried, coat one side of the cane with Mod Podge and cover with mica flakes.

And you’re done! Aren’t this candy canes great? I love how they sparkle when the light hits them.

The best part of these are that you can keep them clean and modern by not staining them. Or keep them plain by not adding the mica flakes. Change up the candy cane with some different colors. Feel free to make them your own!

The candy canes can be used as ornaments on a tree, tucked into some greenery, displayed in a jar, attached to your packages, or used as a place card. So many options!!

Join the Anderson + Grant Mailing List

Sign up to receive my tips + inspiration for creating a home you love delivered directly to your inbox.