Ho...ho...hooooo! Guys, it's only a few days til Christmas! Are you done baking, crafting, wrapping, spreading Christmas cheer? I'm not, pshhh. I've barely started. Could be the economy, could be the winter climate getting a late start, could be the fact that I'm focused on the task I have to do in three weeks (hint: ouch), but the holidays just came up and screamed in my ear! Alright alright, I'll put on my sweater and get on it.
This year, I'm focused on low-key and cheap across the board—gifts that won't break my back or the bank. And since my sister took off two weeks from work to have her tonsils taken out (I did it five years ago and it hurts mama, it hurts real bad) we've been two invalid slash pioneer women (no, not this pioneer woman, or this one for that matter) equipped with scissors and rolling pins. And this week, our project was Christmas candy wreaths!
Our favorite waitress at our favorite local restaurant makes these wreaths every year and sells them at craft fairs or gives them as gifts to families with children. They aren't completely cheap to make since each one requires 4-5 big bags of candy but they are really easy and adorably festive. Kids go ga-ga for them and from a crafter's perspective, they are extremely satisfying to labor over and complete. (Did somebody say "labor"?)
All you need is a metal hanger, some wire to wrap the candy with, tons of small pieces of candy, ribbon for decoration, and a pair of scissors to attach if you choose to (the candy can technically be ripped off but we ribbon a pair of cheap scissors to the wreath for cutting, almost advent-style). We buy our supplies at the local Dollar Store or Smart 'N' Final; steel wire can be found at the hardware store for less than 10 bucks.
We set up our cozy crafting zone with a good Christmas movie ("Oh no, John, I don't hate you. I just hate basketball.") and some hot soup or cider, and dump a pile of candy in the middle of the table. We then start by stretching a metal clothing hanger into a perfect circle, cutting about a foot of wire, and wrapping candy around the frame. You can choose to loosely wrap (about 150 pieces of candy) or tightly wrap (about 200 pieces of candy). I prefer a thick, compact wreath with a plethora of various treats. Smaller wrapped pieces work best but you can try medium-sized chocolates and others, being careful not to melt it all with the heat from your hands. The twisted ends of small candies also make it easier to wire to the frame.
It's a slow process at first but you get the hang of it and work into a rhythm. It took me 2-3 hours for my first wreath but once you have the wrapping and tightening parts down it goes much faster. The trick is to wrap 10-15 pieces quickly and tightly to the hanger, and then compact by sliding them down (and hiding the wire work essentially).
Try to keep the wire nice and taut as you go. I wrap the wire once around each end of candy but, if it feels slack or the candy is big or difficult to hold down, you can wrap as many times as needed until it's secured.
Victory! Once you have the whole frame covered in candy, you can wrap extra wire length around or trim it off with pliers/scissors. It may become oval or misshapen from the weight of the candy. If so, just pick it up and rework it by pushing or stretching the frame back into a nice circle.
The next step is to add a large, dramatic bow to the top. Wrap it around the hook of the hanger and trim to your preference.
Then attach one long ribbon (the thin, shiny kind) from the top with a pair of scissors hanging about 10-12 inches below. Make sure that this piece is long enough so that the scissors are able to reach any piece of candy anywhere on the circle.
We then add a few curly piece of ribbon to the top that hangs down in the center as decoration. You can skip the last steps and choose not to have the extra ribbon and scissors, but in my opinion it makes it more participatory and enchanting for little ones when you do. Then hang your finished product for guests to enjoy or gift to family and friends! Happy wreath making!
Candy WreathMetal clothing hanger
Candy (4-5 big bags, small and wrapped pieces)
Wire (I used steel but I'm sure any malleable type of wire works)
Scissors (one pair to use and additional pair to attach to wreath)
Ribbon (I used thick for the big bow and thin/shiny to attach scissors)
1. Organize your supplies. You'll need 150-200 individual pieces of candy for a good-sized wreath, a metal hanger, wire, two types of ribbon (thick and thin), and scissors (one pair per wreath and one pair to use, or pliers).
2. Bend a metal clothing hanger into a perfect circle. Leave the hook (top part) as is.
3. Cut a foot-long piece of wire and attach to top of frame. Working clockwise, attach each piece of candy by holding one end of the wrapper to the frame and wrapping the wire tightly around. After you've wrapped a handful of pieces (they may be somewhat spread out), slide them together towards your starting point to make a compact bunch.
4. Repeat until you cover the entire frame with candy. Wrap or cut off any additional wire.
5. Attach a large piece of ribbon to hook of hanger and make a bow. Try to keep the size of bow proportionate to size of wreath. (I generally cut the ends around the middle of the circle.)
6. Attach a 10-12" piece of thin ribbon to the hook of hanger, letting it drop down (behind the other large bow) to the base of the wreath. Tie a pair of scissors to this piece.
7. Add two or three small, curled pieces of "fun" ribboning (also behind the large bow) to the hook of the hanger that sit about halfway down. (You can skip this step but it looks much less naked and much more festive if you include it.)
Enjoy your masterpiece! Makes a fun, homemade decoration in your house, a great hostess or classroom gift, and a festive treat for your kids' friends' families or anyone with a sweet tooth!