I can’t believe I forgot about this craft until this year! Christmas candy cans were one of the crafts my brothers and I used to make and sell at craft fairs. We’d sit down and paint can after can, then stuff them and put them carefully in a box. Then, it was a competition to see who could sell their designs the fastest (“Told you wreaths would sell better than reindeer. Haha!”)
I adapted this craft slightly for smaller kids. All of the designs above are made with finger prints and Sharpies, making this a super simple way to involve even little kids in gift-giving (did I mention these make excellent co-worker, neighbor, or friend gifts?).
To make them, start by removing the label from a can. You can use literally any size. The ones above held various kinds of beans in a former life, but you could use little soup cans or giant #10 cans.
Once the label is removed, check to see if there are any sticky-up bits that might cut little fingers. If there are, push them down using a pair of pliers.
Next, use masking or electrical tape to line the edges (again, we don’t want any cut fingers!). This is what they look like at this stage:
Using a foam brush, dab paint over the entire can, making sure to cover the tape. I love the texture this gives to the project!
Let the paint completely dry before the next step, which is to add your design. I’ll break each of them down for you:
Dip your thumb in white paint and make a thumbprint on the can. Remember to roll your thumb from side to side to make sure you get a good print!
Once the white is dry, use a black Sharpie to outline the print. Draw in feet and eyes, and use an orange Sharpie to make the beak.
Then, fill with tissue paper and candy and hand it to your lucky friend or neighbor!
This is one of my favorite because you get to use three different fingers. Start with the bottom of the snowman. This made using your thumb and really rolling it back and forth to get that round shape.
Next, use your index finger to make the center. Remember to roll it!
The top is made using your pinky. Now you can let you snowman dry. Once the white is dry, use a black Sharpie to draw a hat, eyes, mouth, buttons, and arms. I added a carrot nose and a scarf with orange and green Sharpies.
When you’re snowman is decorated to your heart’s desire, stuff the can with tissue paper and candy and you’re done!
The wreath is super simple – it’s literally just a ring of overlapping thumbprints! In order to get the wreath to be somewhat circular, I usually do the top and bottom prints, then the far left and far right, then fill in between. This helps me to get the circle shape.
Once the wreath itself has dried, you can add in holly berries or a bow with a red Sharpie. Then stuff with tissue paper and candy and hand out!
This is probably the simplest of all. The thumbprints on this one actually belong to my 2 year old, so I mean it when I say anyone can do it. Each light is simply a thumbprint done in a different color. Once the thumbprints have dried, use a black Sharpie to connect them with a light “string.” Stuff with tissue paper and candy and voila!