Thursday, March 17, 2011

Candied Gumballs

When art projects unexpectedly come out from nature which they have increasingly done in our school, the result is often delightfully, and engaging. I love using items from our environment as it promotes creativity and is totally fun! I consider the natural world as the physical setting for ART. “Natural world” need not necessarily mean the untamed jungle, for me it means my BACKYARD and NEIGHBORHOOD.

My neighbors SWEET GUM TREES have inspired us into creating a explosion of unique ideas. We have been finding new ways of converting them into unique art pieces. My next few postings and blogs will be dedicated to these beautiful and strange looking seed pods that we so dearly love.

The children, parents and I have been amazed at what we have been able to do with all of them. I hope that you are able to bring this in your classrooms…your children will LOVE making CANDIED GUMBALLS!

How to Make Candied Gumballs.

Preparing Gumballs- Brush dirt off and make sure gumballs are completely dry. Poke a toothpick in it as it will make it easier to grip and dry. You might want to wear some garden gloves for this.



Select paint colors- You can use any kind of container; we choose a muffin pan because it was wide and deep enough to fit one gumball. Encourage the children to squeeze or scoop paint into the different compartments; we used different shades of paint to create a marble effect.

It is best to stir very gently with a tooth pick as not to mix the colors all together. For our first project we choose to use Acrylic paints.


Arrange Drying Zone- Have your drying zone close by because your paints are surely going to be dripping all over. A Styrofoam piece worked really great for us because the children were able to poke the gumballs into the foam for drying.

Dipping Gumballs- Encourage a child to pick a gumball and dip it into the paint without swirling. Repeat the process until it has been covered with the desired amount and colors.




DSCN5614 (2)

Paints will eventually mix, please try not to stir.




Drying Gumballs- Poke the toothpick holding the gumball into the Styrofoam and let paint drip dry.







Add Glitter- If the children want to add a few creative touches, you can gather up different colors of glitter for them to sprinkle. Once again, imagination is key; your children might come up with some other way to add pizzas to the gumballs.



Time to Admire all the Different Candied Gumballs!







sparkly 1 (1)

spaekly 2 (4)

sparkly 1 (2)

sparkly 1 (3)

sparkly 3 (3)

sparkly 3 (4)

spaekly 2 (1)


Original Art Idea

by: Casa Maria's Creative Learning Zone


  1. I love this idea! We have loads of 'gumballs' lying around our area so this is just perfect.

  2. Never imagined gumballs could look so beautiful !! Love these:)

  3. what a great idea! we're always tripping over those pesky gumballs on our walks, and i'm happy to have this colorful idea to try out.

  4. What a beautiful and original idea. LOVE LOVE LOVE these! My daughter and I are always looking for art ideas in nature, with nature. And you are so right - nature may not be just untamed jungle but your very own backyard. In our city setting, where concrete rules, we often collect fallen leaves from the road-side trees, that are plenty here in Delhi.

  5. WOW! These are spectacular! Sadly, we do not have these "gumballs" in our parts, but I'm thinking we could improvise with what we call "burrs". Smaller, but prickly little buggers. :)

  6. Beautiful! We don't have gumballs here either, but we may try this with our smaller "Burrs" as well! Or maybe you could box them up and mail them to your friends in the States! ;)

  7. Love this, Maria! Thank you for sharing! My daughter and I have collected loads of these with the thought of making a Christmas-themed wreath. We are going to springboard off of these gorgeous creations!

  8. What an awesome idea! Wish we had gumballs around here.

  9. I came across your blog from the Crafty Crow's post about your wooden collage. I navigated to your page and was so excited to see the sweet gum ball at the top of your page! I have two bags in my garage waiting for a project like this! They look awesome! I may try the wooden collage as a souvenir project for our upcoming beach trip.

  10. So cute!

    I’d love it if you shared this with the Fun Family Crafts audience.
    FFC is similar to Craftgawker but it only features kid friendly tutorials.

    Looking forward to seeing what fun crafts you submit!