Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Can You Do With Jelly Beans Besides Eat Them?

Did you ever wonder what you could do with jelly beans besides eat them?  First off, let me say that I am not a fan - never have been, never will be.  They are so pretty to look at, but that is a trick!  Never be fooled by the way something looks.  It doesn't mean it will taste good.   I finally asked my mom to stop putting them in my Easter basket when I was a child.  Ugh.  Do you like jelly beans?  Does anyone really, besides my mom?

These days there are so many different kinds of jelly beans than the ones we grew up with.  There are so many colors and flavors, but that doesn't change my opinion one little bit.  My mom was the only person I knew who loved even the black licorice jelly beans.  She would pick them all out of our Easter baskets and the bowl on the table and eat them.  She was welcome to every jelly bean in the basket as far as I was concerned, didn't care what color it was.  Ew, and then there were peeps.  That's a whole new subject.  Double ugh.

Anyway, I had some styrofoam balls in my craft stash and these cute little flower pots from the Dollar Tree.  I think they are actually starter seed pots, but they are so cute.  Those pots and styrofoam balls just kept looking at me, saying do something with me.  After a little study, I came up with the idea to cover the balls in something "Easterish" because I am changing all my decorations over to a spring theme.  We were at the grocery store and I was perusing all the Easter decorations and there were these sacks of really pretty jelly beans.  Loved the colors.
Look how pretty they are - peach, pink, yellow, turquoise, green and lavender.  They look pretty enough to eat, so I tasted one.  They're still gross.  But, the colors have certainly improved.  I bought a couple bags and brought them home  thinking I will come up with a use for them - and then it came to me.  I decided to make little topiaries.  Those would look so springy.

First, I painted 3 of the little pots sort of a white wash and that was accomplished by watering down some white acrylic paint and lightly brushing it on the pots and letting them dry.  Next, I cut two 4 inch styrofoam balls in half and shaved 3 of the halves down a little so they would fit inside the pots.  I ran a bead of hot glue around the edge of the styrofoam next to the pot to hold it in place.

I had a quarter inch dowel rod that I cut in several pieces about 7 inches long.  I pushed one into the center of each styrofoam ball in the pots and hot glued them to keep them steady.  Then, I dabbed some green acrylic paint on the styrofoam and painted the stick green to look like a flower stem.  I used a small foam brush to do this.  (Only use acrylic paint on styrofoam.  Any paint with solvents in it can disintegrate the styrofoam.)

Next, I painted 3 styrofoam balls with pink acrylic paint and let them dry.   Center a ball on the top of each stem and gently push it onto the stem.  Hot glue around the base of the ball where it meets the stem to keep it in place.

Now, the real fun begins.  Dump all the jelly beans in a bowl so it is easy to see all the colors.  Fire up your hot glue gun and go to work. (Be careful and don't burn yourself)   I placed a row of the jelly beans around the center of the styrofoam ball north to south.  Place a dab of hot glue on the bottom of each jelly bean and hold it in place until the glue dries.  I started in the center top and worked down one side, then the other.  If you don't like slightly tedious work, you are in trouble.  lol
This divides the ball in half.  Now, you want to quarter the ball by diving the ball in half the other way.  Start at the center top and glue the jelly beans in the opposite direction.
See how you now have quarter sections between the rows?  This is where you will work next.  I randomly alternated my colors, but you can make them all one color if you prefer - it will just take more jelly beans.  I started at the top and filled in the first row around the top.  I actually placed each jelly bean I planned to use before I glued it to make sure it fit the space.  Continue with each row working top to bottom, keeping the jelly beans close together.  You want to fill in as much space as possible.  Every once in a while, you will come to a place where the jelly bean won't be small enough, so I would find the biggest jelly bean I could to fill in two spaces and kind of turned it side ways to fill in the space.  

Keep working left to right (or vice versa) filling in each row until you get to the bottom.  I then laid the topiary on it's side and filled in the bottom spaces.  Using this method made it much easier to see what I was doing.  Finish by pulling off all the "glue webs" like you see in the picture.

This is where I discovered the problem.  Yup, a bit of a problem.  These puppies are quite top heavy and don't want to stand up when jarred.  So, here is what I did.  I used some double sided tape on the bottom of the pots to hold them in place on the stands I am using.  A better solution (and what I will do next time) is to use a slightly bigger pot and put some rocks under the styrofoam for some weight.  Or, you can use a smaller styrofoam ball.  It's up to you.  It's not the end of the world, but I just didn't want them falling over every time we walked by the table they are sitting on.  Should have thought of that, but who knew how heavy jelly beans would be?  Duh

I had some green and yellow shred and stuffed it in the tops of the pots for a kind of "Dr. Seuss" grass effect.  I LOVE the way it looks all crazy and sprouty.  If you want a more finished look, you could place some moss over the styrofoam and fake leaves on the stems.  I just like the more whimsical look.  They are jelly beans after all.

Now, isn't that adorable?  The topiary is so festive and springy and will be so much fun to look at.  The grandsons are going to love them.  Who knew jelly beans could be so cute?  Almost makes me want to eat one.  Almost.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

No jelly beans were harmed in the making of this project.  I used approximately 1 and 2/3 bags of jelly beans.