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A Crafty Candy Bracelet

Saturday, October 2, 2010

With Halloween on the horizon, candy aisles are filling up with my favorite color: orange! I love the cheerful look of candy corn and pumpkins, so last week I got it into my head that it would be fun to make some jewelry with actual candy corn.

Well, after a little trial and error, I did it! Check it out:



Those are actual candies, dipped in epoxy resin! It wasn't *quite* as easy as I thought it would be, but it was still a really fun project. If you want to try it yourself, keep scrolling for progress shots and instructions.



When I went to buy my candy corns, all I could find was a big candy variety pack:

It's just as well, though, because the candy pumpkins turned out to be my favorites. :)

[Oh, and if you think the gummi candies or drops will look good dipped in epoxy, allow me to save you the trouble: they won't. The epoxy doesn't stick well to gummi candies, and the sugar-coated drops lose their texture when dipped. So stick to hard, smooth surfaces if you want to branch out, candy-wise.]

Ok, first things first: you need to drill a tiny hole through your candies. Which means...

...helloooo, Dremel! Where ya been hiding, big boy? Why don't you come on over here an... [looking around] Oh. Ahem. Right.

Sooo, to avoid getting your fingers too close to the drill, clamp each candy gently in a pair of pliers. (I used a sliver of paper towel to pad them.) Then, while holding the pliers steady with one hand, SLOWLY drill down through the candy corn with the Dremel, using the smallest drill bit you can find.

The speed (or lack thereof) is crucial here: if you press down too fast, the candy will crack in two. You can see a few of my casualties in the photo. Despite my best efforts, I found that about one in three candies cracked. Good thing candy corn comes in big bags!

Once your hole is drilled, insert a two-inch (or longer) jewelry post into the candy. I used these:

The head should be on the bottom of your candy, with the long end sticking out the top. This will later be your loop to hang the candy charm.

The candy pumpkins are much sturdier than the candy corn, so it's possible to just push your jewelry post through those without drilling a hole first. Still, go slow; too fast and your pumpkin stem will crack or crumble off.

When you're done, your candies will look like this:

Oh, and one more thing about the candy corns: you can drill from either end. Because I wanted the top to be as centered as possible I drilled from the top down, but you don't have to. Just make sure your jewelry post goes in from the bottom.

Hmm. I think those pumpkins still need something, though, don't you?

Theeere we go. Much better.

To draw the faces, I used a Sharpie felt-tip pen. You'll need to scrub the tip of the pen off with a paper towel from time to time, but otherwise it marks the candy really well. (It would also be cute to draw smiley faces on the candy corn, but since I knew I'd be hanging them all together I opted not to.)

At this point, you should add a tiny dot of super glue to each candy right around the metal post sticking out the top. (This is the voice of experience talking. Heed the voice.)

And now...

OH MY GAWD IT'S DIIIIIPPPP!!!!

Sorry. Roger Rabbit flash backs.

Now, I know the bar top epoxy scared a lot of you off with the penny desk. For this project, though, you can buy a much smaller amount of epoxy, like what's used in jewelry. (I've never worked with it, but I believe something like ICE Resin should work.) Because you only need a small amount, this shouldn't cost you more than $30 - and you'll have some left over for more projects, besides.

Whichever resin you use, mix the two parts thoroughly in a small plastic cup, and then dip your candies in. Scrape the bottom of the candy on the side of the cup, and then give it a good twirl to get the worst of the drips off. If there are any bubbles, breathe (don't blow) on the epoxy: for some reason this works almost as well as a blow torch. Almost.

Epoxy takes a looong time to dry, so next you need a place to hang your candies. Here I've strung a lovely seasonal garland [snort] across a metal shelf, and clipped the candy posts up with clothes pins. See the drips on the paper towel below them? Yeah. You might want to have one of those.

Over the next hour, you'll need to check your candies for drips. Scrape the bottoms with the edge of your cup every 10 minutes or so, and then when the epoxy starts to get really thick and goopy, invert your candies by sticking the posts into a block of floral foam or a pincushion. This is why that superglue earlier was necessary; without it, the candies will slide down the posts as soon as you turn them over. (Did I mention this is the voice of experience talking?)

About two days later (perhaps less) your candies will have a gorgeous, glossy hard finish. Trim the posts down, bend them into loops, and voila! You've got candy charms!

Since I already had this nice thick chain, I went with a charm bracelet:

These would also make an adorable necklace and earrings, though. In fact, I think I may take this apart and make a few different necklace designs. [plotting] Hm....



And since these have all been night shots, here's one taken in that strange thing called "sunlight:"

It's so...bright. Not sure what all you "day people" see in it. (Besides trees and stuff, I mean.)


So that's it! Any of you going to give this a try? If so, be sure to send me pictures! There are lots of ways you could improve upon this idea, so I'd love to see what you creative types come up with.

Posted by Jen at 3:45 PM Labels: ,

75 comments:

  1. If I wasn't the poorest person in the world right now I would be at the store already. I LOVE your bracelet and can already see the Christmas and Easter candy charms.

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  2. Very cute. I just bought a bag of candy corn last night... and a jar of peanuts. It's the BEST way to enjoy candy corn (it's too sweet otherwise). I have a feeling that mine will get eaten long before I manage to do anything crafty with it.

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  3. Clever and well done.

    My only critique is, if you had to buy the pins anyway, why not use eye-pins and save a step.

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  4. This is ridiculously cute! If these supplies were readily available to me, I would totally try it!

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  5. I'm incredibly jealous! I can't even get candy corn in the Virgin Islands...let alone the other tools and such that are necessary to make this. :( I could order it all online, I suppose. Of course...if you're planning a giveaway of one of these bad boys, maybe I'll wait to place my order! ;)

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  6. anyone have any ideas for what kind of christmas/winter candies would work for this? I'm thinking holiday gifts!

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  7. Incredibly cute! My first thought when starting to read this post was "are those real?!?" Sure enough, you found a way. Really cute and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you come up with!

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  8. Thanks Jen. I have been trying really hard not to buy any candy corn, and after reading thru this, now MUST. HAVE. CANDY CORN.

    WV:poledlio - The disease you would get after eating the epoxy covered candy corn!

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  9. I'm always looking for a decent pair of Candy Corn earrings but all you ever find out there are really bad looking ones or ghosts, pumpkins, witches etc...

    That said I just never seemed to get the jewelry making part down. I think I could handle the drilling, epoxy and all that. So I may do that and pass it off to someone who can do the earrings bit.

    Thanks for this great idea! PS Orange is my ultimate favourite colour too! :)

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  10. There are recipes for making your own candies so if you wanted to go one step further you could make your own candies AND resin dip them!

    Also, resin can be sped up by warmth, so if you find it takes a loooooooong time to set try putting it in an airing cupboard or some other place warm. (I used it to repair a boat :p)

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  11. I'm completely in love. As soon as my kids wake up from their naps they're getting loaded up in the car so I can go buy a dremmel & candy corn!!

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  12. Sweet! Sorry had to say it...love the charms and am seriously thinking I will make some tomorrow. Gotta thank you for the laugh...DIP! LOL I love Roger Rabbit and snorted (yep I said it) when I read that line in your post. Keep up the great blog, and wonderful tutorials!

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  13. My daughter is begging me right now.... Very cute!

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  14. I have to try this... MUST try this. (But first I'll have to figure out how to hide the candy corn from DH...)

    Oooh... I wanna make one out of the purple-and-black candy corn!

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  15. Usually I shy away form craft blogs because ... zzzzzzz ... but your writing is so darn funny, it's irresistible.

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  16. Just when candy corn couldn't get any better! You are my hero!

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  17. Kudos on the Jack-o-lantern drawing... you must have steady hands like a surgeon!

    Adorable!

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  18. So awesome!!!! I want to make it with gummi bears ; )

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  19. Okay you really need at etsy store. I love candy corn and anything Halloween related. These are so incredible! The little pumpkins! AUGH! I work in a candy shop and I want to cover everything in epoxy now.

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  20. super cute!
    I want to try!

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  21. $30 just for the epoxy??? Sorry, a little pricey for me!

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  22. I love the pic of the candy corns hanging up by clothespins...absolutely adorable!

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  23. Resin and/or varnish work great for sealing these candies AND the gummy bears. They don't take as long as epoxy to dry either. With the gummy bears, you have the advantage of being able to stick a head pin through before dipping in the resin or varnish and that way you don't have to figure out how to drill a hole - but takes away the fun of the dremel. Here's some instructions for the gummy bears: Gummy Bear Bracelet

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  24. At Target today I was eyeing the green apple flavored candy corn. It was lovely shades of green. Half the bag was chocolate covered and obviously no good for jewelry making. I wonder what else it would be good for? (nom nom nom....)

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  25. tiny purple elephantOctober 2, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    wow jen!! love it..
    if anyone tries this project please post your pics!!

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  26. YOU ARE AWESOME!!! I love this holiday/ time of year, and get all giggly and happy when I see all of the Halloween decor, so thanks for this :)

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  27. sarahswmbo@gmail.comOctober 3, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    This is just the tip of the corn! As a crazy corn-head, I have seen candy corn in all the holiday colors: Christmas, Easter, 4th of July and don't forget "Indian Corn" for Thanksgiving. They're probably even made for Hannukah in blue & white! As one poster noted, Halloween corn also comes in purple!
    Good to know resin or varnish can work. But I bet the epoxy-coated ones can take a beating and still look great! Thanks for a GREAT blog.

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  28. @ lisagems - eyepins do have the loop on one end, but you need a foot on the pin to keep the candy from sliding off, as well as a straight end to slide through the candy. I probably should have photographed the bottom of the charms, to show y'all the little foot plate there. Sorry 'bout that.

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  29. @ Anony, re: epoxy - that's just a guess on the price; you might find it for less. Also, this project takes such a small amount, you'll have left overs for more projects!

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  30. SO AWESOME! And I'm glad you had to buy a variety pack because the pumpkins are too adorable.

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  31. I love it! I am so going to try it! More tutorials please :-). I LOVE this blog!

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  32. About 15 years ago, my sister made me some earrings and button covers from the round wintergreen Christmas candies (green and white swirly ones). She used regular clear nail polish instead of resin and they are still good!

    I think there are lots of Christmas candies that would work - especially the hard candies. You could make earrings out of ribbon candy. How cute would that be? Personally, I would like to see someone do this with some Peeps. Although they would be so big I don't know that you could actually wear them. Why, oh why, don't they make Mini-Peeps?

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  33. Very cute. I wonder if it would work to make the gumdrops if you let the epoxy get tacky and dusted or rolled them in some sort of sand or glitter or granular craft product specially made for this purpose.

    @Rachael: They make wreaths and trees and other shapes at Christmas out of the same stuff as the pumpkins and candy corn.

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  34. Last I checked, you could get the small bottle of epoxy resin at Michaels for $19.99. You can get about 4 jewelry projects out of the small bottle. So, if you use your 40% off coupon, that comes out to $3 a project, and that's not terribly expensive, if you'll use it all. At risk of giving away my age, back in the mid-80's, candy jewelry was a popular project in craft magazines. I'm sure I read in some of those projects that clear acrylic spray sealer could be used instead of epoxy resin. Just put your candy on your headpin, suspend it, protect the surrounding area from overspray, and spray on several thin coats of sealer, letting each coat dry in between. I would imagine this would work with the sugar-coated and gummy candies as well.

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  35. I sooooooo need to make this for my mother! But it's so funny to see someone using the candy pumpkins! I had a vague plan to do something on another project with them, but found some jewel-y looking pumpkins at the Dollar Tree instead. Love this bracelet!!!!

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  36. A fellow orange fan!!! I love meeting other people who like orange. It really is the _best_ of colours. <3!

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  37. @dennis If I was going to go for a gum drop, I would probably use something like dots. That way you wouldn't have to worry about the sugar coating getting melty in the epoxy, and you could add a touch of glitter to the outside, leaving you with a gum drop shaped non-gumdrop.

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  38. mmmmm... Really cute, but everytime I looked at the pictures I craved candy corn, so I should probably stay away from this project! Great job though!

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  39. I HAVE to try this. I have no choice. =O That is amazing.

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  40. Aw, man! Now you've got me thinking, and that's NEVER safe! But, y'know, Jelly Bellies come in all sorts of fun colors...

    @Rachael: my first thought was snowmen made out of mini marshmallows. You'd probably have to use one of the alternate sealing methods some of the other posters have mentioned, though.

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  41. That is sooooo freaking adorable!

    Also, I've been meaning to ask, what kind of camera do you use? Every picture you take is amazingly clear, I need that camera!!

    : )

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  42. My only problem is that there never are any candies left.

    I suspect that the gummy bears aren't sticky because they're coated with cornstarch. But water doesn't easily dissolve cornstarch, but will easily dissolve sugar, so probably can't use water to remove the coating.

    At first I was thinking of a sequence of oil and alcohol rinses to prep the gummie surface, but I see online the suggestion to use a clear-coat varnish. Yeah, a product for coating wood-like surfaces should work on gummies.

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  43. OMG, that is brilliant! I love it.

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  44. Love it! What if you did this with those candy necklaces that we used to find in our trick-or-treat bags? No more having the candies melt around our necks!

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  45. Just wondering, don't know if you tried this or not, but could you freeze the candy corn first before drilling? It might stabilized it more so that it wouldn't break in half in the process. Just a thought there.....

    Anyhoo.....loved the bracelet. Thought it turned out so cute. Besides the bracelet &/or earrings, a person could make a pin too.

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  46. So awesome!! I wish I were that creative!!! They are sooo cute!

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  47. Oh, my! I love it! So awesome, & it reminds me of this candy corn wreath project I want to try this season too!!

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  48. Love this. Never thought to dip items in the resin. I've been looking for a mold deep enough to submerge a few surprises in resin but this dipping thing you did has redirected me. Kuddos. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  49. Spectacular! I can see my 9yo artist wanting to make these. And any blogger who can reference Roger Rabbit is tops on my list!

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  50. well, got the pumpkins. I'm not big on charm bracelets but i am making necklaces and earrings. so cute. I even had resin lying around from a started but never finished project which will eventually be completed. only problem is I have to buy a dremel bit because ours doesn't have one small enough to drill through the corn.

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  51. Okay I am back now after eating candy corn(yummm!)I love your bracelet, what a cute idea. You never cease to amaze me with your ingenuity and creativity. Can I buy one of those please??

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  52. YAY! Great idea, Jen. Halloween is by far my favorite time of year. Would it be weird to have a Halloween-themed office for those of us who wish to have year-round Halloween?

    I would imagine that breathing on the resin does better than blowing because when you breathe you're sending out hot air, and blowing sends out cool air.

    @Shauna - great idea by eating peanuts with the candy corn! That way I won't get sick to my stomach after eating several handfuls!

    The mallow pumpkins are by far my favorites as far as eating. I always buy some each Halloween.

    BTW...

    "When I killed your brother, I talked...like...THIIIIISSS!!!!!"

    That part of the movie always freaks me out! Especially when his "eyes" pop out and he has toon eyes underneath...MAN, that is really freaky to me. (Yes, I'm weird, I know...I have a thing about big goggling eyes. Don't ask me about my fear of E.T. because of that.)

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  53. we (being a group of people you do not know and myself who you also do not know.) used to shellack things and make necklaces..i (still me) had a friend who sported a french fry for longer than one would think possible..

    pretty jewellery no doubt!

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  54. One of my friends at school covered candy necklaces in clear nail varnish so she could keep on wearing it... worked pretty well but probably not nearly so neatly as the epoxy!

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  55. Jen it looks like you had 'cracked corn' after your mishap with the dremel. LOL

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  56. Lots of fun - probably not a good idea to mention the great smell of that resin!

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  57. I LOVE this! Someday I will make this. Mark. My. Words. :D

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  58. I love mellowcreme pumpkins! I love eating them so much, I never thought of making jewelry out of them. You have me considering pumpkin earrings now!

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  59. So cute! I could see using those pretty hard candies that come out around Christmas for this project too, although they might break when you drill the little hole...They would make cute ornaments though.

    I'm going to be Luna Lovegood for Halloween, so I'm pumped about the resin idea to make her radish earrings! I'll send a pic if I'm successful :/

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  60. Hi!!

    I was reading through a discussion board page on Homemade Holiday Presents and thought of you when I read the comment on making bowls from old records! I have to give credit to etoiles on the Disboards for writing: I haven't read the whole thread yet so forgive me if someone stated this already but last year I made some cool bowls for a movie themed gift bag to go with the snacks and Blockbuster gift card. I made bowls from old records! If someone has old records they don't want you can use them or get them cheap from a music store or Goodwill type.

    The instructions are online but basically you heat the records in the oven over an oven proof bowl (turn on the fan to vent) and when heated you push them into the bowl to bend them into a shape. Use gloves to protect your fingers from the heated plastic. when cooled I sprayed them with this clear protective spray so food could go in them.

    Here's the link for you (I hope I did the coding right!)
    Homemade Holiday Presents

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  61. I love all of your craft projects!

    I would like to make one suggestion for covering the surface beneath any epoxy curing, mixing, or dipping areas.

    My work requires that I use various epoxies pretty much daily. If enough epoxy (usually a couple of drops in the same spot) gets on a paper towel it can soak through the towel and the towel can get stuck to the surface below. I have found that wax paper works the best for protecting surfaces under epoxied projects. Epoxy sticks to everything but wax paper, but for safety use a couple of sheets of it just in case you have hole in one sheet.

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  62. I totally love this!

    But, if I'm honest, the most exciting thing about this post - for me, anyway - was the amazed realisation that THAT'S what candy corn is. This Australian has spent the last 27 years thinking that candy corn was that multi-coloured sweet-flavoured popcorn that places like Target sell in their sweet sections.

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  63. "A cool tip to get bubbles out of resin: breathe on it. (Don't blow, just breathe). The carbon dioxide released when breathing causes the air bubbles to rise to the surface of the resin and disappear. But be careful! Resin is highly caustic, so when breathing out onto the resin, don't breathe back in without turning away first! Also be sure to use in a well ventilated area, and if you use it a lot you need to get a respirator and take other safety precautions."
    Stole from the gummy bear bracelet comments section...

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  64. Oh I Love this. I would Have a hard time wearing this though.. I would be craving Candy-corn all the time.. lol.... And Michelle that is an awesome Idea... Wonder if this would work on peeps... I have a friend who loves peeps and she could have peep jewelery.... And The Christmas taffy that has the little tree... Oh the Ideas spinning in my head now..

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  65. I love candy corn! And Pumpkins! this is totally awesome! : )

    I linked to this project from my blog where I'm celebrating "Pumpkin Week"
    http://www.alwaysexpectmoore.com/2010/10/pumpkin-week-daily-dozen_05.html

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  66. Looking at this post (I'm going through and reading this blog from the beginning, since I've been procrastinating far too long. Though these past several hours of oohing and aahing have been fun...) I thought I should make one of these for my sister, since she loves candy corn. As soon as my show my boyfriend, "Oh my god, I want one."

    Guess what I'll be doing this Halloween? :D

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  67. I have a feeling my 4yr old daughter would suck on this jewelry. Would it be safe for her to have in her mouth after it is dried??

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  68. These are clever and cute. I wonder if jelly beans in many colors would work, too. We've all had a few of those, haven't we? Keep up the good work. KK

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  69. ooh pretty... though being british, i've never really understood what candy corn even is!
    i see you suggest only using hard candies, but i tried something a bit like this with gummy sweets, like haribo and jelly bears and stuff. i was only using them to make my own greeting cards, but found that just coating them in pva glue worked just fine. perhaps not as professional as i'm sure epoxy looks, but i've had one that's at least 10 years old and it's still looking ok. also, much softer to put holes in - so no drilling required. the best thing about them is the amazing colours sweets come in :)

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  70. So, I LOVE this idea! However...sadly...I'm making myself crazy trying to get the holes drilled. First the candy was too soft, baked it at 170 degrees for an hour, problem solved, Now, if I drill bottoms up the top hole is off center, the reverse is the reverse. I have a Dremel on a stand and padded jaws on a small vice so stabilizing is not an issue. What am I doing wrong? Help...PLEASE!! I've nearly consumed a bag of the evidence of failure!

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  71. @ Pam - it sounds like you're doing it all right! I know I had a bunch of off-centered pin holes, too, so that part was all trial-and-error. At least if you drill from the top down, the off-centered bit will be on the bottom of the candy, tho, which isn't quite as noticeable. Also, drill slow; the candy won't crack as often if you do. Good luck!

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  72. Yes, but what happens if I sit on it? Hmmm?

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  73. I've been wanting to make a halloween bracelet and could not find the right charms...this will work perfectly.
    The pumpking candy corn is the best candy corn in my book.

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  74. what kind of dremmel and bit do you use, i would really like to get one

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