How to make an old-fashioned gumdrop Christmas tree decoration (1966)

Gumdrop Christmas tree craft 1966
How to make an old-fashioned gumdrop Christmas tree

In the windows of Tiffany’s in New York last summer, stealing the show from the diamonds, emeralds and rubies, were fruits made of gumdrops by designer Gene Moore.

These candy fancies inspired Ann Stone (left), 9, and Lisa Kallgren, 11, of Redding, Conn., to create a fairyland Christmas tree from gumdrops, toothpicks, and a Styrofoam cone. This one is 24 inches high — a magnificent centerpiece for a Christmas buffet table. It cost around $5 (including the Styrofoam base) and took the two girls about three hours to make.

A smaller, 15-inch tree, ideal for the Christmas dinner table, took the girls just half an hour!

Gumdrop Christmas tree - craft from 1966

Materials for a gumdrop Christmas tree

Large tree

1 Styrofoam cone (available at dime, party-goods stores) with a 9-inch-diameter, 24 inches high
1 (1-qt.) bowl — as straight-sided as possible
6 lbs. green spearmint gumdrop leaves, cut in half lengthwise
2 boxes round toothpicks
Sugar “Glue”: 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar and a few drops cold water
24 (4-inch) red peppermint sticks
1 (11-oz.) bag spice gumdrops

Small tree

1 Styrofoam cone with a 7-inch-diameter, 15 inches high
1 (10-oz.) custard cup
4 lbs. green spearmint gumdrop leaves – left whole
1 box round toothpicks
Sugar “Glue”: 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar and a few drops cold water
18 (4-inch) red peppermint sticks
1 (11-oz.) bag spice gumdrops

How to make an old-fashioned gumdrop Christmas tree

The procedure is the same for the small and large tree. Work on a large tray or directly on the table.

Place Styrofoam cone on top of inverted bowl or custard cup and fasten securely with a little modeling clay or florists’ clay.

All year long: Looking back at those vintage tea towel calendars your grandma probably hung up in her kitchen

Attaching spearmint leaves: Some spearmint gumdrop leaves are very soft, so, to achieve a smooth effect, they should be cut in half lengthwise. This takes time, but is economical because you don’t use as many. For the larger tree, we also recommend cutting all the spearmint gumdrops in half lengthwise.

Stick the spearmint gumdrop leaves to the Styrofoam base in horizontal layers starting at the base of the cone and working up. Poke toothpicks through the candies into the cone. (A large thimble is a good thumb-protector.) the bottom row of leaves overhang the edge of the Styrofoam slightly. Make sure that each succeeding row overhangs the one below it to hide the tooth picks and produce the “fir tree” effect.

Gumdrop Christmas tree craft 1966

For the tree trunk: First make up some “glue” by combining 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar with a few drops of water to achieve a soft, very sticky consistency. Trim the peppermint candy sticks so they’ll fit exactly between the bottom of the tree and the table, hiding the bowl or custard cup. Stick them in place with the sugar “glue.”

Tree decorations: Flatten some colorful spice gumdrops and cut them into flower shapes with a small sharp knife or clean scissors. Stick a bit of another color spice drop in the center, and stick the flower to the tree with a small toothpick or a little confectioners’ sugar glue.

You can eat all of the tree, but watch the littlest children, to be sure that they remove the toothpicks before eating!

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