Every now and then, I get a little crafty. Usually, it’s inspired by a holiday – in fact, I have a laundry list of holiday decorating ideas constantly swirling around in my head, most of which I never act upon. But once in awhile, I break out the ribbons and glue and turn an idea into a reality.
I’m going to share my most recent crafting explosion with you today (and tell you how to make your own, too). I bring you: the M&M Christmas Tree.
These were surprisingly easy to make – once I worked through some of the logistics (which took two trees and nearly a week). This is one of those crafts that was super easy in my head, but had some unexpected challenges once I started working on it (M&M’s and cones aren’t flat! It’s hard to glue things together when neither of them is flat!). I did all the hard work so I could bring you the easy, step-by-step tutorial below.
But first, a few notes.
I used Gingerbread M&M’s – and, umm, yum. They are available exclusively at Walmart, which is perfect for me because my Walmart has a large craft section – I bought everything I needed for this craft in one trip. And can I just say here that my Walmart is the Best Walmart? On two separate occasions now I’ve had an employee go above and beyond to help me locate an item I couldn’t find (the Gingerbread M&M’s are in the holiday candy section, by the way). Be sure to check out the coupon at the bottom of this post!
The Gingerbread M&M’s are larger than normal M&M’s, and they come in green, brown, and red. There are more green in each bag (at least in my experience) than the other colors, so the green trees took fewer bags to make. Each tree took about two bags, except for the red tree – that one took closer to three (and here’s a good place to disclose that the kids and I ate these by the handfuls as I worked on this craft, so who knows – it might take you fewer bags than I used).
This fun craft is actually really simple – but takes some time. Because neither of the objects you’re gluing together have a really flat plane, you need to work in small sections, and let the glue set between each section. If you are going to make multiple trees, I would start them all at the same time and give yourself a couple of days to work on them (a few minutes here, a few minutes there).
Here’s what you need to make one tree:
- Styrofoam cone
- Glue (I used E6000) – Be careful when choosing glue. It needs to be super strong, and quick drying. Glue guns won’t work because they will melt the candy (and the styrofoam).
- Paint (to paint the styrofoam – a little bottle of cheap paint will do) and paintbrush
- Two bags of M&M’s (for one green tree)
- Toilet paper roll
- Plastic bags
Here’s how to make your own M&M Christmas Tree:
1. Paint your tree green. This way, the styrofoam won’t show as much through the gaps between M&M’s. Let it dry completely.
2. Cut the toilet paper roll in half – this is going to be your trunk. Trace it onto the bottom of your tree and use a kitchen knife to cut a little trench around the line you just traced – when the tree is ready for the trunk, you’ll place it in the little trench you just cut for extra stability (I also have one that I just glued to the bottom and it seems fine, so you have that option too).
3. Lay the styrofoam on something soft (I used a folded towel). The styrofoam is delicate, and the M&M’s are, too – you don’t want to crack any! Grab one of your plastic bags and use that to prop up the tip of the tree so you have a flat surface to work on (I tried using a towel, papertowels, and fabric to prop up the tree but in the end, the plastic bag was the easiest to manipulate and did the best job).
4. Glue a strip right down the center of the tree and place your M&M’s on it. Be sure to leave it alone, without moving it, until they are all dry.
5. Once the first row is completely dry, rotate the tree a bit and start on your second row. You’ll want to place a plastic bag under the side of the tree to keep it from rolling over (the weight of the M&M’s makes the tree want to roll).
6. Keep going, one row at a time, until you have covered the tree in M&M’s. Be sure to wait until each section has dried before moving the tree (I’m saying that a lot because I was impatient and ended up redoing the same spot three different times). The last spot will be a bit tricky, but use your Tetris skills to make the M&M’s fit as well as you can. I think the imperfections give it character!
7. While you’re working on the tree, you can start on your trunk (if you even want a trunk – I think they look great without the trunks, too!). Cut your toilet paper roll in half. I glued about three M&M’s on a time, and did three rows. There will be a little part at the top that’s exposed, but that’s good – you’ll stick that part in the little trench you made earlier with the knife.
8. Stand the tree up and ooh and ahh over it (because it’s going to be so cute!). Glue some M&M’s to the top.
8. When the trunk and tree are completely dried, glue around the top of the trunk (the exposed, cardboard part) and place it in the trench under the tree (if you’ve used good glue and waited for it to dry, you can turn the tree upside down with no problem). I think this gives it a little extra stability, but if you want to just glue it to the bottom of the tree – or go trunk-free! – you should be fine.
9. Spray your tree with a clear varnish. This will help keep dampness away (water = runny M&M’s). If you want to add a bow, or a star, or something else cute, now’s the time to do it! I made bows and glued them to toothpicks, and stuck those in the top.
I haven’t had to store it yet, but when I do I plan on wrapping it in plastic bags (or bubble wrap) and putting them in shoeboxes – and maybe most importantly, storing them somewhere they won’t melt (which means they won’t be stored in the attic with the rest of our decorations!).
I’ll be entering these in the #HolidayMM Instagram contest…and I hope that if you have a holiday M&M craft, you’ll enter yours, too!
I know I’m not the only one whose holiday decorating ideas include handmade crafts…If you need some festive holiday decorating ideas check out these fun Gingerbread M&M’s crafts. If you have some creative ideas of your own, participate in the Gingerbread M&M Instagram contest to win a great prize! Here’s how to participate:
- Upload an original image to Instagram with inspirational ideas and creations using Gingerbread M&M’s to decorate and craft during the holidays, caption that image with the hashtag #HolidayMM, and share on Twitter.
- Contest runs from November 22 – December 20.
- Winner chosen at random.
- Bloggers and general public entered into separate contests.
- The more times you enter, the more times you can win! Enter up to three times per day.
- Three $200 prizes will be awarded.
Also, be sure to take advantage of the coupon below!