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Candy Cane-Deer - Sweet Christmas Craft Project
Christmas : Candy Cane-Deer (Reindeer) Sweet Christmas Craft Project

Sweet Christmas Candy Craft Project

Candy Cane-Deer (Reindeer) Sweet Christmas Craft Project

Fun for kids of all ages!

By Chris Dunmire

I originally tested this creative confection in a group of 7- to 11-year-olds in my inaugural Crafty Christmas Creativity playshop, but not before first sharing my inspiration with the eager children:

See, I stumbled across this big bag of leftover green chenille craft stems (pipe cleaners) in my creativity room, and since I already knew ya'all were getting a candy cane in this class, inspiration hit me with a flash of googly-eyed goodness.

Candy Cane + Christmas Reindeer
= The Brilliant Candy Cane-Deer!

My corny idea, undoubtedly already embedded within Christmas craft consciousness, was quickly embraced as the pun fun it was and the kids were ready to get on with it. So I led them with a quick demo and showed them a reindeer that would not be joining Santa's sleigh or accompanying Dancer and Prancer anytime soon. They loved it. And so did I. And now you can make your own Candy Cane-Deer by following my twist on the idea or by inventing your own using this project as a starting point.


Project Materials & Tools:

  • 1 Candy cane
  • 3 Chenille stems ("pipe cleaners", your color choice)
  • 2 Googly eyes
  • 1 Solid bead eye (for nose)
  • 1 Jingle bell (with hole for thread)
  • Thread
  • Craft glue
  • Optional: Curling ribbon, scissors

Project Tip: The most challenging part of this project for kids is gluing on the eyes and nose. This step can be done first or last, depending on the excitement factor of the craft-ees. If it's done first, be sure to allow the face to dry completely so the pieces don't plop off during excited assembling of the antlers and legs. My group preferred doing the gluing last.

Close-up of candy cane-deer face.

Candy Cane-Deer Project Instructions:

1. Assemble Candy Cane-Deer face.

Dot on three small nibs of craft glue wherever you want the eyes and nose to be positioned on the reindeer face (around the bend on the top of the candy cane is ideal.)

(Note: If too much glue is applied, the features will slide, so use sparingly.) Hold eyes and nose in place until set and then put aside assembly to dry completely for an hour.

2. Assemble Candy Cane-Deer antlers and shape into place.

Take one chenille craft stem and bend it in half. Then position it on top of the candy cane "head" (wrapped around from underneath) about an inch from the eyes where you want the antlers to protrude upwards.

Next, twist both stems tightly (but gently) at least one time around to hold the antlers in place. (Note: This first twist is the most important for tightness and keeping the antlers in place.) You can wrap it around from underneath more than once, but know each 'wrap around' uses up antler length.

Finally, bend and shape the antlers in whatever 'antler fashion' you please: zigzag, spiral, or organic.

3. Assemble Candy Cane-Deer legs.

As with the previous step with the antlers, the legs are assembled in the same fashion, only wrapped "downward" on the reindeer body. Again, be sure to make the first twist tight to keep the legs in place. (Note: If either the legs or antlers need a dab of glue later on to assist with keeping in place, feel free to use it.)

The great thing about these dynamic "bendy" legs is that you can make them bend in any fun kind of way: flying, running, sitting, dancing, praying, etc. and then bend them again another way later.

4. Assemble jingle bell collar.

Would an authentic Candy Cane-Deer be complete without a jingle bell collar? Certainly not! To make yours, thread a length of string or thread through the jingle bells's loop, position it onto the deer's neck, and tie it down with a tight knot so it doesn't slide. Trim off any excess thread.

5. Optional: Assemble curling ribbon to make a 'flying reindeer' Christmas tree ornament.

If you'd like to use your Candy Cane-Deer as a hanging Christmas tree ornament (and REALLY make it look like it's flying!) tie a long piece of curling ribbon around its mid-section and then loop-tie the ribbon ends (for extra fun before tying, curl the ribbon in its nifty curly way with scissor edges).

Honestly, I have no-eye deer if the Internet is peppered with like candy cane deer projects, but here's one thing I know "they" don't have: This useful "Don't Confuse your Christmas Deer!" guide which I know will be helpful for some people:

Don't confuse your Christmas deers!

This project is dedicated to my special teacher friend who Google-mapped directions to the "North Pole" Christmas Tree Farm so I could get this authentic reindeer snapshot, and who let me hang my first Candy Cane-Deer in her Christmas Tree.

© 2008 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.

More with Chris Dunmire

ColorCreativity Portal™ founder Chris Dunmire inspires artists, writers, teachers and children with her creative prompts and writing activities. She's trained as a creativity coach with both Eric Maisel, PhD, and Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching™ founder Jill Badonsky, MeD. Her sense of humor and witty wordplay is woven throughout the corridors of Creativity Portal where she encourages others towards engaging in deeper, more meaningful levels of artistic expression and playful creativity, sustained in part through the support of Creativity Portal Access Pass Holders. Please sign up — your support counts and is appreciated!