Candy Cane Christmas Countdown

One of the simplest holiday crafts that can be made and bring about so much fun is a candy cane Christmas countdown. Not only is it a simple craft to make, but it's also an inexpensive one, too.

Start by gathering the necessary supplies, including a dowel of at least 1/2 an inch, some white craft paint (shimmer paint for added effect, if desired), some red craft paint, a paint brush or craft sponge, a terra cotta plant holder, a foam ball that fits the plant holder, a hot glue gun or craft glue, twine or seasonal-colored ribbon, scissors, construction paper, a black permanent marker and a hand-held hole puncher.

The size of the terra cotta plant holder and the sections of dowel will depend on the number of candy canes you wish to use when counting down to Christmas, and the size of the styrofoam ball will depend on the terra cotta plant holder. Some similar crafts use as many as 25, one for each day of the month of December until Christmas day arrives, while others use only 12, one for the traditional twelve days of Christmas. Decide which is more appealing to you, and base the sizes of the plant holder and the dowels accordingly.

To allow sufficient drying time, first paint the terra cotta plant holder. Use the white or red craft paint or another color if you so choose. Then, set it aside to dry. Once it has dried, embellish the outside of the plant holder with other holiday decor if you'd like. The addition of small bows made of ribbon, jingle bells, a combination of the two, or a holiday wrapping paper collage certainly add creative touches.

Next, cut the dowel into equal sections. Although it likely will not be necessary with such a small dowel circumference, use a piece of sandpaper to smooth the cut ends if necessary. Then, use the white paint and paint brush, or craft sponge, to paint the dowel sections, and allow them to dry sufficiently.

You're waiting 's The while for the plant holder and wood Dowel sections to dry the , section off the construction paper into squares. In the center of each, number sequentially through 12 or 25. For a lasting effect, have the sheet (s) of construction paper laminated. Then, hole punch each in the desired fashion, generally either in the top center of the square or on either side of the top of the square (to create a diagonal hanging effect). Add about three inches of untied holiday ribbon or twine through each hole punch and set aside.

Next, securely place the foam ball into the bottom of the terra cotta plant holder. If you wish, add a little hot glue or craft glue to the bottom of the plant holder for added security. If you'd like, add tissue paper confetti to the top to cover the styrofoam ball.

Use the paint brush and the red craft paint to add the traditional stripe found on candy canes. For added texture or dimension, consider using puff paint instead. Again, allow time for the hardwood dowel sections to dry.

Finally, tie each hole-punched construction paper square around the top of a completed dowel candy cane, and place the candy cane into the styrofoam ball.

Count down the days until Christmas by removing the appropriately numbered candy cane at the end of each day.