I decided to add some Christmas tutorials for my decorations outside. I’m creating a candy background for some characters from the Nutcracker Ballet. My first task was making some candy. I decided on pool noodle lollipops, as soon as my supplies arrived I saw that I had several problems. Like many things on my blog, these troubles I ran into were things that no one else seemed to have answers for.
I’ll take you through all of the steps for the round pool noodle lollipops. It was fun but there’s a lot of instructions that weren’t helpful or just plain didn’t work for me for a variety of reasons. So, I’ll start out by showing you how I worked with extra large, extra dense, pool noodles to make lollipops.
First off, I ordered my pool noodles on Amazon. (It was too late in the year to get them locally. The price of the box I bought has gone up by twenty dollars, in the last couple of weeks so I’m guessing there’s a lot of us out here with extra large pool noodles.) These are larger diameter, higher density noodles than you can get at the dollar store in summer. These are approximately 55″ long and 3.25″ in diameter. (Plus, I didn’t count when I opened the box and they shorted me a noodle. Yay.)
Count your noodles before you start if you ordered them online! The noodles were quality, heavy duty pool noodles that will last many years… But they do not want to easily roll into the shape of a lollipop. Hence the title: #!$@:! Frigging Pool Noodle Lollipops! However, the cool part is that: these are larger, more impressive decorations and in the end I’m happy I bought the bigger noodles.
Second, I ordered a box of bulk colored duct tape. Since these lollipops take two noodles to complete and the tape length on the roll is not great, I didn’t know how many rolls it was going to take for these lollipops. And: since the diameter is larger, it takes more tape per lollipop.
Third the noodle colors are random. Since they shorted me a noodle, I have a color that I have an extra of, so I need to decide what to do with the single odd colored noodle. (Waste not, want not.)
I had three issues that would not have been a problem had I bought some really cheap noodles, in person, at the dollar store this year.
So how did I overcome these issues? With issue number one my answer was: cutting down the end that I was starting with, by half and taping it together, to help it begin rolling.
Using brute strength: I taped the cut side together and then leaned on these and rolled them up on the floor.
I burned the heck out of my fingers from the hot glue while rolling and rerolling until I finally gave up on it, rolled it and taped it down and THEN hot glued it together (this takes an enormous amount of hot glue.)
Start rolling the whole noodle, keeping the the spiral tight. Get to the end of it, and wrap a strip of duct tape across the whole thing, to keep it in a tight spiral.
If you have open spaces where it isn’t tight: I had to roll some of these several times. If you have issues getting a tight spiral I suggest rolling it, taping it, letting the foam adjust for a couple of hours, undo the tape and reroll it until the spiral is tight. If you leave open spaces, in the spiral, it will be hard to glue and you will be able to see it in the final product.
If you have a larger diameter noodle, do not try and glue this while you are rolling it! I got glue all over my carpet doing that and now I don’t see a way to completely remove it. #!$@:! Frigging Pool Noodle Lollipops!
Taping them down, to support the spiral, with duct tape brought my thoughts back to the packing tape ghost I made for Halloween (see instructions here). After gluing and having it fight me, I rolled it up and then glued it. Then, after the glue cooled down: I removed the outer layer of reinforcing duct tape. I also realized that permanently helping hold these suckers together with clear packing tape was not going to look good from year to year with whatever floats in and sticks to the underside of the packing tape. #!$@:! Frigging Pool Noodle Lollipops
Getting the big noodles to roll was a PITA. I’ve seen videos of people calmly and easily rolling their noodles up. Grr. They have a different diameter and density noodle.
These can’t be stored out in the heat in our garage (South Texas summers are too hot for a lot of things. The foam and trash bags I’ve used in other projects have actually melted in the heat in my garage.) Also, hot glue is not going to hold in our summer heat. I didn’t want these to spontaneously spring apart in storage. So, I am very aware that these are going to need to be stored indoors somewhere. Not really a big deal for me because I’m already storing some Halloween decorations inside and I repair all of the Halloween stuff yearly. So, I have a dedicated space for these, (in with my other outdoor decorations that I store indoors.)
Issue number two. The tape length per roll in the box I got is ten yards (= 30 feet) by two inches. There are two, approximately 55″ long and 3.25″ in diameter, noodles per lollipop. I used one tape roll to wrap three sets of pool noodles and it would have made even more. Unfortunately, the cheap tape roll’s adhesive was another annoyance. They wrinkled and stuck to themselves as I was applying them and I would have to cut a length off and start over at where I cut it.
I recommend applying this only on the side facing you, as you roll the noodle, instead of rolling the tape. Trying to wrap around the back will make it wrinkle and this tape won’t let go of itself. After building a few of these I noticed that the duct tape is letting loose after I rolled and glued the noodle. I should have just gone with name brand tape. Since the hot glue holds the spiral together the tape just looks wrinkled, it won’t let loose completely because of the glue. #!$@:! Frigging Pool Noodle Lollipops!
Third issue: odd numbered noodles. I saw a lollipop online that was rolled length wise in a spiral. I couldn’t find the instructions for that, so I am going to write a separate post on how to create those.
Lastly, if you are ordering noodles make sure you know what colors are available. If you order five noodles and need repeating colors, don’t order them if they come in 11 colors because you will probably have several single colors. This is not an issue with lengthwise lollipops but it is with the round ones. My noodles only came in four colors and I only received three colors. So even though I got more of one color than the others: I had a lot of repeating colors, so it was all good… Other than the box was supposed to have 18 noodles and only had 17. #!$@:! Frigging Pool Noodle Lollipops!
So, with all of my issues solved let’s start making lollipops! I will be making 8 round lollipops and four long ones.
For spiral, round lollipops:
First, Roll duct tape around the glued together noodles at an angle. I started with a 45° angle and had to adjust some as I went to keep it even.
Then cut the noodle in half lengthwise, about 18 inches to two feet, on one end of the noodle.
Tape the cut part together so that it’s round again but a smaller diameter.
Roll the end you cut and tape it down.
Once you have your spiral how you want it, get out your glue gun and start gluing. Don’t try and use a mini glue gun. This takes a ton of glue. Get a full sized gun and use foot long glue sticks. My glue gun has two temperatures. I use the higher one because it comes out faster. I just have to be careful the glue doesn’t leave melted areas on the noodle.
Let the glue cool. I usually wait overnight. Pop the support tape off and get out your pvc pipe. Cutting an x like they show in a lot of tutorials will not work. You need a inch and a half diameter pipe to support this and make it look right. Pipe that size is too big to use a pipe cutter on. You need to decide if you want to use a smaller diameter pipe for a manual, scissor type pipe cutter or use a saw on the 1.5 inch pipe. We have a table saw and that’s what we used on both the candy cane pipe (in the next tutorial) and the lollipop pipe. It is easy to use a pair of scissors to cut a hole in the foam for the pipe. Atleast there’s one part of this project that wasn’t completely irritating!
Slide the pipe into the hole to make sure it’s deep enough. Pull the pipe out, then hot glue in the hole and on the outside of your pipe and put it into place.
I also suggest drilling two small holes in the bottom of the pipe and putting landscape pins in so the candy doesn’t turn in the wind.
Cover your candy with cellophane wrap, glue the wrap so that it sits correctly and will not blow off, tie a bow with large, wired, craft ribbon and install your candy across your landscape. I used this tutorial to tie the bows. Definitely not intuitive but it made beautiful bows!
Done! But not in the simple way I’d seen it made. I had assumed mine would also be so easy! Who would have thought to consider that noodles come in different diameters and densities? Obviously, not me. #!$@:! Frigging Pool Noodle Lollipops!
Next on the agenda? Pvc candy cane sticks. I don’t see these as being as much of a hassle. Hopefully they won’t be!