Step 1: Getting Started
No matter where you are located, the best time to plant is from the beginning of October to about mid-November.
Start with some good, rich, fertile soil that drains well.
Sow the seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch, spaced about 6 inches apart, then water.
Step 2: I wish I could grow candy
When I got the idea to make this, I searched the web to see what others might have done to make corn stalks and pretty much all I found was people questioning how to do it. Maybe I stink at searching the web, but I didn't find a good solution. I think I came up with a pretty good concept here. I wanted my prop to look a little "cartoonie", but I don't think it's really that far off from the real thing. One of my main considerations, since the leaves are made with a hard material, was safety. So, the ends of my leaves don't have a sharp points like you see in the picture.
Here's what you need:
- 1/2 inch pvc pipe
- Green pvc corrugated roofing (found mine at Home Depot)
- 2 inch thick PINK Insulation Foam Board (you don't want to use the white stuff, you NEED the denser foam)
- DryLok (this is masonry waterproofer usually found near paint)
- Duct tape (use good stuff)
- Liquid Nails or some other sort of all purpose liquid adhesive
- Green spray paint for plastic/any surface
- Regular spray paint (Orange, yellow, and white)
- Screws (you want them to be 2 1/2 to 3 inches long)
- Saw or pvc pipe cutter
- Power drill and bits
- Tin snips of something similar to cut the pvc roofing
- Jigsaw or knife to cut the foam
- Surform shaver or some other form of rasp
- Latex gloves (for when you paint)
- Work gloves (for when you cut the roofing, it can be sharp)
- Paint brush
- Hair dryer or heat gun
- Mouse sander
- Dust mask
Step 3: Cutting the leaves
Safety Tip: Wear work gloves while cutting the roofing. The edges can get a little sharp and you might get burrs left behind when cutting. As you can see in the photo, I was not wearing gloves at first. I ended up with some scratches and will no longer be able to pursue my dream of becoming a hand model.
Step 4: Shaping the leaves
I have short hair, don't need a hair dryer, so I borrowed my wife's. She wasn't happy, but we all know that it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Anyway, WITH your gloves on, hold the hair dryer close to the leaf. The plastic will be soft in only a few seconds (you might be able to actually see it start to move). Move to another section and heat until you have heated 3-5 inches of the leaf. I found that the heated leaf wasn't that hot, so I had no problem handling the leaf with bare hands. Wear gloves if you need to. Now that the plastic is heated, you can bend it, straighten it, push the sides in, crease it, etc. Again, I suggest using a picture of an actual corn stalk for reference.
Step 5: Attaching the leaves/Painting
Now you're ready to paint. Using your "any surface" or paint for plastic, spray the entire stalk. I also sprayed the leaves here-and-there to break up the contrast between the light green leaves and the darker green stalk.
Step 6: Making the Candy Corn
Make templates for the candy corn (2-3 different sizes should be fine. My larges was about 10 inches in length and the smallest about 4 inches). Trace the shape onto your pink foam board. I then used a jigsaw and knife to cut the shape. When you make the smaller ones, cut the shape down the middle to make two equal halves. This not only gives you more corn, it makes the thickness match the smaller size.
Now, take the shaver and shape the candy corn. Basically, I shaved down to edges first, then began to round the sides. Once you have the basic shape, use the mouse sander to fine tune the look.
Safety tip: When cutting and shaving the foam, make sure you wear some sort of dust mask.
Step 7: Painting the Candy Corn
Note: If you make your own tombstones from foam, but have never tried Drylok, you are missing out. Give it a shot.
Once you have your foam pieces coated and they are dry, it's time to make them look festive. With your latex gloves on, take the orange spray paint and paint all around the middle. Paint a little more toward each end than you want for the final product. Once dry, spray the bottom/larger end with yellow and the smaller end with white, overlapping the orange a little bit. In this step, I would suggest spraying away from the orange.
Step 8: Attaching the Candy Corn
Drill a hole, near the small tip of the foam candy corn, large enough to fit over the screw. Put a little liquid nails or other adhesive in the hole and place over the screw.
Step 9: Set it up!
Suggestion: Look at the second picture. If you are only going to make a few of these, I would suggest, if possible, placing them in front of another large plant(s) as I did in the other photos. I think this helped "fill out" the area. Otherwise, I think the set up in the second photo looks a little strange with so much space between the leaves because we are used to seeing corn really bunched together in large quantities. Obviously, this prop is really easy to place, so you can try different ways and decide what you like. If you make a bunch of these, you could actually make rows of candy corn!
Check out my other Halloween Instructables and if you think any of them are deserving, please vote for them in the 2011 Halloween Contest. Thanks and Happy Halloween!!!
Edited/added photo on 10-28-11: Decided to incorporate the corn stalks with my paper mache pumpkins and scarecrow.